PROOF CREATIVE CELEBRATES A DECADE OF EXCELLENCE & NEWLY APPOINTED LEADER


ASIA PACIFIC, 9 MAY – This year marks a significant milestone for Proof Creative, the trailblazing beverage consultancy based in Singapore. As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, the company reflects on a decade of redefining the hospitality industry with innovative concepts and award-winning project executions.

As it celebrates this decade-long journey, Proof Creative is thrilled to announce the appointment of Bobby Carey as the new Creative Director. Having been a senior consultant with the team since 2019, Bobby has been instrumental in leading multiple award-winning projects, including the Virtu Four Seasons in Tokyo and the MO BAR at the Mandarin Oriental Singapore. His track record of innovative strategy and operational leadership positions him as the ideal successor to continue the legacy of excellence that Proof Creative is known for.

“Bobby’s fresh perspective and innovative approach are exactly what Proof Creative needs as we enter our next decade,” said Paul Broadbent, current CEO of Proof & Company. “His dynamic leadership will undoubtedly propel us forward, ensuring our continued presence at the forefront of the global beverage industry.”

Bobby Carey, Creative Director of Proof Creative

Virtu Four Seasons, Tokyo

Congratulations on your recent appointment as the Creative Director at Proof Creative! What are you most looking forward to in this leadership role, and how do you plan to make a unique impact in the world of beverage consultancy with your distinctive approach or expertise?

The most thrilling aspect of leading Proof Creative as the new Creative Director is the prospect of contributing to and enhancing the company’s illustrious tradition of excellence. This role offers an exciting platform to not only uphold the high standards set by predecessors like Paul Gabie and Jason Williams, but also propel the consultancy into new realms of creativity and innovation.

In terms of my personal contribution, I bring to the table a holistic approach that marries artistic creativity with strategic insight. My goal is to embed a unique story into each project, drawing on a wide range of cultural inspirations and cutting-edge trends to craft compelling and memorable experiences that resonate with our clients and their audiences. Leadership-wise, I aim to cultivate an environment of collaboration, inclusivity, and drive for results. My vision for Proof Creative is to establish an environment where everyone feels engaged, valued, and excited to produce their finest work, propelling us towards shared achievements and success.

How would you describe the collaborative dynamics within the Proof Creative team today, and how does it contribute to the success of your projects?

At the core of Proof Creative’s ethos is a deeply embedded culture of collaboration, which is crucial to our methodology and success. Our team operates as a cohesive, dynamic, and flexible unit with a base in Singapore and extensions in Australia, allowing us to effectively tackle projects across diverse global locales, from New York to New Zealand. This geographic diversity enriches our perspective and enables us to stay ahead of international trends and opportunities.

We’ve been fortunate to count industry icons like David Cordoba, Mimi Schofield, Joe Alessandroni, and Zdenek Kastanek among our team members, along with a host of other remarkable talents whose impacts have been fundamental, though too numerous to detail individually. Through a culture that promotes open communication, energetic brainstorming, and a unanimous pursuit of excellence, Proof Creative thrives.

With Proof Creative celebrating its 10th anniversary, what are the key milestones or achievements for the company in the coming years?

Central to our mission is the ambitious goal of redefining the global hospitality landscape through relentless innovation, comprehensive education programs, and an unyielding pursuit of excellence. As Proof Creative charts its course for the future, we aim to expand our global footprint, deepen collaborations with luxury hotel brands, and continuously push the boundaries of beverage consultancy innovation. We are steadfast in our commitment to evolving into a truly global consultancy, with recently established footholds in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, mainland China and Europe.

But our vision extends beyond geographical expansion. We remain resolute in our dedication to nurturing the next generation of industry talent. Through robust education and mentorship initiatives, we seek to cultivate a pipeline of skilled professionals who embody our values of creativity, excellence, and integrity.

Current & Previous Proof Creative Members

Proof Creative was founded by Paul Gabie, who set the stage for a new era in hospitality consultancy with a focus on creativity and strategic innovation. The consultancy’s journey began with its first venture, the Manhattan Bar project, which coincidentally is also celebrating its tenth anniversary. Now located within Conrad Singapore, Manhattan Bar has become a landmark in the world of fine drinking, known for its sophisticated atmosphere and a menu that features meticulously crafted cocktails. This project was just the beginning of what would become a decade-long path of pioneering achievements in the beverage sector.

In 2015, Proof Creative welcomed Jason Williams as its Creative Director, a pivotal appointment that propelled its projects forward until his departure in 2023. Williams, acclaimed for his visionary approach and profound industry acumen, played an instrumental role in steering Proof Creative through numerous successful years. His leadership extended to high-profile ventures, including the iconic Raffles Long Bar in Singapore. Under Williams’ guidance, Proof Creative expanded its portfolio with an array of noteworthy projects across the globe. Among these was the establishment of the Atlas Bar in Singapore, which garnered international acclaim for its grand Art Deco-inspired interiors and extensive gin collection. Furthermore, Williams spearheaded the consultancy’s decade-long partnership with multiple luxury hotel brands worldwide. This collaboration entailed the creation and revitalization of signature bars and bespoke cocktail menus, elevating the beverage offerings at prestigious locations globally and solidifying Proof Creative’s reputation as a trailblazer in global hospitality innovations.

Manhattan Bar, Conrad Singapore

Atlas Bar, Singapore

With a decade of remarkable accomplishments fueling our momentum and a future ripe with opportunity, Proof Creative remains at the forefront of setting the standard for excellence in the beverage consultancy arena.



