A moment with … the Masters of Mixology 2014 bartenders

This past weekend, MO bar held its 6th annual Masters of Mixology (13 June 2014) — an event that reinvents the bar’s drinks menu for three days. We sat down with mixologists Natasha David, Takumi Watanabe and Ryan Clift, chef-owner of Singapore’s Tippling Club and asked them how they got their start in drinking (professionally, of course) and what advice they have for budding bartenders.

We also have a thirst-quenching recipe from Watanabe that you can try to whip up at home. Click through to see what these cocktail connoisseurs have to say: 

MORE: Guide to classic cocktails 




Natasha David, USA 

David, who has bartended at top bars in New York City, recently just opened her own venue, Nitecap. She also runs You and Me cocktails, a cocktail consulting business.

I started bartending… when I was 18 years old and beginning college in New York.

My go-to drink is… a Negroni, and for the summer, a rosé.

My favourite HK hot spot is… Honi Honi, 001, and Lily. They’re all great.

Hong Kong people have… a sweeter palette.

My drink philosophy is… that drinking should be something enjoyable and sociable, not something where you end up with your head in the toilet.

My words of wisdom would be… take any job you can get, do it all, and stay humble.

Follow Natasha @natashadavidxo 



Ryan Clift, UK  

A pioneer of cocktails and modern gastronomy in Singapore (but don’t say “molecular,” because he’s not particular fond of the word), the self-made father of two has worked his way up in the industry.

Ryan started the Tippling Club, one of Singapore’s most innovative restaurants. “Initially, people thought the food was weird,” he says. As Miele named The Tippling Club Asia’s 12th Best Restaurant in its Asian dining guide, it seems people are finally coming around.

I started out in the industry… when I was 13 years old and started working at a restaurant.

My go-to drink is… an Old Fashioned or a Bellini.

In Hong Kong… the drinking culture is a little bigger than Singpore’s. Even a few years ago, options in Singapore were limited to the standard hotel bars.

My words of wisdom would be… be prepared for blood, sweat and tears.

Tippling Club, 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461, +65 64752217, www.tipplingclub.com


Takumi Watanabe, Japan 

Watanabe is one of the best bartenders in Japan, ranking 9th amongst 9,000 contestants in the Diageo World Class 2010. He is the chief bartender of The Sailing Club in Nara, Japan.

I started out… at 19 working in an Italian restaurant.

My got- drink is… a Negroni or a royal mojito.

My favourite HK hot spot is… MO bar!

The drinking culture in Japan… is more personal, as there is more of a relationship between the bartender and guest. It’s an art form.

My words of wisdom would be… Keep working, and try to enjoy your job.

The Sailing Bar, 5F, SHR bldg., 3-564, Kibi, Sakurai City, Nara, Japan, +81 0744490040, www.sailing-bar.com 


Watanabe shares with us his favourite summer drink, the Victorian Swizzle. 


  • Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 year old Solera Rum (45 ml)
  • Falernum (10 ml)
  • Chilled jasmine tea (30 ml)
  • Lime juice (10 ml)
  • Ginger honey (10 ml)
  • Demerara syrup (10 ml)
  • Finely crushed ice


1. Combine rum, Falernum, tea, Juice, honey and syrup into a glass.

2. Pour in a cup of finely crushed ice. Stick the swizzle stick in, and stir with the palm of your hands.

3. Add more crushed ice. Garnish with mint leaves, slice of lemon and an umbrella.



Swizzled, not shaken  

Watanabe’s final product, created with the swizzle stick, is the perfect summer drink.