The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Victor Yang’s Royal Violet Sangria

Victor Yang represented Taiwan at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013.

Marquee is a modern and spacious haunt for the fashion conscious cognoscenti of Taipei. Known for its stretch bar, decadent dance floor and celebrity clientele at weekends, it attracts a lower key crowd through the week who come primarily for the excellent classic cocktails. Home to previous World Class Taiwan winners Angus Zou and Mark Huang, Marquee certainly has pedigree in the mixology stakes. Located in Xinyi, just across the street from landmark skyscraper Taipei 101, it’s in the epicenter of hip urbanity Taiwan-style and (for any number of reasons) impossible to miss.

The Bartender

Victor Yang, 28, has worked in the industry for nine years and is currently bar manager at Marquee. ‘I prefer to contrast rather than complement flavours too close to the base spirit,’ says Victor, ‘for instance my signature Negroni uses a fresh gin, Tanqueray No. Ten, with a heavier Campari and Vermouth, yet the combination is well balanced and works well together.’ Fond of using the island’s produce, Victor’s particular favourite is Taiwanese plum powder, for its complex taste that combines sweet, sour and umami – the trendy, savoury fifth taste.

The Drink

Victor observed that many guests in Taiwan tend toward drinks that are fruity and sweet, with sangria being a perennial favourite. His Royal Violet Sangria is based on the format of the Spanish original, but with a radical reshuffle of ingredients. Made entirely from Mauzac Blanc and Ugni Blanc grapes, Cîroc vodka was a natural choice for the base with its flavourful fruit character. It gains further depth from the vine in both the effervescent charm of champagne and the muddled Kyoho grapes, the plump purple-black ‘mountain grapes’ grown in the island’s Changhua County. Another transformational idea came from the bouquets of flowers that often garland female stars in the club, represented in the drink by the violet liqueur.

The Technique

Cîroc • 45ml
G. Miclo violet liqueur • 5ml
Fresh Lemon juice • 15ml
Sugar syrup • 10ml
Kyoho grapes • 3 or 4
Champagne to fill (up to 100ml)
Contains 25 grams of alcohol per serve

Muddle the grapes, having removed the pips first to avoid bitterness. Mix the first four ingredients. Pour a small amount of champagne into a silver coupe glass. Add the Cîroc mix and top with more champagne if necessary.

Serve with some Kyoho grapes injected with Cîroc.

Unless you want the full-on fashionista experience then secure a space in the speakeasy space upstairs. If you are hungry, the Royal Violet Sangria is perfect with sautéed Cherry Blossom shrimps.

For a night out with lithe locals and delicious drinks then Marquee is the place to make like a tycoon in Taipei.

Images by Aiko Chiu

Victor’s Insider’s Guide to Taipei

Place to stay
Yuanshan Grand Hotel

Place to eat
Meowvelous café and restaurant

Place to relax

Place to lounge
Marsalis Home bar

Place to Dance
Room 18

Place to shop
Breeze Centre

Place to visit
National Palace Museum

Place to see
Alishan National Scenic Area