PROOF CREATIVE BLENDS MUSIC & MIXOLOGY FOR THE TIMBER HOUSE'S COCKTAIL MENU


SOUTH KOREA, 18 APRIL – Proof Creative and The Timber House at Park Hyatt Seoul proudly unveil ‘The Jukebox’ a captivating cocktail menu that weaves together the storied past of jukeboxes and the vibrant palette of Korean flavours. Housed within The Timber House, known for its homage to traditional Korean Hanok architecture, ‘The Jukebox’ provides an exquisite setting for its symphonic and mixological exploration.

The inspiration behind ‘The Jukebox’ springs from Proof Creative’s ambition to transcend conventional cocktail offerings through a multisensory journey deeply rooted in the profound histories of music and sound. This bold endeavour seeks to take patrons on an unmatched exploratory adventure, celebrating the intertwined evolution of music technology and sound.

The Timber House, Park Hyatt Seoul

Structured to reflect the developmental stages of the jukebox, the menu progresses from the Gramophone era to the Turntable age, culminating in the High Fidelity sound period. Each section commemorates pivotal milestones in musical and cocktail innovation, with a dedicated emphasis on incorporating indigenous Korean liquors and flavours in a strikingly novel fashion. ‘The Jukebox’ prides itself on using local ingredients and inventive presentations to forge connections with guests through stories as diverse as the selections on a jukebox, all while drawing deeply from Korea’s vibrant culture and history.

Continuing the thematic journey, the ‘Juke Joints’ section showcases an array of martinis and highballs enriched with robust, woodsy spirits and intriguing flavours like timber, cedar, and sandalwood. This part of the menu captures the spirited essence of historic juke joints. Following this, the ‘Bass & Treble’ section invites guests to explore Korea’s rich alcoholic heritage with tastings of local gin, whisky, apple brandy, and the iconic Soju, thoughtfully paired with traditional Korean snacks for a comprehensive flavour experience that connects drinkers to Korea’s lively past and present.

Innovation Flight

Speed Selector

At the helm of this creative endeavour is the renowned local head bartender, Shin Tae-Hwan. With a distinguished career that includes stints at prestigious venues such as Tippling Club in Singapore and Charles H in Seoul, both members of the World’s 50 Best Bars list, Shin is perfectly positioned to redefine the cocktail experience. Under Shin’s expert guidance, ‘The Jukebox’ menu harmoniously blends the dynamic and vibrant spirit of Seoul, all while paying homage to the rich cultural and distilling heritage of Korea.

When discussing what excites him the most about the novel cocktails featured in ‘The Jukebox’ menu and their reflection of The Timber House’s unique character, Shin remarked, “The menu’s name encapsulates the identity of The Timber House, celebrating the confluence of music, food, and drink. This fusion, deeply embedded in our concept, enabled us to craft offerings we’re truly proud of. Despite bar culture’s Western roots, our aim was to infuse it with a distinctly Korean flavour, and I’m pleased to say we’ve achieved that.”

The Timber House Lounge

The Timber House DJ Booth

Discussing the partnership with Proof Creative, Shin emphasized the importance of the strong trust and mutual vision that marked their collaboration. Led by Andy, the Proof Creative team brought a profound knowledge of beverages and a remarkable understanding of Korean ingredients to the table. Their collective vision and creative direction played a critical role in translating the conceptual nuances into reality.

Looking ahead, Shin envisions ‘The Jukebox’ casting The Timber House as a beacon for unparalleled cocktails and redefining bar bites with imaginative pairings crafted by their talented culinary team. This synthesis of Korean-influenced cocktails with music, food, and drinks is set to captivate both locals and travellers.

This collaboration between Proof Creative and The Timber House not only showcases the rich tapestry of Korean bartending but also firmly positions it in the limelight on the international stage, heralding a new era for the global cocktail scene.


ABOUT THE TIMBER HOUSE, PARK HYATT SEOUL

Nestled within the lower level of Park Hyatt Seoul, The Timber House stands as one of Seoul’s premier hotel bars, renowned for its exceptional live music and diverse drink selection. Enhanced by elegant lighting and opulent furnishings, The Timber House exudes an ambiance that strikes the perfect balance between cozy romanticism and sophisticated refinement, making it an ideal choice for both intimate date nights and impressive business dinners. Adding to its allure are the captivating live performances by talented vocalists, enriching the nighttime experience from Monday through Saturday.

For more information, please visit Park Hyatt Seoul.


PROOF CREATIVE UNVEILS THE OPULENT QURA IN HONG KONG


HONG KONG, 16 JANUARY – The anticipation has been building, and the moment has finally arrived – Qura, a haven for connoisseurs of the world’s rarest and most exquisite spirits, has opened its doors in the heart of Hong Kong. This opulent and elegant venue promises a unique experience that marries vintage spirits, luxurious comfort, and a relaxed, residential-style atmosphere.

The Spirit Collection: A Journey through Time

At the heart of Qura lies a collection of spirits that tells a story of time, dedication, and exceptional craftsmanship. This curated selection of rare and vintage bottles has been expertly sourced from across the globe, with a meticulous focus on quality and provenance. Each bottle represents a piece of history, offering a glimpse into the world of spirits like no other.

In consultation with the Qura team, Proof Creative and Proof & Company (Hong Kong) embarked on a journey that spanned continents and crossed oceans to assemble a remarkable spirit collection. Scouring hidden corners and specialist distributors, seeking out treasures that would elevate the experience of spirit enthusiasts. The result is an assembly of spirits that include everything from vintage whiskies to aged rums and unique liqueurs, all waiting to be discovered by those with a keen eye for these unique gems.

