Patrick Natino was studying to become an accountant when he took a couple of part-time bar jobs. He decided he was more interested in agitating shakers than in sorting out spreadsheets, and decided he had found his vocation.
One of a team of mixologists at Sugar, the rooftop bar at East hotel in Taikoo Shing, Natino is active in the Hong Kong Bartenders Association, and takes part regularly in cocktail competitions for which he has created some original drinks.
One of the most popular of his recipes is for a long drink he calls the Cavite Cooler. It features on Sugar's summer cocktail list, alongside other originals created by his bartending colleagues, and by Peter Kendall, the hotel's restaurants and bars operations manager.
According to Natino, the Cavite Cooler is based on a concoction which became popular among Filipinos around the world after students in his home province of Cavite spiked a jug of a pomelo-flavoured soft drink with a couple of litres of Ginebra, the local gin at a university sports day.
The predictable mayhem ensued, and word of the incident and the drink that had caused it went viral on the internet, making a Filipino cult drink out of 'gin pomelo'.
In the Philippines it was made with cheap local gin, and pomelo Tang, an instant soft drink.
'I wanted to bring a piece of our culture up here and that drink is big among our community,' he says.
Natino improved the quality of the ingredients, using fresh fruit and Tanqueray gin instead of the original Ginebra.
'Then I added the honey and the rosemary to give it more complex aromas,' he says. 'It's not just about drinking - it's also about scents. Rosemary is a very strong herb. Even if you shake it or add other strong ingredients you always notice that. I've done a lot of cocktails with basil before, but I wanted to try something different. You shake the cocktail very hard because that's how the rosemary aromas are released. It's very refreshing and goes well with very hot weather.'
You can do this at home, but on a hot summer evening the cocktail goes particularly well with Sugar's spectacular harbour view.
1 large segment of pomelo, peeled
Fresh rosemary sprigs
50ml Tanqueray gin
25ml lemon juice
25ml honey syrup
5cm sprig of fresh rosemary
- Muddle the pomelo in a shaker, add rosemary, honey, lemon and ice and shake vigorously.
- Strain into a tall glass - Natino uses a 380ml beer glass but a highball glass is just as good
- Top up with soda, and garnish with the fresh rosemary sprig.