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09 Dec 2019 By Xin Hui Helder-Eng

Excuse Me Miss, Is Your Last Name Thio or Chio? Meet Charmaine Thio, Brand Ambassador for Hendrick's Gin, Southeast Asia.

We speak to Charmaine Thio, better known in the circuit as @crazycocktailcat to learn how this English Literature major and cheerleading captain, turned kitchen help, turned barback, turned head bartender, came to be Brand Ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin, Southeast Asia. 

Parched: You look familiar Charmaine! (am sure she hears that a lot) but seriously, where might we have met? 

Thio: I’m from NTU (National Technology University of Singapore) an English Literature major with a minor in Creative Writing as well as Theatre & Performance… To make sure that I had absolutely no spare time in university I did everything from running a hall magazine to contemporary dance choreography to competitive Scrabble and was the captain of a cheerleading team. Then I did an exchange stint in Glasgow University (where I drank more gin than Scotch)… and my first gig, the very day after I graduated, was in kitchen at Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall frying Hokkien mee and shrimp paste chicken (both of which I do not eat) just one day after graduation… then in 2015, I moved to 28 HongKong Street as a barback, where I eventually became Head Bartender.


Parched: That’s our cute-meet! We must’ve tried out as cheerleaders at NTU a lifetime ago – and didn’t make the cut. So. Anyway… You’re Brand Ambassador of Hendrick’s Gin in Southeast Asia now! Miss being on the inside of the bar? What do you miss / love about it?

Thio: I loved the feeling of being part of a team of people that were more like family and not just colleagues. You spend so much time with each other in what can be a very high stress environment so most of the time you grow to be quite close, are generally protective of each other and become naturally invested in each other’s growth and success. It’s nice to have that kind of a support system at work and in life.


Parched: And what do you NOT miss about it?

Thio: Most of the guests were wonderful people but every now and then the universe throws you someone who is unbearably rude or disrespectful and that’s always a pimple on your work day.


Parched: What’s been added to your plate now that you enjoy? 

Thio: I get to plan events, travel and explore cocktail communities in other cities, create my own cocktail menus, meet people from all around the world, design training programs and still get behind the bar every now and then. Despite the frequent traveling I now have a far more balanced lifestyle than I’ve had in years and actually have the time and
energy to exercise regularly. 


Parched: Why should anyone pay attention to Hendrick’s Orbium?

Thio: Because it’s an incredible gin! It has such a unique and distinct flavour with the combination of quinine, wormwood and blue lotus flower; there’s really nothing like it. Orbium takes you on a journey. You nose it and you think you know what to expect when you taste it but what
you do taste is so wildly unexpected. Then it begins to spiral into this deep and complex place with a dry and long finish. It’s really quite a spectacular experience.


Parched: How do you like your Orbium?

Thio: In a dry martini served with an olive or a lemon twist.


Parched: Name 3 people you’d most like to have a drink with

Thio: Britney Spears. I just really want to meet Britney. Coco Chanel, if she was still alive… we’d have a drink at Duke’s or The American Bar in The Savoy London, or maybe Harry’s New York Bar in Paris… I feel like she’d be a Martini drinker, or perhaps a French 75. That’s it. A French 75 in Paris feels rather appropriate actually. and third… Hossan Leong. I’m a fan-girl! We’d start with champagne at Manhattan I reckon. 


Parched: Britney?! okayyyy. learning a little more about you now… In your own time, you like to unwind by…

Thio: If I’m not physically capable of doing anything productive then I hibernate at home with my buddy Netflix. If I’m not physically spent then I like to dance. When I’m not on the road for work, I try to go to the pole dance studio as much as I can. There’s just something cathartic about learning a new piece of choreography and moving to music. There’s also such a strong element of satisfaction when you finally nail that pole trick you’ve been attempting for ages. Plus, it’s great exercise and exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy!


Parched: Got a mantra you’d like to share?

Thio: You are the pilot of your own life. If you want to get somewhere in life and have dreams you want to see come true then chart out your own flight plan and get going.


Parched: Complete the sentence. “I’m the kind of drinking buddy that would….”

Thio: Try to get less intoxicated than you so that I can make sure you get back safe.

Aww. what a babe.

August 2018: Charmaine Thio is Brand Ambassador of Hendrick’s Gin, Southeast Asia. 

About Hendrick’s Orbium

Almost 20 years after the launch of the original Hendrick’s gin, the Scottish gin brand has added a new expression to its line-up – a limited edition release called Orbium. And Singapore is the first market in Asia to taste it.  When Hendrick’s gin first hit the market (1999), it stood out from the many London dry gins – that then dominated the scene – with its unusual cucumber and rose botanicals and opaque, apothecary-style bottle. With Orbium, it continues to break the rules. The name is a take on “orb”, the Latin word for circle, and the overall rounded flavour of the gin. Made by master distiller Lesley Gracie, Orbium is based on Hendrick’s Gin with additional extracts of quinine, wormwood and blue lotus blossom.

Quinine is the major ingredient found in tonic water, while wormwood is an ingredient in vermouth, a core element in the making of a gin martini. Blue lotus blossom is added to balance the overall flavour.

Orbium gin cocktails are available at Atlas, IB HQ, Madame Fan, Nutmeg & Clove, Origin Bar and Oxwell & Co, and for a limited time at 28HKS, Anti:dote, Gibson, Idlewild, Jigger & Pony, Manhattan, MO Bar, Skai, Tippling Club and Barbary Coast – each with its own unique expression. 

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