All Mixed Up: Delphine Kong, Brand Ambassador for Campari Group Hong Kong
by: The Beat Asia
May 31, 2023
As Italian Week Hong Kong 2023 is now in full swing, we're highlighting the city's top Italian F&B talent in our All Mixed Up series.
In anticipation of this fantastic celebration of Italian culture, we're excited to introduce Delphine Kong, Brand Ambassador of Campari Group and a renowned mixologist. Delphine is known for her creative cocktails and passion for promoting Italian drinking culture.
Join us for an exclusive interview, where we explore her journey and discover what makes her and other celebrated mixologists tick.
Hey Delphine, tell me how you found yourself in the drinks space for a career
After graduating from university in Xiamen, China, I knew I wanted to live in a vibrant and energetic city, and Hong Kong was the best place to be here.
Believe it or not, I got into bartending to cure my social awkwardness. I used to be very shy, and my friend suggested, why don't you try bartending and go behind the bar, because you are forced to engage with the guests. I quickly discovered my passion for mixing drinks.
Through a connection in 2016, I found a barback job at Jinjuu, the former Korean restaurant and bar in Lan Kwai Fong Tower. After working in Lan Kwai Fong, I moved to Bar Q88 in JW Marriott, before taking positions at Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour and Foxglove.
What brought you away from your barback work at Dr. Fern’s and Foxglove to working with Campari Group in Hong Kong?
Both Dr. Fern’s and Foxglove are cool concepts, with Dr. Fern’s showing a gin-focus and Foxglove being shaped in a Shanghai-style. I was the Head of Prescription at Dr. Fern’s, creating interesting cocktails with a botanical theme, whilst the jazz music at Foxglove allowed me to create an experience for guests.
After working in mixology and bar management at Dr. Fern's Gin Parlour and Foxglove, I was eager to elevate my career. In 2019, before I joined Campari Group, I participated in the Campari Hong Kong Bartender competition and reached the finals. I created drinks based on a theme with certain fruits, whilst also highlighting Campari’s characteristics.
Why did you join Campari as a brand ambassador?
Ever since I joined the Campari Bartender competition, I've been dreaming of becoming a Brand Ambassador for them. I mean, how cool would that be? I get to take my creativity to the next level and share my love for mixology with a wider audience. Plus, the fact that I get to collaborate with other talents in the industry is also rewarding. It's like a win-win situation. I get to do what I love and learn from others at the same time. Who wouldn't want that, right? So when the opportunity came up to join Campari Group Hong Kong as a Brand Ambassador, I jumped at the chance. This is like my dream job come true!
How do you introduce Campari and its drinks offerings to a local Chinese and Cantonese-speaking audience?
One of my main focuses as brand ambassador for Campari is to promote what we call ‘Italianity’ or introducing Italian drinking culture to a local palate. A key aspect of this culture is the aperitivo ritual, which includes low ABV pre-meal drinks like the Aperol Spritz, bittersweets, and Campari.
Italian drinking culture is similar to yum cha in Hong Kong. There's a commonality with the city, where it’s not about drinking [alcohol or tea], but about the experience, occasion, and socialising with people. I hope to cultivate a deeper appreciation for aperitivo in the city!
Tell me about the new Campari sky bar in Vista from Aqua Restaurant Group in Tsim Sha Tsui
We wanted to team up with Aqua Restaurant Group to showcase Campari’s authentic Italian la dolce vita in our stunning new sky bar, featuring bold Campari cocktails from Campari Group in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. We’re thrilled to have support and bring the vision to life!
Is this the beginning of a strong partnership with Italian cocktails, mixes and drinks in China and Hong Kong?
Absolutely! We want to import that culture of Italian mixology to the region and find ways to resonate with the local audience. Beyond Campari, we have a wide and versatile portfolio, including vodka, mezcal, brown spirits, whisky, and champagne. We want to showcase the complexity and variety of our portfolio.
What is the most exciting aspect of working with Campari in 2023?
2023 is shaping up to be an exciting year of growth and collaboration in Hong Kong. We are hosting many activations to promote the brands, working with talented bartenders from the city to introduce new flavours, new styles with Campari drinks.
Connecting with other talented bartenders and mixologists, if I can help others discover that same passion and pursue their dreams, that would be a personal achievement that I'm truly grateful for.
Thanks for chatting with us, Delphine.
Enjoyed this article? Check out our previous All Mixed Up profiles here
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