Flowers – they’re normally just cut and displayed in a pretty vase or given to friends and family on special occasions. But Nick Wu, a rising star at Bar Mood in Taipei, has taken those same, simple blooms and used them to enhance cocktails and drinks. The global mixology world has, in turn, taken notice. At the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year competition in 2016, he shot to fame after topping three challenges and being named the fastest bartender in the world. Since then he has opened numerous venues across Asia, consulted some of the world’s largest drinks companies and built a substantial following across Asia. His pride and joy, however, is his bar in Taipei where he can experiment, collaborate and create new ideas. His flower project is a prime example. As a bartender, Wu knew he would need some help and so employed Travis Yang, a Taiwanese botanist, for the project. The goal was to put the spotlight on Taiwanese flowers from each and every season, and to bring out new colours, stories and flavours, unknown to both local and international guests. Milano cocktail a tribute to the fashion capital with a Japanese twist “Every time the season changes and Travis brings the new flowers I learn so much,” says Wu. “There is so much to learn about the flowers around Taiwan.” It all begins at the centrepiece behind the bar. With the change of season, Yang comes in with new flower art showcasing the traditions and colours of the season. In addition to the centrepiece, smaller flower arrangements are placed around the bar. Then, it’s time for Wu to start mixing. Chrysanthemum adds refreshing flavours of summer; plum blossom delivers a cool, sourness of the winter cold. In garnishes, Yoshino cherry blossoms showcase spring and the Taiwanese tradition of cherry blossom viewing, which hails from their previous occupier, Japan. Amber Tallow tree leaves show summer’s transition into autumn and Thunberg’s meadowsweet resembles winter’s icy landscape. There is meaning and tradition in every petal, and that sentiment is what Wu and Yang are working towards showcasing. “I want to look beyond widely used ingredients and collaborate with completely different industries. Flowers and cocktails are far apart, but they come together in the glass,” says Wu. “Beyond that, I feel flowers are often simply cut and then wasted. This was a fun way to use the petal and the flavours some of them hold, without simply throwing them away.” The sense of “local” continues to grow in the mixology world, as bartenders the world over search for ingredients local to his or her hometown, city and country. While these are often edible ingredients such as fruit, spices and vegetables, the increasing numbers of cocktail bars is making it harder and harder to find unique, unseen ingredients that can be used to make drinks. 6 of Seoul’s sexiest cocktail bars for a glorious night out The focus on widely exploring one specific category could be a step forward for the mixology world. Instead of a whole range of fruits, bars may start to home in on categories. A berry-forward menu, citrus fruit, seasonal concoctions or a variety of peppers used in a series – homing in on a category may eventually open up a whole new world of flavours. Beyond that, Wu wants to showcase all that Taiwan has to offer. It’s known as a fruit lover’s paradise but now, more visitors may be stopping over to smell the flowers. Video By: George Koutsakis and David Chen Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .