ASIA PACIFIC, 13 JULY – In the world of rum, each bottle’s story is as rich and complex as the spirit itself. Beyond flavours and aromas, a deeper narrative emerges from local ingredients, traditions, histories, and environments. This World Rum Day, we explore how these elements shape the identities of distinctive rum brands. By examining terroir and origin, we uncover how Husk Rum, Ron Matusalem, Canerock, and Planteray Rum harness their cultural and geographical heritage to create extraordinary spirits.

The Essence of Barbados

Planteray Rum captures the complexity of Barbados, the birthplace of rum, and stands as a tribute to the island’s rich history and vibrant culture. It offers profound insights into Barbados’ multifaceted traditions. Known for its sophisticated blend of pot and column stills, Barbados showcases a meticulous production process that begins with the fermentation of molasses and culminates in the final distillation.. The diversity of Planteray’s offerings, ranging from the Grand Reserve Rum to the XO 20th Anniversary Rum, highlights the collaborative artistry between the Master Distiller and Master Blender. Each bottle narrates a unique story, revealing subtle nuances that underscore their expertise and passion.

“We’re always drawing inspiration from our surroundings”, explains the brand. “The idea for Planteray Cut & Dry emerged from seeing the piles of coconuts sold by hawkers along the roadside. We knew that the creamy texture of coconuts would pair perfectly with our rich and indulgent rum.”

A Jamaican Heritage

As part of the esteemed Maison Ferrand family, Canerock Rum exemplifies Jamaica’s rich distilling heritage. Crafted through the expertise of two historic distilleries—Clarendon and Long Pond—Canerock Rum stands out for its exceptional pot still rums and vibrant fermentations. These distilleries lay the groundwork for Canerock Rum’s foundational excellence. The craft of Canerock Rum doesn’t stop there. The dedicated team expertly ages and blends the rum with natural ingredients like vanilla, coconut, and ginger, elevating its distinct flavour profile.

“Inspired by the abundant fruits around us and the deep distilling expertise of Jamaica, we were driven to create this truly unique Jamaican product. Canerock Rum embodies the passion and expertise of our team, both in Jamaica and beyond. The turtle symbol, inspired by the native Hawksbill Sea Turtle, signifies our commitment to authenticity and excellence”, the team at Maison Ferrand shares.

The Cuban Tradition

On the same side of the globe, Ron Matusalem, established in 1872 in Santiago de Cuba and now crafted in the Dominican Republic, retains its Cuban essence thanks to similar weather conditions and terroir. Utilising the original secret formula and adhering to the rigorous standards set by its founders 150 years ago, Ron Matusalem’s widespread presence in over 70 countries highlights its exceptional quality.

Different regions contribute a diverse array of traditional and artisanal techniques to rum production, each reflecting the unique craftsmanship of its origin. In 1872, the brand introduced the Solera aging system—a method initially employed in Sherry and brandy production—revolutionising the rum industry. Through a careful selection of premium woods and blends, Ron Matusalem believes that elegance is timeless, a legacy passed down from generation to generation.

“We have been masterfully developing this aging technique for over a century. Our mission is to pioneer the art of timeless good taste, offering our consumers a super-premium experience with a trustworthy brand that has 150 years of savoir-faire”, elaborates Lara Pac, Global Marketing and Communications Director.

An Australian Innovation

At Husk Rum, provenance is all about the people and the place. Inspired by renowned rum-producing regions like Martinique, they are innovating a style previously unseen in Australia—cane juice rum. What sets Husk Rum apart is its use of local cane varieties—specifically, four to five types chosen for their exceptional drinking qualities rather than their sugar output. These are grown on the Husk Farm, which benefits from a unique subtropical climate and environmentally conscious farming practices. Instead of relying on imported US ex-bourbon barrels, Husk Rum employs ex-Australian wine barrels for aging. Coupled with Australia’s variable weather conditions, the result is a dynamic aging process.

 “Unlike the open fermentation common in the Caribbean, we use jacketed beer fermenters for a longer, slower fermentation process. We stay true to traditional principles by finishing our rum with no added sugars or colours and using non-chill filtration to maximise flavour retention”, illustrates Harriet Messenger, Marketing Manager. This meticulous process yields a distinctive and rich flavour profile throughout the Husk Rum range.

The Future of Rum

Rum brands are continually innovating around the concept of terroir, and their forward-looking strategies promise to enhance the rum experience while shaping its future trajectory. They foresee sustained growth towards premiumisation, driven by a discerning clientele eager to explore the diverse range of rum offerings.

For instance, Ron Matusalem envisions a future that places the consumer at the centre. They aim to cater to an informed, demanding audience that values authenticity and substantive brand narratives. Their Positive Luxury Certification underscores their commitment to sustainability and high standards, aligning with the evolving expectations of their customers. Similarly, Husk Rum is committed to enhancing the reputation of Australian rum through their Australian Cultivated Rum (ACR) trademark. This initiative ensures quality and transparency, setting a benchmark for other Australian distillers and elevating the global perception of Australian rum.

From the vibrant landscapes of Barbados to the iconic distilleries of Jamaica, the storied craftsmanship of Cuban tradition, and the innovative approach of Australian cane juice rum, our extraordinary rum partners explore terroir and adapt to evolving consumer preferences. Their innovative strides are poised to lead us into an inspiring future. With a steadfast dedication to quality and authenticity, these distilleries are not only crafting spirits but also defining the essence of rum itself. Here’s to embracing a rum state of mind in the years ahead—cheers!


ASIA PACIFIC, 8 JUNE – Gin, traditionally celebrated for its juniper-forward taste, has taken an exciting turn with the introduction of bold, vibrant flavours, capturing the attention of gin enthusiasts worldwide. By infusing an array of botanicals, fruits, herbs, spices, and even wines or vermouth, this expanded range of flavoured gins offers unique and diverse taste profiles. From fruity and floral to spicy and herbal, the flavoured gin category showcases the global distilling community’s commitment to creativity and innovation.

Roots Rosso Pinot Noir Gin

Distilleries around the globe are contributing their distinctive touches to the diverse landscape of flavoured gin. For instance, Brass Lion Distillery, under the expert guidance of Managing Director Jamie Koh, infuses Southeast Asian flavours into their creations, offering gins like Butterfly Pea and Pearl Jasmine. These gins are not mere beverages, but rich cultural narratives captured in a bottle. Similarly, Ben Leggett of Elemental Distillers harnesses local New Zealand ingredients, including organic pinot noir wine, to craft Roots Rosso Pinot Noir Gin, perfect for enhancing cocktails like the fortified Negroni. And, over in the lush landscapes of Yunnan, Fraser Kennedy from Shangri-La Youyun Distilling Company utilises extraordinary local strawberries to create The Rambler Gin’s Sunkissed Strawberry Gin.

The rising popularity of flavoured gins may also indicate a broader shift in consumer tastes, emphasising the demand for innovation and variety in the world of spirits. “Not only do they (flavoured gins) create more opportunities for innovative new cocktails, but they also cater to a variety of palates,” observes Koh. Harriet Messenger from Husk Distillery agrees on how flavoured gin provides an extra dimension to play with, which extends the creativity of the distiller and the bartender even further.  “Like with all things there are good and bad examples of flavoured gin, but when it’s done well, it’s really exciting and a true expression of craftsmanship”, states the Marketing Manager.

Brass Lion Distillery's Pearl Jasmine Gin

The Rambler Gin's Sunkissed Strawberry Gin

Creating a well-balanced, flavoured gin requires a delicate blend of skill, creativity, and science. Distillers encounter various hurdles in their quest to craft the perfect gin, with challenges ranging from perfecting the botanical mix to maintaining the natural essence of fruits for lasting freshness and vitality. “Our challenge when creating our gins, is fine-tuning the amount of each botanical and mindfully incorporating the Southeast Asian flavours we love – many of which have rich and intense flavours which could easily throw off the balance of the gin – to achieve the precise flavour profile we desire,” explains Koh.

The journey of Ink Gin‘s Bitter Orange, a creation by Husk Distillery conceived with the Negroni cocktail in mind, showcases similar hurdles. Messenger reflects, “Incorporating bitter orange was a significant challenge due to its complex, multifaceted flavour that makes it a perfect match for cocktails like Negronis and Spritzes. Our struggle was to capture the essence and bitterness of the fruit while still ensuring it tastes beautiful.”

Preserving the fruit’s freshness and vibrancy is another complex aspect for The Rambler Gin. “This led us to our small batch production method, where we rest strawberries in the new-make spirit and gently press them to extract their juice. Similar to winemaking, we then undergo a series of settling and maturation processes to ensure the fruit’s character is preserved and the gin remains balanced,” Kennedy explains.

Beginning with a clear vision of the desired flavour and aroma is foundational. Achieving the perfect texture, balance, and lasting impression on the palate is crucial, Leggett adds, highlighting the importance of setting benchmarks for success.

Maison Ferrand's Citadelle Rouge Gin

Husk Distillery's Ink Bitter Orange Gin

In crafting flavoured gins, authenticity and the integrity of flavour are of utmost importance. A shining example of this commitment is Maison Ferrand’s Citadelle Rouge, which is made using 100% natural botanicals, while embodying the exquisite French distillation methods without relying on artificial sweeteners or additives. “Every ingredient, including the juniper berries grown beside our distillery in the Cognac region, attests to our dedication to authenticity and French heritage”, Maylis Berger, Senior Brand Manager of Maison Ferrand, proudly states.

Echoing the importance of natural ingredients, Kennedy champions the use of real fruits and traditional distilling techniques. He encourages enthusiasts to explore high-quality spirits that embody true craftsmanship and authenticity, “Don’t let a bad experience with these candy sweet, artificially flavoured, and coloured drinks ruin it for you! Look out for a locally produced flavoured gin, made with real fruits and just a touch of love.”

