Bartender Teresa Moon grew up on Spain’s Canary Islands, attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu Paris (Julia Child’s alma mater) and spent time in some of London and Barcelona’s leading hotel restaurants. From there, she studied hotel management at Les Roches in Switzerland before stepping behind the stick. She was working at the Ritz-Carlton Barcelona when she got the opportunity to tend bar at OZONE, the tallest bar in the world, which occupies the 118th floor of Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre, features spectacular city views, and often draws over 500 customers per night. On November 1, I met Moon at OZONE, and she shared several spirited insights.
What does a cocktail have to be to go on your menu at Ozone?
First of all, it has to be a cocktail that is created by us. It has to be a house cocktail. There are so many classic cocktails around. We always want to be thought of for our personal touch. Our guests who come up here to 118 to see us. Second of all, they have to have a story behind them. I like the idea of having a concept where you think the ingredients up and have a whole story to tell.
Which came first, your interest in spirits or your interest in cocktails?
My first interest came from food, so I guess it would be cocktails. Definitely. I just love the idea of mixing and matching. I studied cooking before, so it was such a similar world, in terms of flavors. Then, as I learned how to do it, I learned there are so many wonderful spirits to do it with.
You’re from Spain originally?
My parents are Korean. I’m originally Korean, but I am from Spain. My parents moved there 30 years ago. My brothers were all born there. I grew up there.
Where in Spain?
The Canary Islands, that’s where I grew up. Then I moved around to different places in Europe, for studies, for work. The last place I was, was Barcelona.
Where were you working in Barcelona?
I was working at the Ritz-Carlton in Barcelona. It’s the same company, so I just got transferred to this property. They told me it was the highest bar in the world. I said, “I have to.”
Where did you attend culinary school?
I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and I got my chef diploma, Le Grand Diplome. Then I worked for awhile, mostly in London, as a chef, at Galvin at Windows at the Hilton Hotel in Mayfair. I went back to study hotel management. That’s where I got reconnected to the bar world, the spirits and wine world. I studied hotel management at Les Roches, and it was a new start.
What do you remember about your very first night behind a bar? Where was that?