Mixologist Leo Ko has just made history at the IBA World Cocktail Championship 2023, taking home the title of the World Bartender of the Year – a first for a local Hong Konger – and strengthening Hong Kong’s place at the pinnacle of the global mixology scene.

At Cordis, Hong Kong, in Mong Kok where he has worked since 2014 (with the hotel known formerly as Langham Place), Leo takes on dual roles as Hotel Beverage Manager and Chief Mixologist at Alibi – Wine Dine Be Social. For almost a decade, he’s been active at local, regional, and international cocktail competitions, culminating in this ultimate achievement.

In addition to being named World Bartender of the Year 2023, Leo also bagged gongs in the Cocktail of the Year (Low ABV) and Best Sensory Skill categories. Leo’s award-winning cocktail – Yuen Yeung – is a tribute to that cha chaan teng staple drink, a blend of HK-style milk tea and coffee.

“We are immensely proud of Leo Ko’s historic achievement in this prestigious world cocktail competition,” said Adam Hipp, Managing Director of Cordis, Hong Kong, in a press release. “His exceptional talent, creativity, and dedication have solidified his position as a leading mixologist, not only in Hong Kong, but on the global stage. We are grateful for the opportunity to nurture and support talented individuals like Leo, and we remain committed to fostering their growth and success in the future, while cultivating more talent in the industry.” 

The World Cocktail Championship, this year held in Rome, is an annual event uniting the finest mixologists from 68 countries and regions around the world.

Stephanie Pliakas is the Digital Editor of Foodie. From Michelin-starred fine-dining to the local comfort-food eats dished out at cha chaan tengs, she has immersed herself in the 852’s ever-changing food scene since making Hong Kong her home more than a decade ago. When Stephanie is not devouring something delicious, she’s cooking and baking up a storm at home (whilst listening to true crime podcasts).

Win tasty prizes in our Valentine’s Day giveaway!

Join our biggest giveaway yet and win prizes for you and your partner