As we witness the flourishing diversity within the flavoured gin category, it’s clear that this segment of the spirit world offers something unique for every palate, celebrating the artistry and craftsmanship that define this exciting chapter in gin’s storied history. And Proof & Company continues to proudly collaborate with these distilleries, which consistently innovate, enchant, and signify a thrilling new chapter in the long and fascinating history of gin.


AUSTRALIA, 28 MARCH – As advocates of extraordinary spirits, Proof & Company proudly expands its Australian portfolio through a strategic partnership with Husk Distillers, Australia’s very first cane juice rum distillery. Nestled in the lush Northern Rivers of New South Wales near the town of Tumbulgum, Husk epitomises the “farm to bottle” ethos, making Husk an ideal fit for Proof & Company’s mission to elevate local spirits.

Husk Rum Range

As of 1st May, Proof & Company proudly assumes exclusive distributorship for Husk’s esteemed range of spirits, including their diverse and unique Australian rums and the iconic Ink Gin. Leveraging Proof & Company’s expansive network and brand-building capabilities, this partnership will capitalise on Husk’s unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation in craft spirit distillation.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Husk Distillers and cannot wait to bring their exciting portfolio to our markets across APAC. As someone who grew up in the Tweed Valley, mere steps away from the distillery, this place holds profound significance for me with fond memories of the region’s vibrant sugar cane production, it’s such a special place,” says Damian Kaehler, General Manager of Proof & Company Australasia.

“Paul and Mandy have built two amazing brands in Ink Gin and Husk Rum, both representing the very best of the local area and we can’t wait to cultivate their story in our markets. Their ethos tightly aligns with ours, with independent craft distilling and sustainability, from farm to bottle, the introduction of their portfolio into the ecoSPIRITS programme will further support this mission.”

Paul Messenger, Founder & CEO of Husk Distillers

“Starting life in a small shed at Husk Farm in 2012 it took more than 3 years before we were ready to offer our first bottles of Ink Gin for sale in June 2015. Later that year we released our first barrel of Husk rum. Since then, we’ve sold over a million bottles and now, after almost 9 years distributing our brands, we are thrilled to be partnering with Proof & Company to share our story and our liquid, enriching consumer experiences and elevating social occasions across the country. We are very impressed with the Proof & Company team and business model, and we share a passion and belief that together we can make great things happen.”

At the core of Husk Distillers’ narrative lies the pursuit for authenticity and distinction, driven by founder Paul Messenger’s transformative Caribbean expedition in 2009. Amidst the lush landscapes, the bars and distilleries of Martinique, Messenger encountered rhum agricole – a revelation that would inspire a new style of Australian rum. The raw, terroir-driven ethos of fresh cane juice rum has driven Husk on a pioneering journey in Australian rum production that continues to this day. Embracing the essence of their Northern Rivers volcanic terroir, Husk introduced a groundbreaking approach, crafting rum from freshly pressed cane juice grown on their own farm. This commitment to place, quality and authenticity is ultimately reflected in the Australian Cultivated Rum (ACR) mark, a geographic rules-based accreditation pioneered by Husk to protect and promote pure, single-estate Australian cane juice rums in a manner similar to the European system of Geographic Indicators.

In a parallel pursuit of innovation and a spirit of rebellion, Messenger’s exploration of exotic botanicals led to a serendipitous encounter with a curious flower. What followed was three years of experiments in a farm shed that culminated in the launch of the world’s first butterfly pea infused gin winning the 2016 Australian Drinks Industry Award for Best Innovation in Spirits and inspiring a colour revolution in the gin category.

Husk Distillery, Northern New South Wales

Ink Gin Range

Husk Farm

Now, as Husk Distillers joins forces with Proof & Company, a new chapter unfolds in both brands’ narrative. Together, they aspire to elevate the Australian spirits landscape, sharing Husk’s exceptional portfolio of farm-to-bottle spirits with enthusiasts across the Asia Pacific region. With Husk, Proof & Company is poised to enrich consumer experiences and cultivate a deeper appreciation for Australia’s extraordinary spirits.


Husk Distillers is renowned as Australia’s first and foremost farm-to-bottle rum distillery and has become the country’s largest rum exporter. For over 12 years, Husk has led the charge in pioneering a distinctive style of Australian rum. Situated amidst the stunning 150-acre Messenger-Perkins family farm in the historic Tweed Valley of Northern New South Wales, Husk Farm serves as the perfect backdrop for the creation of this new style of Australian rum.

Utilising freshly harvested sugar cane grown and milled on-site, Husk Rum embodies sustainability and strives to encapsulate the unique terroir of the region within each bottle. Every year, the elements of geology, soil, water and climate culminate in a seasonal harvest of single estate sugar cane to yield a diverse selection of Australian sipping and mixing rums that are guaranteed to challenge your perception of rum.

In addition to their acclaimed rum offerings, Husk Distillers also produce the multi-award-winning Ink Gin. Ink Gin seeks to capture the essence of nature in every bottle, reflecting Husk’s commitment to excellence and innovation.

For more information, please visit Husk Distillers.

Read about Husk Rum Story.