Creating an Atmosphere of Elegance and Comfort

What sets Qura apart isn’t just its unrivaled collection but also its commitment to creating a refined yet comfortable ambiance. This venue aims to make guests feel as if they have stepped into a luxurious residence rather than a traditional bar.

Upon entering, guests are transported to a living room that exudes elegance and sophistication. The carefully chosen furnishings and decor create an inviting space where guests can relax and begin their journey through the world of exceptional spirits.

Moving through this expansive venue, guests will notice an intriguing design feature that lends an air of intimacy to the spacious surroundings. Despite the grandeur of the venue, it masterfully crafts distinct pockets of privacy, ensuring that every corner tells a unique story and that no guest ever feels lost in a crowd. This thoughtful layout creates an atmosphere where you would never think that Qura can host up to 120 people at full capacity.

As visitors move through the venue, they are greeted by a stunning bar counter that showcases the extensive spirit collection. The panoramic view of the Hong Kong skyline from the bar counter adds to the sense of grandeur and exclusivity. The dining room offers a perfect setting for indulging in fine cuisine paired with rare spirits. The carefully crafted menu complements the spirit collection, providing an experience that transcends ordinary dining.

For those who appreciate the art of cigar pairing, the cigar room at Qura is a sanctuary. It’s a place where guests can enjoy a fine cigar alongside their chosen spirit, creating moments of pure relaxation.

An Experience that Transcends Ordinary Dining and Drinking

The official opening of Qura marks the beginning of a new era for spirit aficionados in Hong Kong. A haven where timeless spirits converge with modern comfort, and where history seamlessly intertwines with luxury. With its unparalleled collection and residential-style ambiance, Qura aspires to be the go-to destination for those who savor the finer nuances of life.

Guests can expect to embark on a captivating journey through the realm of exceptional spirits, enveloped in the welcoming warmth and comfort of an exquisite home away from home. It’s more than a bar; it’s an invitation to indulge in the finest spirits the world has to offer.


ABOUT QURA BAR, REGENT HONG KONG

A feast for the senses with rare spirits and majestic views at Regent Hong Kong. Unforgettable evenings begin and end at Qura Bar with an eclectic sensory journey through a cosy lounge, a stunning bar, and an intimate cigar haven. Blending the glamour of a bygone era with Art Deco and vintage accents, Qura Bar is home to a curated collection of exceptional drinks, rare spirits, classic culinary delights, and electrifying harbour views.

For more information, please visit Regent Hong Kong.


PROOF CREATIVE PRESENTS A NOSTALGIC BOARD GAME CONCEPT WITH VÉR, KUALA LUMPUR


MALAYSIA, 12 OCTOBER – Vér, the spirited and pulsating cocktail bar nestled within Restaurant Nadodi in the Four Seasons Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, aims to revolutionize the Kuala Lumpur bar scene with its unique concept that celebrates South Indian and Sri Lankan history, culture, and flavours. Spearheading this creative endeavour is the talented Proof Creative team, who has skilfully brought the concept to life, capturing the essence of the region’s heritage in an innovative and playful manner.

At Vér, every element is meticulously crafted to provide an ultra-fine, progressive, and playful drinking experience that resonates with its South Indian and Sri Lankan roots. The menu itself is a work of art, inspired by the ancient game of Seven Stones. Proof Creative and Mash have ingeniously translated this traditional game into a captivating cocktail menu concept.

Nadodi, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Vér, a term meaning “roots” in Tamil, perfectly embodies the essence of the venue. It reveres the nomadic connection of Nadodi, which celebrates the rich culinary heritage and migration stories of South India and Sri Lanka. Through the Seven Stones cocktail menu, Vér delves deep into its origins, bringing to light the traditions, flavors, and narratives that make this region profoundly special.

The menu at Vér is a delightful journey reminiscent of a board game, encouraging guests to explore a world of discovery and nostalgia. Encased in a box that mirrors the charm of classic board games, the menu unfolds like a deck of cards, each one representing an original cocktail crafted exclusively for Vér. Each card introduces a captivating cocktail inspired by a plethora of elements from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, including childhood memories, games, sweets, music, fashion, celebrities, products, and historical moments.

Ver's Seven Stones Cocktail Menu

Named the Seven Stones cocktail menu, it stands as a tribute to the rich history, culture, and flavors of South India and Sri Lanka. Embracing the spirit of the game, guests can choose their role: Stone, Hitter, or Seeker. Stones embody cocktails inspired by historical games rooted in the region’s heritage. Throwers indulge in drinks infused with childhood treats, spices, and bites, evoking playful joy. Seekers savor funky concoctions blending cherished memories with a modern twist. The menu also boasts Nomadic Classics, reimagining traditional cocktails as if they originated from the land. Each section is meticulously crafted, reflecting different facets of the game and South Indian and Sri Lankan culture. It’s a journey, inviting guests to explore the region’s flavors and cultural richness.

At Vér, Proof Creative’s expertise and passion shine through in every menu detail. Their fusion of South Indian and Sri Lankan history and culture creates an immersive drinking experience, capturing the hearts and palates of every guest. The bar’s dedication to quality and craftsmanship is evident across the menu. They use only the finest, freshest ingredients and incorporate house-made components, ensuring a truly exceptional and distinctive drinking experience.

The cocktails are not just elegantly presented; they feature small colorful flourishes that make them both visually appealing and approachable, inviting patrons to reorder. The Seven Stones cocktail menu serves as a tribute to the past while embracing the present and future of hospitality. It not only delights the senses but also sparks conversations and fosters connections among guests.

