After a gruelling six-hour MONIN Cup APAC Finals competition on 24th October, Malaysia’s own ‘Dino’ Hafizuddin bin Sedik of HAUS Bartending snagged the second runner-up title and joins Nyan Min from Myanmar and Son Seok Jun from South Korea at the finals in Paris this December.
He made it through the first round off the back of his famous Kiss Me Later durian cocktail, entering with the top six into the mystery round where he and competitors from Indonesia, Myanmar, South Korea, Singapore, and New Zealand, had to create a cocktail on the spot using preselected mystery ingredients.
“When I got to the top six I’d say I’m very happy but at the same time very nervous,” said Dino after the competition, “But then I’m already top six, so I just went for it. Previously I worked at PnC cocktail bar, a speakeasy bar with no menu, so I’m used to making cocktails without the menu. From there I learned how to make craft cocktails based on the ingredients I have.”
Dino wowed the judges with his second cocktail, Mangga Pedas, made with MONIN Spicy Mango syrup, chopped red chilis, lime juice, kaffir leaves, and Nusa Caña rum – and boy was it damn pedas! “I didn’t expect it [would be] too spicy. When I first tasted it, it wasn’t very spicy because usually the red chili is not spicy – I just wanted to take a hint of spiciness.” Using the Spicy Mango syrup, Dino says his cocktail was inspired by childhood memories of eating mangga with sambal kicap. Judge Hidetsugu Ueno conceded defeat, while judge Holly Graham enthusiastically downed her serve. The judges must really like their spice (well, most of them anyway).
Dino’s advice for the next batch of Malaysian bartenders for MONIN Cup 2020 is: “Just go for it. If you’re nervous it’s normal, I’m also nervous. It’s a challenge, challenge yourself. That’s what I do to myself, I challenge myself… I challenged myself to make [Mangga Pedas]. And even my signature Kiss Me Later, that one was also very challenging because the durian itself is hard to mix with others.”
Dino will be looking for the next challenge after coming back from Paris. “I have to go search for another experience, or another competition…I want to experience a lot of things. I want to learn more. I want to become a mentor that knows everything, that can make everything.”
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