ASIA PACIFIC, 21 MARCH – To mark World Vermouth Day (21 March), we embark on an explorative journey with some of APAC’s most accomplished bartenders and their favoured brand Mancino Vermouth; celebrated for its unparalleled quality and distinct flavour profile, this exceptional fortified wine, crafted with an artisanal blend of select botanicals, strikes a flawless balance between sweetness, bitterness, and aromatic richness.

These expert mixologists are not merely using Mancino Vermouth; they are reinventing it, infusing traditional cocktails with innovative twists that captivate and intrigue. Join us as we traverse the Asia-Pacific bar landscape, discovering the inventive ways in which Mancino Vermouth is being celebrated and transformed.

According to Sam, Head Bartender at Never Never Distillery Door, Mancino Vermouth’s adaptability is unparalleled, offering limitless possibilities for concocting bar beverages, especially in their martinis. Andrea Marseglia, Co-Owner and Bartender at Bar Teresa, agrees that Mancino Vermouth is a universally adaptable beverage suitable for almost any cocktail. Marseglia’s team takes pride in crafting a refreshing sour cocktail with Mancino Vermouth Bianco Ambrato that captures the essence of summer with its lower alcohol volume and dynamic taste profile.

Meanwhile, Simone Rossi, Director of Bars at Rosewood Hong Kong, cherishes the endless possibilities that this extraordinary spirit presents. Each bottle in the Mancino Vermouth’s range can be savoured alone, with a splash of soda, or used as a key ingredient in traditional cocktails, adding a sophisticated touch. Rossi’s personal favourite? “The Chinato with heavy rich Barbera d’asti which making it very juicy.”, he chuckles.

Never Never Distilling Co.'s Oh Beehave

Bar Teresa's Wood Sorrel Sour

DarkSide's Martini VS Vesper

The allure of Mancino Vermouth’s delicate and multifaceted layered taste profile has also captivated mixologists. The range’s masterful manipulation of its unique qualities has resulted in cocktails that transcend the boundaries of mere enjoyment. One such admirer of Mancino Vermouth is Claudio Bedini, a seasoned enthusiast at Sammy Junior. He champions its aromatic complexity and extols its adaptability in accentuating both citrus-forward aperitivos like Negroni and Mandaricano, as well as in softer, dark spirit-infused drinks such as a Manhattan or a Vieux Carre.

At the prestigious Manhattan Bar in Singapore, Head Bartender Zana Möhlmann, capitalizes on the unique taste of Mancino Vermouth in their famed Barrel Aged Manhattan, matured in fresh American oak barrels for two months. The essential ingredient of this classic cocktail, Mancino Vermouth Rosso, imparts a profound character and sophistication that elevates each sip to exquisite standards.

Sammy Junior's Mandaricano

Manhattan Bar's The Manhattan

Mancino Vermouth has gained widespread acclaim for its authentic Italian character and has become a beloved symbol of Italian culture. At Bar Conte, Mancino Vermouth is not just admired but celebrated as a journey of Italian sophistication. Bartender Enzo Tana, is particularly charmed by Mancino’s prized Premium Negroni Rinomato, a beloved staple for guests. Proprietor Raffaele Lombardi underscores the diverse appeal and lasting allure of Mancino Vermouth, which is evident in the exquisite cocktails crafted with this revered spirit. “I love it all year round,” he enthuses.

Embracing a traditional perspective on vermouth, Bartender George at Before + After stays faithful to classic vermouth cocktails like the Little Italy, while also incorporating his own unique flair. In his own words, George believes that beeswax and vermouth come together in perfect harmony to create a velvety combination that embodies the essence of Italian sophistication.

Bar Conte's P&B

Before + After's When in Rome

In the ever-evolving and diverse Asia-Pacific region, Mancino Vermouth shines bright as a prominent contributor to the fascinating amalgamation of cultures. By blending classic vermouth flavours with contemporary twists, they have sparked a cocktail revolution. Traditional flavours are expertly paired with modern charm, igniting a captivating cocktail renaissance.

At Bar Long Fong, the potency of Mancino Vermouth is exemplified through its robust and complex herbal notes. This is especially evident in their Ashy Lemon #2 cocktail, which showcases the vermouth’s perfect pairing with bold Chinese herbal undertones and the strong aroma of burnt lemon. In ChengDu’s Chinese Room, Mancino Vermouth is carefully selected for its exceptional quality and its ability to add depth to the “Don’t Stop Drinking” cocktail. This expert blend of traditional Chinese culture with Chinoiserie art creates a seamless experience that perfectly embodies the essence of Mancino Vermouth.

Giancarlo Mancino

As we observe World Vermouth Day, it’s clear that every cocktail created with this versatile spirit is a testament to the commitment to excellence and appreciation of diversity. Bartenders, with their alchemical skills, have shown that each sip can be a journey into the heart of what makes Mancino Vermouth an essential ally in the art of cocktail creation.

