Crafting Sustainability in Mixology at Hong Kong’s Penicillin

Crafting Sustainability in Mixology at Hong Kong’s Penicillin

Agung Prabowo

Agung Prabowo, co-founder of the acclaimed Penicillin bar in Hong Kong, shares his journey into mixology, the challenges of sustainable bartending and his excitement for the Ubud Food Festival. Discover how his innovative approach to cocktail creation is setting new standards in the industry.


E: How did you first get into the world of mixology?

A: Long story short, after 22 years working as bartender, I got the chance to intern in a kitchen. From there I learned about flavour combinations and culinary techniques.

E: What inspired you to approach mixology from the sustainability angle?

Our Final Warning

A: Bartenders and mixologists are increasingly drawn to approaching mixology from a sustainability angle due to a variety of compelling factors. Firstly, sustainability in mixology offers an avenue for creativity and innovation, challenging professionals to craft unique cocktails using limited resources, surplus ingredients and inventive techniques. This approach not only fosters creativity but also pushes boundaries in the industry. Chefs and mixologists are increasingly embracing sustainability in mixology due to the opportunities for creativity, environmental consciousness, guests demand, industry trends and personal fulfilment that it offers. By prioritising sustainability in our craft, professionals can create innovative and environmentally friendly cocktails while contributing to a more sustainable food and beverage industry.

E: What do you think is the biggest challenge to keeping things sustainable?

A: Well, it is always challenging in everyday life especially in Hong Kong. The biggest challenge in keeping things sustainable in restaurants or bars is often balancing sustainability with operational efficiency and cost considerations. This includes managing costs, meeting changing consumer preferences, ensuring a sustainable supply chain, effective waste management, staff training, regulatory compliance and fostering awareness about sustainability.

E: You are one of the much-anticipated line-up of this year’s Ubud Food Festival (UFF). What are you going to bring to the festival and what are you aiming for with your involvement in this year’s UFF?

A: Yes, my team and I can’t wait to be in UFF this year and looking forward to meeting the other Indonesian industry leaders and peers. We will be introducing and sharing the concept of Penicillin bar to UFF attendees. We also want to let the others knows how important sustainability is in our industry, starting with the bar. Small things matter. Overall, prioritising sustainability in restaurants or bars is not only beneficial for the environment and society but also for the business itself in terms of customer satisfaction, cost savings, regulatory compliance and long-term viability.

E: Penicillin has been on the list of the world’s best for some time now. What is the most popular cocktail and the secret to keeping patrons coming to your bar?

A: We always want to create a unique and experimental cocktail list at Penicillin. Every cocktail has a very different taste, flavour and texture with a lot of ingredients in the glass. It’s all about the flavour combinations, we experiment with a lot of laboratory gadget and wild fermenting products, as well as adopting culinary techniques on our preparation process. Most of the guests come back for The Original by Agung Prabowo flavour combination and of course, our team members who make Penicillin different than other bars.

E: As a bartender, what is your go-to drink?

A: I normally don’t drink often while working or when I’m in Hong Kong and not travelling. But when I have a chance, a bottle of rosé wine is my go-to drink. For cocktail, I like bourbon highball with lemon peels.

E: Lastly, any plans on opening Penicillin in your home country?

A: Yes, as Indonesian I would love to open something in my home country. However, maybe not in the nearest future, as we still need to learn about the market and make Penicillin in Hong Kong even stronger.

*Catch Agung Prabowo at Ubud Food Festival events:
Food for Thought – Barside Chat with Agung & Laura Prabowo
1 June 2024
Indus Restaurant

Special Event – World 50’s Best Bar Penicillin Takeover at Ambar Ubud Bar
31 May 2024
Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve


Amber Lodge
23 Hollywood Road, Central
Hong Kong
T: (+852) 98807995
IG: @penicillin_bar