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Jay Khan, co-founder and Director of Coa in Hong Kong, has been named the winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2020.

The award recognises a personality who has made a significant impact in the bar industry and drinking scene in Asia, and is voted for by bartenders on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 list.

The award is the last of a series of special awards announced ahead of Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ digital ceremony on Thursday 14 May, which takes place at 7pm Singapore time.

After consultation with Asia’s bar community, 50 Best made the decision to go ahead with the announcement of the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 and the accompanying special awards.

This year’s virtual countdown is not designed to be a celebration, but rather a recognition of the bars and their teams’ hard work over the past year. The hospitality sector is in turmoil now, with the bar scene particularly affected. 50 Best hopes that the announcement of these awards will shine some light into the days of darkness and will be of assistance when the time comes for bars to reopen and recover.

Mark Sansom, Content Editor for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “Jay is rightly well-respected among his peers and his contribution to the bar scene in Asia is without question. His passion for sharing innovative cocktail experiences sends a positive ripple effect through the sector and makes him a well-deserved recipient of this year’s Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award. We know he will continue to inspire with much-needed optimism during this time, and lead the industry to greater heights once recovery sets in.”

Khan, who was born in Hong Kong, began his bartending journey 14 years ago, across notable bars in Hong Kong and Melbourne, Australia. His passion for agave spirits began after a trip to Mexico a decade ago. Since then, Khan has undertaken extensive research and field trips, studying the harvesting and production processes of the agave plant, through distillery visits across Mexico.

In 2017, armed with a desire to translate his love for agave into innovative cocktail experiences, he went on to open Coa on Shin Hing Street in Hong Kong. The Mexican-inspired bar, which is named after the machete-like tool used for harvesting the plant, offers the largest agave collection in Hong Kong, and focuses on mescal- and tequila-based cocktails, among more esoteric agave spirits. Coa was placed No.12 and won the Highest New Entry Award in Asia’s 50 Best Bars list in 2019. 

On winning the award, Khan says: “I have been blessed through my career with opportunities that allowed me to work alongside the best bartenders around the world. Winning the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award is extremely meaningful, because it is an affirmation from peers whom I have immense respect for. The industry may be going through a really difficult time now, but as long as we continue to stand together as a community and support each other, I am confident we can get through this and come out stronger.”

The Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award was introduced to Asia’s 50 Best Bars for the first time in 2018. Vijay Mudaliar, the founder of Native in Singapore was the inaugural winner. Shingo Gokan, the man behind Speak Low, The SG Club and Sober Company, was awarded the title in 2019.

Carlos Andres Ramirez, Global Advocacy Manager for Altos Tequila, says: “In the name of Altos Tequila, we want to congratulate Jay Khan, Co-founder and Director of Coa in Hong Kong. We are aware of the difficult times our Industry is facing. As a familia, we have stood together in the past and this will be no exception. It is precisely during crisis moments when the true values of a society should manifest.”

The fifth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, will be unveiled in a digital countdown on Thursday 14 May, beginning at 7pm Singapore time. Bars and cocktail lovers are invited to join the virtual awards ceremony on The World’s 50 Best Bars Facebook page and 50 Best Bars TV YouTube channel.

How the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list is compiled

The Asia’s 50 Best Bars list was introduced in 2016 as an extension to The World’s 50 Best Bars, which launched in 2009. The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Academy, an influential group of more than 230 leaders in the bar sector across Asia, each selected for his or her expert opinion of the drinking scene. The panel comprises drinks journalists, bartenders, bars, owners, and well-travelled cocktail aficionados, and the make-up of the voting panel changes significantly each year. Members list seven choices in order of preference, based on their best bar experiences over the last 18 months. A minimum of three votes must go to bars located outside his or her country of residence. There is no pre-determined checklist of criteria but there are strict voting rules.

For more details on the voting process, visit www.worlds50bestbars.com/asia/voting.php.   

Comments

Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
1129 comments
12 May 2020
Jay Khan, co-founder and Director of Coa in Hong Kong, has been named the winner of the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2020.
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Rated
8
Coa Hong Kong
CONTRIBUTOR
1 comment
7 May 2020
Named after the machete like tool for harvesting agave, COA is an exciting Mexican inspired cocktail bar created and helmed by beverage industry veteran Jay Khan. COA focuses on great hospitality, set in a cozy and friendly environment welcoming all walks of life, and provides a diverse beverage offering, featuring artisanal cocktails with a section dedicated on Agave spirits that provides you a glimpse (or deep dive) into these rich, diverse but often misunderstood products. Quintessentially a cocktail bar, COA features a beautifully curated and world class artisanal cocktail list. In additional it also celebrates the rich and vibrant drinking culture of Mexico with two dedicated sections. While the bar features tequila and mezcal, it also carry's a wide range of other Mexican spirits such as raicilla, tuxca, bacanora, sotol and charanda. The other celebration of the Mexican drinking tradition is a selection of house fermented beverages such as Tepache, a drink made with pineapple skin, sugar and cinnamon fermented and served during the summer on the road side of Mexico. Typically these fermented beverages are light and easy on the palate, and great for the hot and humid weather in Hong Kong. COA share's agave spirits never before offered in Hong Kong, tequila and mezcal so layered and complex, so rich and enchanting that you will want to sip and savor them slowly all by themselves or complemented with tropical fruits coated with sal de gusano (translated into worm salt) traditionally served with mezcal. Instead of the ubiquitous flight menu, COA introduced a smaller portion for each agave spirit for guests to explore by themselves or they can embark with one of the bartenders as a guide on a journey of Mexican flavors. A small selection of Mexican beer and South American wines are on the list along with other spirits carefully selected from gin to whisky in smaller quantities.
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