Our quest for badass women in the Asian bar and spirits community has led us to some extraordinary people.
Meet Jess Hutchinson, or as friends know her – Hutch.
A few years ago, what was just a one off weekend gig, turned into a 4 year commitment for Hutch, who began her journey in spirits at 28HKS, where she developed and nurtured a deep rooted passion and love for the industry.
A woman of many talents and a firm believer of giving her best in everything that she does, Hutch’s roles have evolved from a door hostess, to Front of House Manager and if you were lucky – you’d have caught her shaking a few drinks on the rare quiet nights at 28HKS. You couldn’t have missed her if you were there.
Come 2016, Hutch shifted gears and entered The Proof Flat, embracing a new year of challenges and experiences. Located in Singapore, The Proof Flat is the flagship retail salon by EC Proof, housing a stupendous collection of fine spirits across categories, barware for hobbyists as well as serious bartenders, and access to tastings and workshops tailored to capture the fancy of spirit enthusiasts like us.
Hutch is a known and loved face at The Proof Flat. From being an advocate of the flat, to carving a name for herself as an oracle of concoctions, it serves as perfect pillow talk with her partner, renowned bartender, Juan Yi Jun, who we recently caught up with to chat about her own magic tricks at 1880 Singapore. Talk about the perfect match!
We caught up with this fox and asked for her spirit recommendations this season. Read on and make your way to The Proof Flat soon.
We thought we must give you a little heads up – Hutch is a huge Agave fan (we love that) and is always keen to get people sipping and drinking GOOD tequila. “No more bad tequila shots that you remember from when you were 18 and trying to get wasted”, she quips.
Displaying a fine knowledge of her favourite spirits, she goes on to tell us, “Tequila is supposed to be made with Blue Webber Agave, whereas Mezcal is made from any kind of Agave, it could be wild, it could be cultivated. It’s also usually roasted underground or in claypot to give it more of those earthy notes and smoked notes as opposed to Tequila which is normally in a Column still, which gives it the cleaner, crisp flavour.” If you want to really get into agave and Mezcal, click through Phil Bayly’s guide to Mezcal right here.
In the meanwhile, here are Hutch’s top 3 spirit recommendations for the season from the shelves of The Proof Flat:
- Mezcal and in particular Mezcal Derrumbes San Luis – one of my PERSONAL favourites, I always rave about this and definitely one that I’ll always ask you to try if it’s your first time at The Proof Flat and if you’re open to trying something new and funky. Off the nose, you’ll instantly pick up all of these big bold flavours like olives, blue cheese, and jalepeños. On the palate, all those flavours, plus more subtle grassy notes, along with full and rich mouthfeel. Personally, sipping this is one of my favourite ways to drink it, but also pairs nicely with some grapefruit tonic over ice.
- Rum and in particular Plantation Pineapple Stiggin’s Fancy Rum – always a conversation starter. It’s versatile enough that you can sip it, have it over ice, have some splashed in your Prosecco, have it as a Pineapple Negroni, or as a shot. You name a way to try something and this can live up to it. Not only is it made by a phenomenal guy in the industry, Alexandre Gabriel, (who also is the guy behind Citadelle Gin and Pierre Ferrand Cognac) it’s a collaboration between him and cocktail historian, David Wondrich. It is a blend of Plantation Original Dark and Plantation 3 Stars white rum, and using Victoria Pineapples. The barks of the fruit are infused with the white rum, which is then further distilled and separately, the pineapple fruit is infused with the dark rum. After this, both distillate and fruit infusion are blended together. Not only do you get the sweetness from the fresh pineapple, you also get all those spice and rich warm notes. Perfect to warm you up and have those tropical notes at the same time.
- Last but not least, Bourbon and in particular Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon. People often talk about Whisky and the first thing they think about are Scotch and Single Malts. I enjoy sharing with people who are willing to try other whiskies, as there is such a wide range. Bourbon’s, Rye’s, Irish, and of course Japanese just to name a few. Bourbon is a whole new ball game for those that have not tried it, and for those that have – there’s so many different expressions. There are certain regulations that all Bourbon Whiskies must follow, for example, the mashbill percentage must be 51% corn and above and it has to be aged in brand new American Oak Barrels. The Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon, is one of my favourite Bourbons as the flavours just burst with all those rich caramel and vanilla notes, as well as stone fruit and some of that soft smokiness. Perfect for sipping or for mixing into an Old Fashioned or Whiskey Sour.
We don’t know about you, but we’re already making our way to The Proof Flat, Singapore to get our hands on that Mezcal and have a drink (or many) with Hutch. You should join us.
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