“I am continually inspired by the ingenuity and creativity of bartenders around the world who embrace Mancino Vermouth in their craft. Witnessing our vermouth being used in innovative ways across the globe reaffirms my belief that bartenders are the true visionaries of the cocktail world, constantly pushing the boundaries and exploring new frontiers. It is an honour to be part of their journey and to see Mancino Vermouth elevate cocktails to new heights of flavour and sophistication.”

The celebration goes beyond just acknowledging the place of Mancino Vermouth in the mixology world but is a tribute to the innovation and pursuit of crafting intriguing, delightful, and inspiring drinks.


Mancino Vermouth was born in 2011 in a small family-run distillery in Asti, Piedmont. The distillery, established over 60 years ago in 1957, inspired Giancarlo Mancino, owner of the brand, to compose his own vermouth using only the finest hand-picked spices and botanicals. From the moment you pick up the bottle, its classic look and feel, together with the bittersweet concoctions awaiting inside, impress upon you the timeless character that makes Mancino Vermouth an integral part of the world’s finest cocktail bars.

For more information, please visit Mancino Vermouth.


NEW ZEALAND, 13 FEBRUARY – In the heart of New Zealand’s flourishing gin market, Roots Gin stands as a beacon of excellence. Crafted by the visionary team at Elemental Distillers, its recent accolade as the World’s Best London Dry Gin at the 2023 World Gin Awards in London speaks volumes about the brand’s unmatched expertise and unwavering commitment to the art of distillation.

We had the privilege of sitting down with Elemental Distillers’ co-founder, Ben Leggett, to delve into the philosophy behind Roots Gin.

Roots Marlborough Dry Gin, World's Best London Dry Gin 2023

Congratulations on winning the prestigious award of World’s Best London Dry Gin (2023)! How does it feel to be recognized on a global stage?

In the quiet Kiwi corner where our distillery resides, being thrust onto the global stage is nothing short of humbling. Even with our stoic distillery manager, Alex, I could tell he was absolutely stoked with the accolade.

The award was a real game-changer back home, causing a whopping 600% growth in a month. I remember hopping off the plane back from the Awards Ceremony, transiting at Dubai Airport, and my phone was going mental. Our website crashed due to a sudden surge in demand. It was a bit surreal.

Tell us about your journey from its Roots to recognition. How did the passion for spirits come about?

Growing up in this little country at the edge of the map, I was pretty anxious about not knowing where life was heading. At 17, I went on an exchange program in Argentina’s Andes Mountains—total sink-or-swim stuff. It sparked this independent streak and changed my mentality, a turning point in my life.

I pursued a diploma in tourism, worked in hospitality across France and England, and landed my first bar job through a chance meeting. This marked the beginning of my deep dive into the spirits industry. Roles as a brand ambassador, WSET instructor, and collaborations with creative agencies sharpened my focus, pushing me to take my passion seriously.

And after those 14 transformative years, I returned to my roots in Marlborough, this venture is more than a business; it’s a full-circle moment for sure.

Ben Leggett, Founder & Distiller of Elemental Distillers Ltd

Roots Rosso Pinot Noir Gin

How does Elemental Distillers’ philosophy shape the creation of its spirits?

The philosophy of Elemental Distillers is a fusion of chemistry and botanicals, intricately woven into our brand’s name. Alex and I share a deep emotional connection to our craft, focusing on the purpose behind each spirit we create. Our commitment to exceptional quality remains steadfast, as seen in our engaging blind tastings and the constant pursuit of excellence through research and development. The Roots Vintage Pinot Noir Rosso, a testament to our dedication, took 1.5 years to achieve perfection. At our core lies the pillars of sustainability and supreme craftsmanship; we won’t give our seal of approval to anything that doesn’t hit the mark.

Could you share the magic behind Roots Dry Gin and what sets it apart from other brands?

We wanted to pay homage to London Dry Gin with a distinctive twist. Our gin stands out by cranking up the botanical mass, resulting in a powerful juniper palate weight.  We’ve got six seasonal botanicals sourced directly, and each one is essential. It’s a “less is more” philosophy – take one out, and the whole thing falls flat. Freshness is key, we have great lead time for the locally sourced ingredients.

What truly sets Roots Dry Gin apart is its versatility. Rather than limiting cocktail creativity, its fuller botanical profile enhances it, with the robust flavour standing out even in intricate mixtures. This, coupled with the distinctive signature from native botanicals, establishes Roots Dry Gin as a catalyst for both classic and inventive drink recipes.

Gorse Day

Grapefruit Peel Day

Does Elemental Distillers have any sustainability initiatives or community involvement?

A hundred percent. Our community engagement events, like the Gorse Day and Grapefruit Peel Day, bring locals into the process. Picture this: 4WDs, mountains, foraging, a chef, and a still for micro distillation—an immersive experience.

In production, we efficiently circulate water, repurpose shipping containers for our distillery, and repurpose ethanol byproducts from the dairy industry. Adopting a closed-loop system, we use worm farms to compost botanicals, and we’re on the path to earning a B Corp Certification. Responsible foraging is paramount, and we collaborate with GAP-certified companies.

Our commitment extends to our eco-friendly collaboration with ecoSPIRITS, making us the sole New Zealand distillery using ecoTOTES. The Roots eco Dry Gin, packaged in organic ink, stands as a premium, sustainable offering, providing five bottles to new accounts—encouraging a blend of quality and eco-conscious choices.

What current or forecasted spirit trends excite you?

Breaking away from traditional stereotypes is a trend that resonates with me. The emergence of brands beyond the conventional spirit-producing regions is captivating. Whether it’s single malt production in Thailand, rye whisky from the Netherlands or sherry cask malt barrels in Tasmania, these examples challenge preconceived notions about the geographical origins of exceptional spirits.

Mezcal, with its commitment to preserving ancestral methods, is another area of excitement. While grappling with challenges in maintaining quality control with rudimentary production methods, brands successfully navigating this balance and celebrating their heritage inspire me. It’s particularly intriguing to observe this from the perspective of New Zealand, a country with a unique context and a relatively short history in spirits production.

Ben Leggett at Gorse Day

What advice would you offer to aspiring spirit makers?

I encourage aspiring makers to just have a go. Crafting a good gin may seem challenging, but it’s a journey worth taking. My own path started with a modest 3L still in my kitchen, an oven hob, and a garden hose.

Commit to the process – grab a notebook, distill, taste, make mistakes, and distill again. Get it wrong, get people to try your product, learn from the criticism and feedback, and keep going until you get it right. Embrace errors, share your creations for feedback, and keep going. Define your goal – know the style you aim for, match it to a cocktail, and channel your efforts effectively.

If you could drink anything anywhere in the world right now, where would it be, and what tipple?

Given the chance, I’d transport myself back to Mexico. Picture this—a hot day, a cold cerveza, a good Blanco tequila, and a taco. It’s a simple yet perfect combination that encapsulates the essence of the Latin experience. There’s something about the setting, the food, and the entire package that I haven’t been able to replace anywhere else.


Nestled in Marlborough, Elemental Distillers operates at the heart of New Zealand’s celebrated wine region. With decades of combined experience in the global drinks industry, the brand is dedicated to crafting premium spirits and liqueurs while maintaining complete transparency in its sourcing and production processes. With a commitment to local sourcing, many of their ingredients come directly from New Zealand, ranging from wild and organic to native and family-owned farms.

ROOTS Dry Gin, the brand’s flagship product, is meticulously crafted entirely onsite at their bespoke container distillery. Its crisp and robust ‘London Dry’ style has earned it acclaim, underscoring Elemental Distillers’ dedication to excellence and innovation in the craft spirits industry. Among their exceptional offerings is Roots Gin, a diverse range that includes the award-winning Roots Marlborough Dry Gin, acclaimed as the World’s Best London Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards, and their latest creation, Roots Rosso Pinot Noir Gin.

For more information, please visit Elemental Distillers.


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.


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.


ASIA PACIFIC, 5 OCTOBER – Proof & Company is proud to announce the latest addition to its portfolio of premium craft spirit brands: Ron Matusalem, ‘pioneers in the art of timeless good taste’. This exciting partnership, which begins with exclusive distribution in the Singapore market, reflects Proof & Company’s commitment to offering the bar industry, retail, and other channel partners the finest spirits from around the world.

Ron Matusalem Gran Reserve 15 Years Old

Founded in 1872 in Santiago de Cuba, Ron Matusalem Rum boasts a remarkable 150-year history of rum-making excellence. As a family-owned business now in its fifth generation, the brand has preserved its legacy of craftsmanship, innovation, and quality for over a century.

One of the secrets behind Ron Matusalem’s exceptional flavour is its unique Solera aging process, derived from a Spanish tradition of the making of Sherry wines and brandy. This process imparts a softness and depth of flavour that sets the brand apart, making it a preferred choice amongst those who appreciate the finer qualities of rum in more than 70 countries.

In recognition of its exceptional quality, Ron Matusalem received prestigious accolades at the Drinks International Awards 2023, ranking #4 in the Top Trending Rum category and #8 in the Bestselling Rum category.

Furthermore, Ron Matusalem Rum is delighted to support the new golden age in cocktails by partnering with The World’s 50 Best Bars as an Official Sponsor. This collaboration supports Ron Matusalem Rum’s commitment to elevating cocktail culture and celebrating the artistry of mixology.

“We are thrilled to introduce Ron Matusalem Rum to our portfolio,” said Paul Broadbent, CEO of Proof & Company. “Ron Matusalem Rum’s storied heritage, family legacy, and dedication to innovation perfectly complements our daily pursuit to provide our customers with extraordinary spirits.”

Ron Matusalem Gran Reserve 15 Years Old

Yoze Torres, Global CEO of Ron Matusalem, confirms: “Celebrating 150 years of history as an independent family brand with presence in over 70 countries means being at the forefront, leading the way in such an exciting segment as rum, and with the clear objective of offering products of the highest quality. To achieve this position of leadership, it is crucial to have strategic partners. In this context, we are very pleased to announce our collaboration with Proof and Company in Singapore, which aims to enhance our closeness to our consumers and influencers.”


