Fernet Hunter has always prided itself in discovery and storytelling, searching for different perspectives and styles in beverage culture and beyond. In our Explore series, we speak to a handful of #RealPeople that have made bartending their craft and how identity has shaped their mark on the industry in Hong Kong.
Christian Idos is the assistant manager and bar manager at CHINO Hong Kong, a Japanese-Mexican neighborhood restaurant in Kennedy Town. Opened by chef Erik Idos, previously of Nobu, and pastry chef Tracy Wei, this acclaimed taco spot is best known for its fresh, local-inspired flavors complimented by a casual, easy-going Los Angeles vibe. Christian, an LA native who moved to Hong Kong six years ago, started out as a food runner and gradually grew into a managerial role, where he now helps with operations and service while running the bar program.
1. What is your favorite drink?
A good tequila or mezcal which I’m super into right now. I’m a rocks person.
2. How do you cure a hangover?
If I’m functional at night, I’ll pound food when I’m drinking. Pound a glass of water before bed. If not, it’s blue Gatorade the morning after, or in Hong Kong’s case, Pocari Sweat or Aquarius, anything [with] electrolytes.
3. What motivates you and your work?
Competition, not that it’s a bad thing, it’s great. The new places that are opening push us to be like okay, how do we keep up, do we need to pivot, how do we stay relevant. It motivates me to keep striving to stay up to date.
4. What you love about bars and bartending?
I love dive bars. [In LA] you would choose a dive bar specifically if you want to chill, sit, relax, and catch up with some friends. Here [in Hong Kong], you can find different kinds of spots everywhere, that’s the beauty of it. You’ll find a new hole in the wall with a drink that you like, and you’ll be like I can see myself being a regular here.
5. Talk about a notable career moment.
As I moved up the ladder, I began to notice that we are at the top of our niche. We get told CHINO is the best restaurant in the neighborhood or that we‘re still the best. When you hear that, you feel pride. I take pride in the food we serve and drinks we serve. People do talk about us and say hey, let’s go to CHINO and know they’ll have a good time. That’s definitely pride and joy I take.
6. What is your go to way to unwind after work?
Definitely having that end of day, cold beer. And I don‘t want it in a staff cup, I want it in a proper cup. Just that first sip, changes all, like a note that says work is done.
7. What’s your favorite drink city?
Absolutely Hong Kong, you can walk around with open containers of alcohol. When you‘re out to drink, sometimes you’re not exactly going out with a group, but you’re going out to try new places, meet new people.
8. Is there anything you don’t like about nightlife culture?
Not necessarily, I love the nightlife here. If i was to choose or nitpick, not much. I am a bar guy though.
9. Tell us about your cocktail.
With us being a Mexican restaurant, I was trying to make a Fernet Hunter margarita. Through trial and error, came up with this one: you can’t beat a traditional, classic margarita, so the Limelight hits that spot.
10. Fernet Hunter is big on exploration, what is something you think needs to be explored more?
For the industry in general, there’s so many other cuisines out there that could be explored or haven’t been tapped into, in my opinion. If you do it right, it will be good and that’s where the exploration comes in right? Personally, I need to explore Hong Kong more. I’ve been here 6 years now, and you can get everything. You can get hikes, water, take a weekend trip to snow. That’s the beauty with Hong Kong, it‘s the perfect hub to explore.
50ml Fernet Hunter
20ml Corralejo Blanco
25ml Lime Juice
15ml Simple Syrup
1. Pour all ingredients above in shaker.
2. Fill full ice
3. Hard shake
4. Single strain into a rock glass w/ rock ice
5. Lime twist for garnish