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.


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.


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.


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.


AUSTRALIA, 5 SEPTEMBER – Sydney’s bar scene is just as captivating as its stunning landscapes. With a plethora of stylish and innovative bars, there’s no shortage of places to unwind and enjoy a drink. As Sydney Bar Week (9-13th September) approaches, the city’s vibrant bar culture is about to take center stage.

Whether you’re a local looking to experience the best Sydney offers or visiting town to join in the festivities, Proof & Company has curated a selection of Sydney’s favorite bars that promise to enhance your bar week journey. From classic cocktail havens that exude timeless charm to avant-garde watering holes pushing the boundaries of mixology, our spirited picks serve as your gateway to a comprehensive and unforgettable week in Sydney.


Nestled within the Four Seasons Hotel, Grain Bar beckons with sophistication and a breathtaking panorama of the city. At Grain Bar, a genuine commitment to the craft of fine drinking reigns supreme. Indulge in the art of finely crafted drinks within this refined setting, as skilled bartenders become your guides on an enticing journey through flavours.

Try the “COA”, a captivating blend of Los Arcos Destilado de Agave, Suze Gentian, Toasted Rye, Clarified Citrus, and a refreshing touch of Soda Water—a drink that dances between zest and zing. For a taste of the tropics, the “ALOHA” beckons, blending the bold flavors of Plantation Xaymaca Jamaican Rum and Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum with the subtle allure of Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, Mancino Bianco Ambrato Vermouth, and the intriguing essence of Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao—a cocktail that transports you to sun-kissed shores with every sip.

Discover the wide range of cocktails and ask the team for a taste of a classic cocktail that has been aged, literally against the grain.

Four Seasons Sydney
199 George St, The Rocks
Mon & Tue 12-11pm
Wed & Thu 4-11pm
Fri & Sat 4pm-12am
Sun Closed



Maybe Sammy takes inspiration from the roaring ’50s, the rebirth of cool, the era where fashion and fun prevailed. A time when The Rat Pack and Hollywood glamour were revered and admired. Each and every delectable drink on their menu will take you through an eye-opening and distinct experience. Their passion is for drinks, music, and people like you, who like to take it easy from time to time.

Ranked 27th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2022, Maybe Sammy is a jewel of timeless sophistication. