Ones to Watch – 2020

As we come into a new decade, take a look at who should be serving you your favourite drink in 2020.

As another year comes to an end and social media timelines see a flurry of retrospective posts recapping past successes and accolades, we decided it’s a great time to look ahead instead.

We asked some of our favourite bartenders to nominate their “ones to watch” – bartenders who are young, keen, talented, and likely to shape the future of the beverage world through their efforts. We would also like to put forward some of our own recommendations who we think are pushing the envelope and making waves behind the bar. Look out for them in the new year, have a drink for us!

Vijay Mudaliar (Native) nominates Yugnes Susela

Where: Elephant Room (Singapore)

Yugnes Susela, Elephant Room

Who: Yugnes is fairly well known within the bar community in south east Asia, having previously run the ship at Tippling Club before taking the plunge into proprietorship. His recently launched bar, Elephant Room is one of Singapore’s latest feathers in the hat. A bar that strives for perfection through serves and service, Elephant Room has been Yugnes’ dream for over 2 years now. Inspired by the cultural landscape of India, Elephant Room pays homage to Singapore’s Little India through its eclectic selection of bite size nibbles and carefully crafted drinks. Yugnes is a passionate perfectionist who put his heart and soul into the project and things look wildly promising at Elephant Room.

Instagram: @cocktailmahout

Ago Perrone (The Connaught) nominates Giorgio Bargiani

Where: The Connaught, London (United Kingdom)

Giorgio Bargiani, The Connaught

Who: An ambassador of The Connaught’s world class team, Giorgio’s contribution to The Connaught Bar has become evident to anybody who walks through the doors, thanks to his dedication to the guest experience, distinctive creativity and contagious enthusiasm. Together with his mentor Ago Perrone, over the past few years Giorgio has played a remarkable role in developing some of the latest Connaught innovations such as the new Vanguard menu and the in-house gin. Now regarded as an influential and inspiring bartender on the international bar scene, Giorgio regularly travels to share his cocktail and hospitality expertise at trade shows, talks and guest shifts across the world’s best bars and events. 

Instagram: @Giorgio_Bar_Giani

Alberto Gonzalez Rivas (Limantour) nominates Odette Cruz

Where: Xaman, Mexico City (Mexico)

Odette Cruz, Xaman (Image: @elconocedormx)

Who: Odette Cruz, head bartender at Xaman has been in the circuit for a little over 5 years. She is focussed on learning and sharing her knowledge with keen customers and recently won the Gin Mare competition, representing Mexico in the global finals. Her amicable persona and enthusiasm to learn is evident in her serves.


Dram Attic nominates Tim Lefevre

Where: Door 74, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Tim Lefevre, Door 74

Who: Tim left his hometown in Belguim over three years ago to give bartending a shot, making his entry at a dive/sports bar in Amsterdam while also working a part time gig at a cocktail catering company. One thing led to another and Tim soon found himself at Door 74 where his aptitude for the craft came to life. Since then, there has been no looking back. Today Tim helms the bar at Door 74 and is pushing boundaries with innovative serves and his own sustainable drinking project (@hiveballproject) that calls for the community to share their sustainable drinking ideas and inspirations.

Instagram: @timie

Choon-Leong Li (Tales & Spirits) nominates Raysa Straal

Where: Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Raysa Straal, Tales & Spirits

Who: Raysa is applauded for her knowledge of spirits and the craft of cocktails. This wealth of knowledge is evident in her style and serves. Known for being thoroughly entertaining behind the bar and extremely keen to learn, Raysa is well on her way to becoming a formidable force in the circuit.

Instagram: @enviousbyrayss

Alberto Gonzalez Rivas (Limantour) nominates Daniel Reyes

Where: Baltra Bar, Mexico City (Mexico)

Daniel Reyes, Baltra Bar

Who: Only 4 years into his bartending career, Daniel is one of Mexico’s most diligent and enterprising bartenders. He is known for his outstanding creativity in the craft and has won several cocktail competitions at the national and regional level. Daniel has been heading Baltra Bar for 2 years now, continuing to employ the highest level of creativity in his craft.

Instagram: @danybaltra

Dram Attic nominates Yana Keller

Where: Atlas, Singapore

Yana Keller, Atlas (Image: Benjamin Sim

Who: Only a few years into her career as a bartender, Yana is hard to miss behind the bar. Beginning her journey at Atlas as a Barista, Yana quickly made her way behind the bar, learning on the job, and honing her skills as a bartender in one of the world’s best bars and earning the respect and attention of peers. We believe Yana’s effervescent spirit and confidence behind the bar, coupled with a fierce sense of ambition, will make her a force to reckon with.

Instagram: @banananaism

Wild Card Entry: Choon-Leong Lai

Where: Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Choon Leong Lai, Tales & Spirits

Who: Choon’s infectious energy and banter will draw you like a moth to a flame. Having stirred up a storm behind the bar at Tales & Spirits, Choon is known for his no-fuss, “all heart” approach to making drinks. His passion for hospitality takes centre-stage in his serves.

Instagram: @the_looney_choon

We hope 2020 brings them massive success as they do what they do best and love the most. Keep an eye out for these fine men and women and tag us on Instagram if you manage to catch them on your travels.©

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