Ver's Seven Stones Cocktail Menu

Proof Creative and the entire bar team at Vér have gone beyond merely concocting exceptional cocktails. They have meticulously designed an experience that embraces the universal human emotions of joy, nostalgia, and discovery. Using imaginative storytelling and inventive mixology, Vér crafts a compelling narrative that vividly embodies the essence of these distinctive landscapes. As guests dive into the menu, they find themselves transported to a realm where cherished childhood memories seamlessly merge with inventive drinks, evoking laughter, sparking conversations, and nurturing a deep sense of connection.


ABOUT VÉR – THE BAR AT NADODI KL

Cinnamon Group, renowned for their exceptional culinary ventures, continues to redefine Kuala Lumpur’s food scene with the launch of another distinctive and high-quality establishment. Their commitment to promoting the tastes and culture of lesser-known regions is commendable. At Vér – The Bar at Nadodi KL, Bar Manager Apurav and Mixologist Pavel showcase their inventive brilliance. Months of dedication and creativity have resulted in a menu featuring unique cocktails that seamlessly embody the spirit of this innovative venue.

For more information, please visit Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur.


EXPLORING THE INDUSTRY’S MOST CREATIVE JOB: HEAD OF ADVOCACY, PROOF CREATIVE


ASIA PACIFIC, 11 MAYCould you be our new Head of Advocacy?  Jason Williams is moving to new ventures and so we seek a new creative talent to spearhead this amazing consultancy arm, as Head of Advocacy Proof Creative. 

As the Head of Advocacy for Proof & Company’s consultancy arm, Jason “Widge” Williams has one of the most exciting and dynamic roles in the beverage industry. From creating new bar concepts to working on hotel development projects, his job is never dull. In this interview, we dive into his daily routine, career trajectory, and what it takes to succeed as a hospitality consultant.

Jason Williams

What does an ‘average’ (actually, not so average) workday look like?

If I had to describe my role in just five words, I would say that it is stimulating, diverse, extraordinary, fulfilling, and creative. From collaborating with top hotel brands to developing cutting-edge beverage solutions, no two days are the same.

My role goes beyond just developing creative beverage solutions. I also work closely with property owners and VPs at leading hotel brands, providing insights on strategy, business development, and everything in between. On select high-value projects, I am involved in the entire process, from layouts and cocktail menus to music briefs and financials.

For the daily happenings, it can be anything from team whiteboard sessions on a new drinking ritual for a global hotel brand, to work on BOH layouts for a rooftop bar in Bangkok. As part of the 28 HongKong Street leadership team, I also dedicate time to working on the business strategy, marketing efforts and people management.

 

How did you land the gig and how has it changed over the years?

 When I first landed the gig, I never imagined the amazing journey that lay ahead. I was given the opportunity to lead a bar and beverage consultancy embedded in our distribution business, a groundbreaking concept that our co-founders envisioned. With my transferable skills and experience in running beverage programs for a larger group in Sydney, I had the foundation to take the team to greater heights.

As the consultancy grew, so did our portfolio of clients and projects, giving me the chance to work on innovative and impactful initiatives that are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of cocktails and spirits. From collaborating with leading hotel brands to working on new bar concepts and the ’20 Pillars’ on select high-value projects, my days are never dull.

Being part of the Proof Creative and advocacy arm has also allowed me to contribute to the broader conversation around the beverage industry and its future. As we continue to innovate and pioneer new approaches, I’m excited to see where this journey takes the business and how our expert Proof Creative team can continue to make a positive impact in the industry.

Atlas Bar, Singapore

Is there one stand-out project that defined your career to date? 

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on many incredible projects, but one in particular stands out as a defining moment for me: Atlas. Working on this project was a dream come true, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the owners and operating team to bring the concept to life.

It was an honour to be a part of creating such a special place, and it truly shaped my approach to cocktail and bar design. The experience reminded me of the importance of taking risks, pushing boundaries, and trusting your instincts to create something truly unique and unforgettable.

 

How do you balance creative vision with practical considerations, budget, timeline, and more?

My main focus is ensuring client relationships to ensure that we, as a team, have a solid understanding of the client’s goals and objectives, which enables us to design solutions that are not only creative but also realistic, achievable, and aligned with their budget and timeline. Balancing these factors can be challenging, but we believe it’s essential to deliver exceptional results that exceed expectations.

Proof Creative Team

How do you stay up to date with industry trends and incorporate new ideas and technologies into your work?

As a part of an integrated business such as Proof & Company (spirits distributor, bar operator, consultancy), we are exposed to varying sides of our industry. I believe that staying abreast of industry trends and incorporating new ideas and technologies into our work is essential to create truly innovative solutions.

This means attending conferences and events, networking with other industry professionals, and regularly learning from the best – we go to a lot of bars! Our consultancy also aims to elevate the hotel bar experience by incorporating more disruptive ideas in that space.

 

What are the essential qualities of a successful Head of Advocacy, and how do you cultivate these qualities in yourself and your team?

I believe the essential qualities of a successful Head of Advocacy include a passion for exceptional creative drinking experiences, a passion for our industry, big-picture thinking, great communication skills, confidence, creative outside-the-box thinking, and exceptional client relationship management.

I continue to cultivate these qualities in myself and my team by promoting a culture of innovation, creativity, and collaboration, and by fostering an environment where everyone feels empowered to share their ideas and opinions.

 

Any other thoughts?

As I look back on my incredible journey of the past 8 years with Proof & Company and engage in conversations with potential candidates for my succession, a question keeps lingering in my mind: “Why am I leaving this role?” The truth is, it’s not an easy decision. Living abroad has been an amazing adventure, filled with unforgettable experiences, lifelong friendships, and…finding my wife!

However, the time has come for me to return to Australia, where I can focus on pursuing my business endeavours. While I will dearly miss the incredible moments and contributions to one of the world’s finest drinks companies, I am excited to embrace the next chapter of my life.



