Sign up and enjoy
numerous privileges!

OR

Already a member ? Login

Light The Night With BELVEBEAR

Bar Star: John Nugent at Lily & Bloom

22 Jun 2017

0
shares

John Nugent is the latest addition to Lily & Bloom’s fast-growing team, and will be heading the award-winning bar staff as the new Head Mixologist. Hospitality and F&B have always been in Nugent’s blood - his mother ran a coffee shop, and at 16, he got his first job as a busboy at his aunt’s restaurant. He’s bartended in Boston, around Europe, and back in Seattle, where he opened a few restaurants and curated an extolled cocktail list as the beverage manager at Seattle’s Thompson Hotel.



Why did you choose to leave the US and come to Hong Kong?


This is my first time in Asia, I’ve never even visited. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone because I feel like I perform well when I’m out of my comfort zone. I just wanted to be a part of a fun and exciting growing community. Hong Kong has so much to offer and it’s a beautiful city and it has all these esoteric qualities as well. Just not getting rid of its old charms and traditions but still paving the way. I just wanted to be a part of it. It’s been very welcoming.

You didn’t just spin the globe and picked this place.

I’ve been fascinated with Hong Kong and the density of it. I have a few friends who have lived out here and wouldn’t stop raving about it. I was just enamoured with Asia in general and I knew this would be a hub for me to check out different cities around Hong Kong. It’s been speaking to me for quite some time now, so I took the leap.

How would you say the Hong Kong bar scene compares to your hometown?

I’ve been lucky enough to bartend in various different cities, but comparing to America in general, it’s incredible. The bar scene here is — there’s so many different ways to describe it — I’ll say it’s all positive. It’s a community that really knows how to have a good time but is still professional, they’re incredibly knowledgeable, and they have this endearing quality to them. They feel like there’s never enough to learn and you can see that in them.



What’s your favourite ingredient to work into a cocktail?


I like to work with the seasons so I try to pay attention to that. When I started to take bartending seriously I was working with a lot of American whiskies, bourbons and rye, there’s so many different ways to play around with that. I try to go seasonal and make a fun syrup, a fun infusion.

I hear you like to put a twist on classic cocktails.

I like to go on a limb with some cocktails. The base of American bartending, I mean those Prohibition, pre-Prohibition classics, they’re fun to talk about. And taking your own version of it, I feel like that connects the guest to history, but with the contemporary edge to it gives it something to talk about it as well.

Is there a difference between calling someone a bartender or a mixologist?

I’ll be the first to say i”m not a big labels guy. In the States we kind of make fun of the term. In fact, some people might even take it offensively. The difference is how seriously you want to take it. Are you willing to show up to a shift and just make drinks, or do you want to study after and go to seminars and learn about rum and whisky and different types of spirits? Do you want to stay longer to make a cocktail batch? I think the difference is just in workload and how much you care about that part of it.

And you? What do you want to be called?

You can just call me John. I like to make drinks for people. It’s up to you.



At Lily & Bloom, do they have a habit of making infusions? Are you bringing that in?


Lily & Bloom has been here close to seven years, they’ve done different contemporary stuff along the way. The Snickers Old Fashioned, the whisky infused with Snickers, that’s been around for some time and it’s been a fan favourite so we’ve kept that. They’ve done infusions, tinctures, and we’re doing some of that stuff as well.

You’re also bringing in new cocktails.

Yes, the whole menu is new, apart from the Snickers Old Fashioned. And we’ll be adding more as we go.

Downstairs we’re featuring nothing but classic cocktails. We’re like this Americana steakhouse with some contemporary features and Chris Grare is making wonderful dishes, big steaks and fish entrees, a more of a supper club cocktail scene. There are a lot of martinis and manhattan variations, all from the 1900s to a few modern classics. Upstairs, we’re offering really contemporary feature cocktails. It’s a mixed bag for sure.

What is your go to drink?

Sometimes at the end of a shift you just really want a beer. But I tend to lean towards a negroni. It’s such a great cocktail and so easy to make. Sometimes if you want to gage a bartender, it’s a great cocktail to see where their level is at. It’s so easy to make, but it’s also a drink you can easily mess up. I like a negroni as far as cocktails go, but sometimes I just like a beer and a shot of whisky to mellow you out.

What’s an advice you carry with you all the time?

My best friend’s dad was a bartender and he worked at a dive bar. I hold what he says to heart, where he said, “Cocktails are the easy part. It’s the people.” I don’t want to make you a cocktail that I think is delicious, I want to make you a cocktail that you think is delicious.



What’s the best part of your job?


Right now, it’s just meeting incredible people. My staff is some of the most hard-working and endearing people on the planet. All these bartenders work so hard, and watching them work and being a part of that right now, is my favourite part. I love creating stuff and getting into my creative mode, but coming to Hong Kong and watching the bar staff and how committed they are is inspirational.

What is the craziest thing to have happened to you while you’re bartending?

When I bartended in the Greek islands, I bartended in a hospital-themed nightclub called Rehab. And that was basically a summer of absolute debauchery. I’d just leave it at that. It was a backpackers destination so you’ll see people from all walks of life. It was a crazy summer and I think I saw everything.

What is the best way to make a bartender your best friend?

I always find it a huge compliment when someone gets another cocktail from me. Please and thank you always goes a long way.

shares

Light The Night With BELVEBEAR

related stories

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join our newsletter

© 2016 Lan Kwai Fong Group ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Data User ("Lan Kwai Fong Group") to comply with the requirements of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, Chapter 486 of the laws of the Hong Kong SAR ("Ordinance"). In doing so, we will ensure compliance by our staff with the strictest standards of security and confidentiality.