AUSTRALIA, 23 AUGUST – With Proof & Company’s ongoing commitment to broadening the spectrum of extraordinary spirit brands within the Australian market, we are excited to unveil our partnership with Waubs Harbour Distillery in Tasmania. It brings us immense joy to undertake the distribution of their exquisite collection of single malt whiskies throughout Australia.

Waubs Harbour Distillery, Tasmania

Founded by brothers Tim and Rob Polmear and Tim’s wife Bec, Waubs Harbour Distillery is the result of Rob using his extensive distilling experience to create a whisky using ‘the best equipment in the perfect location’. The team now creates maritime Tasmanian single malt whisky, that is made, matured and bottled just metres from the ocean on the far east coast of Tasmania, Australia.

Waubs Harbour Distillery joins the Proof & Company portfolio of premium brands that include Ferrand Cognac, Plantation Rum, Never Never Distilling Co Gin, The Everleigh Bottling Co., Mancino Vermouth, Arquitecto Tequila and more. The new partnership is described as ‘the perfect pairing of two independent, passionate and strategically run businesses’.

Damian Kaehler, General Manager, Proof & Company, Australia, said: “I am proud to welcome Waubs Harbour to the Proof & Company family. Their dedication to producing an exceptional maritime single malt whisky, rooted deeply in the rich provenance of Tasmania, perfectly aligns with our commitment to craft and quality.

It’s a testament to their courage and meticulous approach that they’ve harnessed the rugged beauty of Tasmania, distilling not just whisky, but the very essence of its origin. Here’s to celebrating what makes Tasmanian whisky rare, premium, and unparalleled.”

Brothers Tim and Rob Polmear, and Tim’s wife, Bec

Port Storm from their Flagship Series of Single Malt Whiskies

The Waubs Harbour Distillery team is also excited about the new partnership, “Waubs Harbour is thrilled to be partnering with a well-respected company that has similar high standards to our own. We look forward to building Waubs Harbour together domestically in Australia and beyond.”

The Waubs Harbour Distillery range of single malts comprises Original Single Malt Whisky, Port Storm Single Malt Whisky, and Founder’s Reserve Single Malt Whisky, with all now available to any bar, hospitality venue, or bottle shop through your local Proof & Company representative.


Sparked by a vision conceived during a fireside conversation, Tim Polmear’s question, “If you could make whisky your way, using the best equipment in the perfect location, how would you do it?” started the creation of Waubs Harbour Whisky in 2017.

Guided by this reverence, Waubs Harbour Distillery discovered the perfect location – an aged oyster hatchery on Tasmania’s eastern coastline, nestled at the ocean’s edge. This choice resonated harmoniously with the distillery’s vision of provenance. This vision is now actualized in the form of a truly maritime Tasmanian single malt whisky, designed to thrive in the wild embrace of coastal surroundings. Every drop crafted at Waubs Harbour Distillery carries an intention – an intention to create an authentically distinctive character that mirrors the coastal embrace of its surroundings.

For more information, please visit Waubs Harbour Distillery


ASIA PACIFIC, 3 JULY – Spicy cocktails have gained popularity over the years, thanks to their delightful combination of warming spice and complex flavours. Among the pioneers, the Spicy Margarita sparked this trend, but classics like the Bloody Mary and Red Snapper set the foundation for these fiery concoctions.

Understanding the ascent of spicy cocktails begins with the creation of the Bloody Mary in 1934. A renowned bartender named Fernand Petiot perfected the recipe for a vodka and tomato juice cocktail, initially named Bloody Mary at The St. Regis New York’s King Cole Bar. Later, it was renamed the Red Snapper to cater to the refined clientele. Despite the change, the Bloody Mary remains a timeless favourite for over 80 years.

Today, each St. Regis hotel and resort offers its own unique twist on the drink. At The St. Regis Bangkok, The Siam Mary boasts signature Thai flavours—spicy, zesty, sweet, and salty. Meanwhile, The Island Mary at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort elevates the experience with kala namak salt, a seasoning popular in South Asian cuisine, served in a nautilus seashell for a touch of beachy ambience.

The Siam Mary

The Island Mary

However, it’s the Spicy Margarita has emerged as the driving force behind this trend, propelling the category to new heights in recent years. Its immense popularity stems from the perfect fusion of classic margarita flavours with the fiery kick of jalapeños. This refreshing and spicy cocktail has captivated the taste buds of enthusiasts far and wide. The versatility of the spicy margarita further contributes to its widespread acclaim. With a plethora of spicy ingredients to choose from, bartenders can explore endless possibilities of flavour combinations. At 28 HongKong Street, the team embraces creative freedom and experimentation. Their Guava Spicy Margarita, featuring the bold fusion of Reaper Pepper and agave, exemplifies the exciting possibilities that arise from flavour exploration.

As people’s palates become more adventurous, there is a growing demand for spicier options in both food and drinks. This cultural shift towards appreciating spice has led to an expansion in the realm of spicy spirits, with brands exploring diverse ingredients and spices to enhance their offerings. Peddlers Rare Eastern Gin, Terai Gin, and St. George Green Chile Vodka are notable examples of this trend. These spirits can be incorporated into classic cocktails like margaritas and martinis, offering a contemporary twist on traditional favourites.