FROM BEHIND THE BAR: AN EVOLUTION OF COCKTAIL BARS


ASIA PACIFIC, 10 MAY – Imagine yourself transported back to the 1920s, a time of prohibition, speakeasies, and bootlegging. Prohibition had just been introduced, and bartenders had to get creative with their drinks to satisfy their patrons’ thirst for alcohol. They started experimenting with new ingredients, creating complex cocktails that became the hallmark of the speakeasy. Fast forward to the present, cocktail bars have come a long way since those prohibition-era speakeasies. Nowadays, mixology is an art form, and the cocktail bar has transformed into an immersive experience that engages all your senses. From personalized menus to theatrical service, every element of the modern cocktail bar is designed to create a unique and unforgettable experience for guests.

Nadodi's Kuala Lumpur, Bar Lounge

In recent years, the cocktail bar has undergone quite a transformation. This was accompanied by a newfound admiration for bartenders, who began to be viewed as passionate creatives intent on delivering unique experiences for their patrons. These passionate mixologists and ‘bar chefs’ draw in new imbibers looking for exciting novel experiences. More than just creating concoctions that will thrill, bars are going beyond to offer special and bespoke services that exceed those of their typical menu.

According to Jason Williams, Head of Advocacy, we may begin to see a rise in hybrid venues that combine the traditional cocktail bar with other forms of businesses, such as restaurants and cafes. These venues comprising parts of a cocktail bar, wine bar, and cafe may soon emerge to create an all-encompassing experience for customers. Not just in terms of drinks, but in innovation as well. For example, Singapore’s Stay Gold Flamingo has become a place to spend a day as a cafe and an evening at a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired, sophisticated restaurant bar.

Creative Associate Dezmond Ho offers an analogy that captures the spirit of this unique development: “Like a well-stocked book collection which has something to suit every reader, venues with a variety of bar concepts and styles can satisfy different demographics and preferences. With so many creative and fun drinking rituals to choose from, it is definitely a great time to be a part of this culture.”

Stay Gold Flamingo's Cafe

Stay Gold Flamingo's Cocktail Bar

Going beyond, Bar Consultant Andy Loudon highlights how cocktail programming has gone up a level. Traditionally, the hospitality industry was known for allowing guests a glimpse into a venue, but now, this has evolved to be much more than just a peek. They are looking for a more individualised touch, like being part of the family.

Loudon adds, “Having tailored programming gives the venue a chance to provide guests with interactive and theatrical experiences, like trolley services, martinis made right at the table, and gueridon service.”

The following phase of evolution presents itself when conventional menus of merely listing drinks are shifted to more imaginative ones with cocktails involving stories, progressive drinks, and a multi-sensory experience. Just a printed list of cocktails might be enough for some settings, but to please today’s increasingly discerning cocktail connoisseurs, much more is required. Charlie Ainsbury, Senior Bar Consultant, states that a bar menu is not only a list of drinks but also an entrance into its concept and identity. This showmanship negates boredom, a vital component that allows bartenders to bring storytelling and accoutrements that warrant a return visit.

The Art of Mahjong Menu

Think origami cocktail lists, pop-up book-style menus, and hand-illustrated pages that invite guests on a visual journey. The integration of modern technology adds another layer of excitement, whether it is a QR code that shares a recipe with guests or an AR (Augmented Reality) experience that brings the bar’s surroundings to life. The menu should be a feast for the eyes and a thrilling experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Proof Creative has put this idea to use in their consultancy projects. At Bar Trigona, sustainability and origin of ingredients are paramount; they use local farmers to source the fruits used in their cocktails, and then employ every part of the fruit, from fermentation to including the seeds in the paper for patrons to take home and grow.

It is also no surprise that customers today anticipate sustainability in their drinks. To highlight this further, ecoSPIRITS has joined forces with Rosewood to develop a collection of low-waste cocktails, using sustainable and upcycled ingredients. The two companies have joined forces across many luxury properties around the world, including London, United Kingdom; Hamilton, Bermuda; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur

ecoCOCKTAILS at Rosewood Hotels

The evolution of cocktail bars has truly been a journey filled with creativity, innovation, and transformation. What started as a humble place for working-class folks to enjoy a stiff drink has now become an immersive experience where mixology meets art, and customers can interact with bartenders to craft their own unique cocktails. The second golden age of fine drinking has ushered in personalized experiences and hybrid venues that combine traditional cocktail bars with other types of businesses, such as restaurants and coffee shops.

With sustainability and provenance being key considerations for many bars, the future looks bright for the cocktail industry. As new trends and technologies continue to emerge, we cannot wait to see what exciting new experiences cocktail bars will offer in the years to come. The only certainty is that the cocktail bar will continue to evolve, innovate, and surprise us.



PROOF CREATIVE CREATES AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE AT ANIBA, SINGAPORE


SINGAPORE, 9 FEBRUARY – Aniba is the reinvention of the best food and drinks from around the world. It is a reinterpretation of Middle Eastern cuisine laced with European style by Chef Meir Adoni. With his inspiration sourced from his globetrotting adventures, each dish and drink is a voyage across seas and continents.

From the second you enter, be it for a light meal, an aperitif, an evening feast, a Sunday brunch, or a lively night of fun, the darkly-lit entryway will glisten and immediately immerse you in a captivating combination of traditional Middle Eastern touches and modernity. The journey continues into the cocktail lounge, restaurant, open kitchen and private room, each bathed in atmospheric lighting and decked out with rich wood accents. This one-of-a-kind venue will take you on a flavour expedition, traversing various continents and tasting delicious dishes and cocktails.