Our Group safeguard all information provided by our Customers and web site Users ("Users"). We do not collect any personally identifiable information from Users during their browsing of our web sites. When Users visit our web sites we record their visit only as a 'hit' and do not collect any Personal Data from them. We will however make a record of their visit that shows only the Domain Name Server address, part of their e-mail address, and of the pages visited. We use such information only for preparing general statistics on the usage of our web sites.

If Personal Data are collected in the process of making enquires or submitting applications for services provided by different operations within our Group, Users will be informed via the Personal Information Collection Statement of our web sites of such purposes and uses, including the extent of their transfer and disclosure; and the right of access to and correction of the collected Personal Data.

In order for us to provide Users with customizable and personalized services, we use 'cookies' to store and sometimes track information about Users. The information collected by means of 'cookies' includes Users' login name and his or her navigation pattern. This is done without Users being aware that it is occurring. Generally, we use 'cookies' to estimate our audience size; to track Users' progress and number of entries in our promotional activities; to assist merchants in tracking visits to, and business at, their stores, and to measure Users' traffic patterns. Personal Data collected by means of 'cookies' will not be disclosed to any third parties except to those parties within our Group.

Once we have obtained User's Personal Data, it will be maintained securely in our system. We shall retain Users' Personal Data for so long as he or she is a registered user of our web sites. Only the authorized staff, who have been properly trained, will be permitted access to such Personal Data, and we shall not release such Personal Data to any external parties except those parties set out in our Personal Information Collection Statement without User's agreement.

We may from time to time send direct marketing materials promoting products and services to Users based on their Personal Data. Suitable opt-out facilities will be provided during the direct marketing process.

We shall make our best endeavours to ensure that the privacy of Users is properly protected. However, given the nature of the Internet, we cannot guarantee that there is "perfect security".

In order to provide users with more information and services, we use third party content providers and service providers, and provide links to other web sites. These third parties may collect Users' Personal Data when users make use of their services. These third parties adhere to their own privacy policies and practices and our Privacy Policy Statement does not cover such third party practices.

Should Users have any queries about our privacy policy and practice, please write via e-mail to our Data Protection Team at privacy@lkfgroup.com or via mail to 20/f On Hing Building No. 1 On Hing Terrace Central Hong Kong

Personal Information Collection Statement

The Data User, in complying with the requirements of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, Chapter 486 of the laws of the Hong Kong SAR, is committed to safeguarding your privacy on-line, and notify you of certain matters when collecting information from you. This statement may change from time to time, so please check back periodically. By subscription and every time you log-in to this web site to use our services, you agree to be bound by this statement at that time in force.

Collection of Data
At the time of subscription and at other times when using this web site, you may be asked to provide us with personally identifiable information, such as your name and e-mail address. It is necessary for us to collect your information for providing you with the various services and activities offered on this web site. You are not obliged to supply the data here but if you fail to provide the information requested, we will not be able to provide you with the services and activities available on this web site.

Purpose and Use of Data
The information we collected will be used for the following purposes:

  • to monitor use of this web site and to help its further development;
  • to compile aggregate statistics about our users and to analyze site usage;
  • to collect data for identity verification and records and to maintain contact lists for correspondence;
  • to operate internal control, resolve disputes, troubleshoot problems and enforce our terms of use;
  • to deliver information to you that we believe you may have interest in, such as targeted banners, new services and products and other promotions and marketing materials;
  • to contact you regarding administrative notices and communications relevant to your use of this web site and to respond to your request.

We may also use your information to match user information with third party data (i.e. to compare two sets of personal data collected for different purposes). By subscribing to this web site or by logging-in, you consent to carry out this matching procedure when we deem it is necessary in order to provide our services.

In addition, we will also use your information in the following manner:

  • We will share much of our data, including your information, with any member within Our Group.
  • In order to provide you with more information and services, we have arranged content providers and service providers to provide information and services. It may be necessary for us to share your information with these content providers and service providers.

If we add new features or services that might require the sharing of your personal information with an additional advertiser or sponsor, we will provide you with notice and the opportunity to opt-out to receive these offers.

Transfer of Data
Your information will not generally be disclosed or transferred to any other party in a form that would identify you except in the following circumstances:

  • If we use third party suppliers or service providers to facilitate our services, we will have to provide your information to these suppliers or service providers offering such services where you choose to use these services.
  • We may disclose or access account information when we believe in good faith that the law requires it.
  • We may also disclose or access account information for administrative and other purposes that we deem necessary to maintain, service, and improve our services.

In addition, your information will be accessed by, disclosed or transferred to any person or bodies corporate or division within Our Group for such purpose as we consider appropriate.

As the parties mentioned above may have places of business outside Hong Kong, your information may be transferred out of Hong Kong. By subscribing to our web sites or by logging-in, you agree to us transferring your information to these parties outside Hong Kong. These parties adhere to their own privacy customs and policies and we have no control over their use of your information. Therefore, we are not liable to their use of your information.

Please also see our Privacy Policy Statement which sets out our general policy and practices in respect of our collection and use of your data.

Access to Data
You have the right to request access to, and correction of, information about you held by us, by paying us the reasonable charges incurred by us in relation to administering and complying with your request. If you need to check whether we hold your personal information or if you wish to have access to, correct any information relating to you which is inaccurate, please write via e-mail to our Data Protection Team at privacy@lkfgroup.com or via mail to 20/f On Hing Building No. 1 On Hing Terrace Central Hong Kong