The decorated bartender is the first woman to win the award at Asia’s 50 Best Bars. By Holly Graham.

Bannie Kang’s ascent is undeniable. In 2019, she won Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year, followed by scooping the coveted Bartender of the Year (Asia) prize at our very own DRiNK Awards. To round out the hat trick of three consecutive years of awards, Bannie has been announced as the winner of the Mancino Bartender’s Bartender at Asia’s 50 Best Bar.

Bannie began her career in hospitality when she moved to Singapore from her native Korea in 2010. Starting as a waitress, she was inspired and admired bartenders, first entering World Class in 2013, making Singapore’s top four. She was then promoted to bartender and eventually moved to Anti:dote, where she really cut her teeth.

Her competition career saw her enter World Class again in 2014, getting through to the Singapore finals, followed by a place at the global finals of Bacardi Legacy in 2016. She went on to win the Black Cow global finals in 2017, and her World Class win in 2019 saw her move to Taipei to open Mu with her chef husband Tryson Quek and industry veteran Nick Wu.

Bannie has gone from strength to strength and her passion for bartending, sharing knowledge and educating budding bartenders are some of the few qualities that has earned her this accolade. As she says: “No pain no gain. Trying is only the start of one’s success, as you will only get what you put in”.

The Bartender’s Bartender is the second in a series of special awards to be announced in the weeks leading up to the big reveal of Asia’s 50 Best Bars at 6pm on May 6, 2021, which can be watched on Facebook and YouTube at 6pm HK/Singapore time; 3.30pm India; 5pm Thailand and 7pm Japan. This will be preceded by the inaugural 51-100 list, which will be announced on April 29. There will also be a series of three bartender discussions entitled Breaking The Ice before the final countdown.

Timetable of events:

  • Campari One To Watch: April 15
  • Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award: April 22
  • 51-100: April 29
  • Breaking The Ice: May 2, 3 and 4
  • Asia’s 50 Best Bars: May 6