Chef Adoni has crafted a cuisine that is rooted in his North African heritage, yet fused with the innovative culinary methods of the Middle East. By melding classic dining with his traditional cooking practices, he has cultivated a culinary style that seamlessly bridges the gap between Eastern and Western flavours. This harmonious play is marked by a warmth that is sure to invigorate the soul.

Proof Creative started to work on the collection in 2022, with Senior Bar Consultant Bobby Carey and Bar Consultant Andrew Loudon at the helm. Their processes included concept development, bar functional layout, OS&E curation, spirit curation, drink development, brand guidelines, outreach and programming and pre-opening assistance and training.

Andrew Loudon

“It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of such a unique concept such as Aniba. Blending the synergy between culinary and cocktail programs is something that I am incredibly passionate about, while also creating fine dining and fine drinking experiences for guests.

With Here I Come’, the cocktail menu concept, we seek to honor Chef Adoni’s culinary path right from his heritage to the modern day techniques now used in his approach to food. Customers will have the opportunity to travel through his story as they savour the distinct flavours in each cocktail.

King Pin

Songs of the Red Sea

Aniba’s ‘Here I Come’ cocktail menu, specially crafted to complement Chef Adoni’s multi-continental cuisine, comprises innovative drinks inspired by Far Eastern, North African, Mediterranean and Asian dishes. His devotion to perfecting each cocktail leads to him using the finest seasonal ingredients to mix up intriguing flavours, techniques, and styles, in an effort to pay homage to traditional and cutting-edge imbibing. Even the non-alcoholic drinks feature a selection of flavours from many countries and cultures, showcasing Chef Adoni’s multifaceted culinary approach. This is a celebration of true creative exploration.

The ‘Aniba Collection’ also boasts a range of the most unique spirits in Singapore. This ever-changing, living collection is exclusive to the venue and sure to captivate even the most experienced of spirit enthusiasts with an extensive selection of both old and new world spirits. The stunning wine selection includes a plethora of Kosher wines, with a particular focus on legendary wine houses of the Mediterranean.

At Aniba, guests can anticipate the unexpected – from food and beverage programs to operating hours. As the first fine-dining kosher restaurant in Singapore, they serve cuisine that abides by the Jewish Kashrut dietary laws and operates under rabbinical supervision. Their hours are tailored to Shabbat; they are closed from 5 pm on a Friday, open from 8 pm to 2 am on Saturdays and closed on Sundays and Mondays.

With a modern flair for Middle Eastern dining, a refined cocktail menu and an extensive range of spirits and wines, guests are guaranteed an all-day venue that meets all their needs. This immersive, upscale restaurant and bar promises to deliver an indulgent and unforgettable experience that transcends geographical boundaries.


ABOUT ANIBA

Aniba, the Hebrew phrase for ‘Here I Come’, is a reimagining of global cuisines, with a modern twist on Middle Eastern dishes. This extraordinary venture encompasses the concept of longing and was envisioned by celebrated Chef Meir Adoni, fuelled by his own wanderlust.

With the entrance to Aniba discreetly tucked away in Battery Road, one is sure to embark on a thrilling culinary adventure with Foragers, the group behind Miznon and North Miznon.

For more information, please visit Aniba.


HILTON APPOINTS PROOF CREATIVE TO CREATE UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCES FOR WALDORF ASTORIA HOTELS GLOBALLY


MCLEAN, Va., 17 November – With a focus on innovating and evolving for tomorrow’s traveller, Proof Creative, the award-winning bar and beverage consultancy of Proof & Company, Asia Pacific’s Leading Independent Spirits Company announced a partnership with Hilton, a global leader in hospitality, to reimagine the beverage experience across Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts Peacock Alley locations around the world.

Proof Creative will work alongside Hilton’s Global Food & Beverage and Waldorf Astoria Brand teams to create a timeless and memorable beverage ritual and elevated bar concept that celebrates the iconic brand and its landmark hotels and resorts. This partnership also marks Proof Creative’s expansion into the U.S. market.

Adam Crocini

“At Hilton, we are focused on elevating food and beverage experiences for guests and pride ourselves on identifying partners that are both cutting-edge and industry-leading to bring the most innovative ideas to our collection of iconic bars around the world.

We’re excited to match the creativity and esteem of Proof Creative with the precision and passion of our beverage experts to create a new ritual and revitalized bar concept that’s both memorable and distinctly Waldorf Astoria.”

Jason Williams

“Proof Creative has had a significant influence on this ‘Second Golden Age of Fine Drinking’ through its thoughtful bar consulting throughout Asia Pacific. We’ve collaborated on some remarkable bar projects, iconic hotels, and some of the world’s best bars, however few can compare to the opportunity to work on such a prestigious hotel re-opening such as Waldorf Astoria, in NYC.

As enthusiastic students of cocktail history, we have long admired and studied The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. We relish the opportunity to celebrate Waldorf tradition whilst evolving the brand’s experience with contemporary and engaging cocktail moments.”

This evolution of the brand experience, which is slated to be complete by early 2024, will reimagine the Peacock Alley guest experience and offerings. This includes a new, branded beverage ritual that presents a theatrical moment-in-time where guests engage with Peacock Alley and its luxurious storied past, as well as an elevated bar concept, inclusive of a review and refresh of Peacock Alley cocktail menus, glassware, lighting, ambience and more.

“Innovation in food and beverage has been at the core of Waldorf Astoria since the very beginning. The brand has been credited with the creation of hallmark dishes and cocktails which have become standards in the industry,” said Dino Michael, senior vice president and global category head, luxury brands, Hilton. “This new partnership also further captures our forward vision to bring only the best-in-class with offerings that leave an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of our guests.”

