Housed in a sleek space dotted with marble high-top tables and plush sofas for lounging, Bar Mood has long been a frontrunner of Taipei’s bar scene, setting the example for many young venues in the city. It is even more significant then that in 2022, Nick Wu’s cocktail cove is selected as the winner of the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2022 as the venue in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list that demonstrated the highest commitment to ethical sourcing, protecting the environment and supporting its local community.
Wu is on a mission to tell the story of Taiwan through its flowers, herbs, botanicals, fruits and spices, which are all sourced from sustainable producers and feature prominently in Bar Mood’s cocktails. Even for ingredients such as coffee, the venue works with suppliers who promote gender equality in farming communities, pay wages above the Fairtrade minimum and offer education and literacy programmes to women and children on farms.
The drinks list is divided in sections based on the cocktail’s main ingredients, ranging from nuts to beans, oils to vegetables. Among the tempting choices, the Bitter Man features gin, bitter melon syrup, tea syrup, chartreuse, crème de menthe and fresh lime juice; while the Sweet Osmanthus Blossom – inspired by the flower that grows extensively across China – combines whiskey with sweet Osmanthus syrup, dry vermouth, fresh lemon juice, organic-certified egg white and smoked plum.
This ethos doesn’t stop at the bar, extending to the food menu and the venue operations. With water, electricity and carbon reduction targets already in place, Bar Mood also shuns any single-use items (straws, napkins, coasters or cocktail sticks), while empty spirit bottles are re-used for pre-batched cocktails. Cocktail garnishes are most often crafted from the by-products of other ingredients and dehydration techniques are employed to save ingredients that would otherwise go to waste.
The bar’s next frontier is its community, starting from its staff – who all receive sustainability training, time off for education and to volunteer, and mental health support – and extending to its customers and the island of Taiwan. Wu and his team regularly support local charities and community groups, often raising funds with their customers. Even the artwork on display at the bar, the crockery and furniture are all made by local artists.
A venue setting the standard for sustainability in Asia, Bar Mood is a pioneer and a role model in the field, truly deserving of the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award title.