To elevate the heat and complexity of cocktails, there are various techniques beyond using spicy spirits alone. Infusing spirits with hot peppers such as jalapeños, habaneros, or even ghost peppers, or creating spicy syrups by combining hot peppers with water, sugar, or vinegar, provide simple yet effective methods to enhance a cocktail’s flavour profile. Bartenders can easily experiment and craft unique, innovative drinks that cater to customers’ evolving tastes.

Additionally, incorporating bitters like Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture adds a spicy kick without overpowering other flavours, making them a versatile addition to a wide range of spirits and mixers. Super Loco in Singapore showcases this with their Fiery Paloma, a captivating cocktail featuring grapefruit, lime, tequila, and the fiery touch of firewater bitters, offering an enticing option for those seeking a spicy cocktail experience.

Spicy Paloma with La Travesia

Guava Spicy Margarita

Spicy cocktails have evolved from a mere trend into a permanent fixture in the world of mixology. From the timeless Bloody Mary to the inventive Spicy Margarita and beyond, the possibilities are limitless. So why not add some spice to your drinking repertoire and embark on a flavorful journey of spicy cocktail exploration?


AUSTRALIA, 1 JUNE– As Proof & Company continues to expand our portfolio of extraordinary spirit brands to service the Australian market, we proudly announce our partnership with The Everleigh Bottling Co. This new collaboration brings together two independent, passionate, and creative businesses in a perfect pairing.

Everleigh Bottling Co. Martini Bottled Cocktail

The Everleigh Bottling Co. is part of the Made in the Shade group that unites a number of Melbourne-based venues and brands, owned and operated by Michael and Zara Madrusan. The duo are long-standing members of the hospitality industry who have significantly elevated the service and drinking experience in Australia, with establishments like The Everleigh, Bar Margaux, Heartbreaker, Connie’s Pizza, Everleigh Bottling Co., and Navy Strength Ice Co.

“We are excited about our new partnership with Proof & Company. It was very important for us to work with a partner who has a deep connection with the drinks and hospitality industry. We have long admired the work they have done with luxury brands and look forward to this new partnership coming to life,” says Michael and Zara Madrusan.  

Michael and Zara Madrusan, Founders of Made In Shade

Damian Kaehler, General Manager of Proof & Company Australia, warmly welcomes The Everleigh Bottling Co. into our portfolio of premium products, including Plantation Rum, Never Never Distilling Co., Sullivans Cove Whisky, Mancino Vermouth, Arquitecto Tequila, and Widges Gin.

“We are honoured to partner with The Everleigh Bottling Co. and warmly welcome them into our portfolio for distribution. Michael and Zara are passionate individuals who have significantly impacted our industry. They have successfully curated an extraordinary suite of brands that brings the bar to your home. Their story has deep synergies with Proof and Company; we’re of the same DNA and look forward to what’s to come from this partnership.”

Classic Cocktails Range

Sparkling Cocktails Range

Drawing inspiration from their renowned cocktail bar, The Everleigh, each cocktail crafted by The Everleigh Bottling Co. undergoes meticulous hand-crafting and bottling with the same spirits and attention to detail that has earned the venue its global reputation. The premium products embody the old-world elegance of classic cocktail culture, seamlessly transitioning from bar to bottle. Ideal for bars, hospitality venues, and bottle shops, these offerings enhance any setting. Proof & Company and The Everleigh Bottling Co. strive to provide well-constructed cocktails for all occasions, including at-home enjoyment in both on-premise and off-premise settings.

From June 1st, 2023, Proof & Company offers an exquisite selection of Classic Cocktails, including Martini, Manhattan, Negroni, and Old Fashioned, along with the light and lively Sparkling Cocktails featuring Americano, Fruit Cup, French 75, Palomita, Guava Margarita, and Bellini. Additionally, a Non-alcoholic range comprising Bellini, Guava Margarita, and the soon-to-be-released Non-alcoholic Venetian Spritz will be available. For more information and to order, please reach out to your local Proof & Company representative.


Founded by hospitality stalwarts Michael and Zara Madrusan, The Everleigh Bottling Co. is part of Melbourne’s Made in the Shade group which includes The Everleigh, Heartbreaker, Bar Margaux, Connie’s Italian Diner and Navy Strength Ice Co.

Setting the bar for fine drinking in Australia since 2011 and pioneering bottled cocktails since 2015, The Everleigh Bottling Co. can be found in major and independent retailers, boutique and five-star hotels, arts venues, airport lounges, on tap at large-scale arenas and in the home bars of the most discerning drinkers across the country. Inheriting their name, recipes and ethos from the internationally-renowned cocktail bar, The Everleigh in Melbourne, every cocktail is hand-made and bottled with the same spirits and distinctive attention to detail which settled her a reputation as one of the best bars in the world.

For more information, please visit The Everleigh Bottling Co.