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm

The Waldorf Astoria brand began in New York City in 1893, redefining world-class hospitality excellence through the invention of 24-hour room service and daring culinary innovations of the times, including the Waldorf salad, Thousand Island dressing, red velvet cake, Robert “Bobby” Burns whiskey cocktail and the classic eggs Benedict. Today, the brand continues this tradition through distinctive dining experiences across the portfolio. From the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which features 11 unique dining concepts like Terra, where guests can dine among the treetops in one of seven bamboo nests, and The Rock, an intimate dining experience for 12 in a cave-like dining room built from Jordanian limestone to Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, which offers innovative dishes combined with proud Dutch heritage. In addition, the brand plays host to several Michelin-starred restaurants and James Beard Award-winning chefs, working with the biggest culinary stars in the industry.

Waldorf Astoria Bangkok

At the heart of every Waldorf Astoria is a tribute to the original and iconic Peacock Alley — the grand corridor connecting the original New York Waldorf Hotel to its sister, The Astoria — where the glamorous gathered to see and be seen and where dreamers gathered for inspiration. Today, each distinctive Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Resort offers a sophisticated modern reflection of that first 300-foot marble Peacock Alley. Whether serving as a bar, lounge, café, terrace, or some creative combination of spaces, Peacock Alley brings people together, creating a connection to its grand heritage and luxurious storied past. Serving as a testament is The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, published in 2016 by former bar manager Frank Caiafa from the Waldorf Astoria New York. The essential guide offers a read on the history, recipes, and how-to creations of the world’s greatest cocktails from the legendary Peacock Alley and the author’s own awarding-winning creations like the Cole Porter, an enhanced whiskey sour rendition named for the famous Waldorf Astoria resident himself.

To learn more, visit Stories.Hilton.com/WaldorfAstoria or Proof & Company. To start planning 2023 travel, visit Hilton.com.


ABOUT HILTON

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising more than 7,000 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 123 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for five consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the nearly 146 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can’t buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.

 

ABOUT WALDORF ASTORIA HOTELS & RESORTS

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts is a portfolio of more than 30 iconic properties that creates a unique sense of place with a relentless commitment to elegant service, one-of-a-kind experiences and culinary expertise in landmark destinations around the world. Inspired by their timeless environments and sincerely elegant service, Waldorf Astoria hotels deliver an effortless experience seamlessly, creating a true sense of place for guests through stunning architectural features, brand rituals, the famous Peacock Alley, refined art collections and elevated in-room amenities. In addition to the brand’s world-class hotel offerings, Waldorf Astoria boasts a global residential portfolio that provides the comfort of a private home combined with unsurpassed amenities and high-touch service. Waldorf Astoria is part of Hilton, a leading global hospitality company. Experience an unforgettable stay at Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts by booking at waldorfastoria.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts at stories.hilton.com/waldorfastoria, and follow the brand on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


FROM BEHIND THE BAR: WORD FROM WIDGE


ASIA PACIFIC, 13 OCTOBER – Not many people in our industry can say they have their face on a bottle of gin, yet the award-winning Australian bartender Jason ‘Widge’ Williams can. Having been around gin nearly his entire life, we tap into our Head of Advocacy’s love affair with all things gin and how his face landed on the packaging of one of Asia’s favourite craft gins.

A young 13-year-old Williams picked up the nickname ‘Widge’ when he first dipped his toes into the hospitality industry, washing dishes at a local pizza shop. The nickname stuck with him as he progressed through the bar industry, riding the wave of the early 2000s cocktail scene, falling in love with the creativity, history and social dynamism that great drinks could bring.

“There is something absolutely magical and rewarding when combining ingredients, and flavours and introducing guests to new drinking experiences,” Williams says.

Shaking and stirring his way into the world of extraordinary spirits, Williams won the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition, which took him around the globe, exploring gin distilleries – and that was when he properly fell in love with the category.

“I’ve spent a decade visiting distilleries and I’ll never not miss the heady, spicy smell that just hits your nose once you’ve opened the distillery doors. It is hard to not love a genuinely handcrafted product. From the selection of natural ingredients, sourcing the best botanicals, and weighing by hand – it is extremely hard to totally automate or digitalise the gin business. It’s a hand-touched process, and you don’t get it in many other mainstream other spirits categories.”

To fall for gin is to embark upon a lengthy journey. Before collaboration was a norm in the spirits industry, Williams went on to open a gin speciality bar with 80 gins in Sydney, The Rook and was the first to collaborate with Four Pillars, one of the biggest Australian gin brands, in co-creating the Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin.

By now known as the ‘gin guy’, Williams further enhanced his reputation when he arrived in Singapore and was part of the team to launch the opulent ATLAS Bar with Proof & Company. Heavily focused on the art deco period, the bar celebrates gin with a carefully curated collection of over 1,300 gins including an Archie Rose Distilling Co. collaboration and a permanent St George’s Distillers ATLAS Orange Gin. From this point, Williams became a bonafide gin aficionado; running the Juniper Society and became the first person from Singapore to be inducted into the London Gin Guild. Not surprisingly, the title Master of Gin at ATLAS was bestowed to Williams.

So how did Widges Gin come about?

“Proof & Company was working on True Believers range of brands. The whole ethos of True Believers is to bring world-class spirits to the mainstream by promoting independent drinking, working with world-class distillers and being utterly transparent so that we can bring to drinkers a spirit valuable to the modern-day bartender at a competitive price point.

