Tips to avoid cultural appropriation in bars

23rd August, 2017 by Annie Hayes

Study the country’s traditions

Complications can arise when styles are rooted in deeper and more complex cultural intricacies than they appear on the surface. “A lot of people misunderstand Japanese bartending,“ says Shingo Gokan, owner of Shanghai­-based speakeasy Speak Low. “They think that by using Japanese ingredients and doing a certain kind of shake they are doing Japanese style, but it’s not just about the technique and tools.” The philosophy, the way bartenders move and their thought processes are all intrinsic parts of the country’s approach to bartending, with a focus on every detail. He likens it to chadō, a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha tea. “Its no good for a high­-volume bar; it takes a long time to make each drink if you 100% follow Japanese style,” he adds.

Renowned bartender Hidetsugu Ueno, owner of Tokyo’s Bar High Five, agrees. “[Western bartenders] see Japanese style as ice balls and cobbler shakers and mixing glasses, but it’s more than just what you can see with your eyes,” says Ueno­san. “There is something behind it. To do it properly, you should know why you do these things. And this is the same for any style of bartending.”

One Response to “Tips to avoid cultural appropriation in bars”

  1. Ryan McCourt says:

    Only an ignorant savage treats aesthetics as if it were ethics.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our newsletter