Spencer Fornhart, one of our founders, recognised my experience and reputation for gin education and advancement and tapped me to work on the developing of our gin to grace the bars of Asia Pacific. I was recruited into this new exciting product launch.”

“The first thing I thought of was, “What does the bartender actually need, especially when there are already a plethora of amazing gins?” This gin has to really work in a G&T and a dry gin martini.”

The botanical perspective was considered next. For this, he gravitated towards a classic backbone of juniper and dry herbs, but they loved the idea of elevated citrus. Williams loves that citrus element of gin in sour-family cocktails such as the White Lady and Aviation – both done with an orange liqueur. “Orange is also a very dominant character in a negroni and in a stirred cocktail like a Hanky Panky and has a lot of uses: tea, cleaners, repellent, cosmetics, cooking,” says Williams. “It’s like vanilla in the cocktail world. I then considered the things I love that will bring out the orange and juniper – cardamom”.

They took this brief to Langley in the UK and perfected the recipe — it was now a proper gin, with a big whack of orange and the firm suggestion of cardamom. Now, their gin just needed a brand.

“When Spencer unveiled the branding and mock-up – I swear, I was ambushed,” Williams says. “My first thought was that he was joking. I expected a couple of options and directions, but how surreal it was when I saw a caricature of my face and ‘Widges Gin’ on the label.

“Then again, knowing it was Spencer, it’s pretty set in stone,” laughs Williams.

Forhart explains that the nickname ‘Widge’ is unique and could be interpreted as old-world English, eccentric in kind of a way, fitting into the trend of quirky names from other gin brands. Today, the word ‘Widges’ is more than just a nickname.

As Williams collaborates with different gin brands in Proof Creative to create speciality gin bars and builds the line extension for True Believers, what’s left is his most ambitious gin idea to date: to create a gin with ingredients from the Antarctic.

“I personally adore gins that represent their places of origin. Like how Terai uses local spices sourced from Asia’s largest spice market to Vietnamese gins with ingredients foraged by native tribes in the countries’ jungle. The spiritual respect for spices and botanicals representing where they (the gins) come from is highly admirable. The layers from these gins will be sure to create the most iconic gin cocktails. I haven’t heard of a gin coming from the Antarctic and maybe there is something growing there that we can use in a gin!”


ABOUT WIDGES GIN

Widges London Dry Gin is a genuine London Dry Gin distilled by some of the world’s most experienced gin distillers at Langley Gin Distillery in England. Jason ‘Widge’ Williams developed this flavour profile with the craft bartender and the world’s greatest gin drinks in mind. The harmony of piney juniper, stewed coriander seed, cardamom and bright orange makes Widges Gin an elevated London Dry Gin beloved by bar folks.

For more information, please visit True Believers.


PROOF CREATIVE ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST MAJOR PROJECT IN EUROPE


GENEVA, 22 AUGUST – Geneva will be home to the first Proof Creative project in continental Europe with the opening of Silverback slated for spring of 2023.

Construction is underway on this highly anticipated venue, located inside a stunning 16th-century building in the Old Town of Geneva. The Old Town or “Vieille Ville”, is an ancient maze of cobblestone-lined streets and picturesque squares, filled with art galleries, and historical sights telling the stories of Geneva’s long and colourful history. Silverback is conveniently located in the heart of the historical centre, just a short stroll from the city’s central shopping district and just a stone’s throw from popular outdoor cafes and restaurants. This archaeological treasure is being restored and provides the interior backdrop to the dual-level bar.

Geneva's Old Town, Switzerland

Silverback will house a monumental back bar of spirits with a special focus on Scotch Whisky, Bourbon, Rye, and whiskies of the world including boutique bottlings found in non-traditional whisky-making countries such as Germany, Sweden and of course Switzerland. It will be supported by a sharp list of European wines, high-quality beers and an inspired offering of seasonal cocktails aimed to provide a cocktail for any palate.

“My dream for Silverback is to indulge clients in a unique atmosphere of historical significance whilst offering 500 fabulous whiskies as well as great live music,” says Jean Michel Aubry, the founder of the project. Director of Operations, Roderick Boerma, adds, “This will be a one-of-a-kind project housing an enormous amount of energy. The excitement of being able to do what you love in this historical venue is just incomparable.”

Charlie Ainsbury, Senior Bar Consultant at Proof Creative

“We can see this bar being the ambassador for fine, convivial drinking in Geneva. We want Silverback to be the go-to for anyone looking for a good time in Geneva. A place where the locals, as well as visitors, can freely pull up a barstool to talk to the friendly bartenders or take a cosy banquette and feel like they have their own little corner of Geneva.

Geneva has incredible potential to be a bar destination. It’s an international city with many global companies calling it home so the population is there. Its proximity to other great cocktail cities like Paris and Zurich as well as all its neighbouring countries makes it an ideal weekend destination too. We are very much looking forward to contributing to the F&B landscape here.”

The floor below, in the centuries-old cellars of the building, will house the darker, and seductive sibling of Silverback that will come alive with a revolving live music program featuring local and international musicians. The drinks offering of Silverback will be extended to the floor below with an additional focus on Champagne.

Silverback will share the ground floor of this magnificent edifice with two other venues; a bright, contemporary neighbourhood wine bar as well as a yet-to-be-named restaurant next door, occupying the final tenancy. This multi-venue building will cement itself as a must-visit destination for the city.

Silverback's Work in Progress

Proof Creative’s involvement began in late 2021 and will implement its renowned ’20 Pillar’ creative process which includes early conceptual development, bar functional layout, major equipment sourcing, OS&E curation, spirits curation, drinks development and pre-opening support and training.

The Proof Creative team is busy at work bringing Silverback to life so stay tuned for more on this next year.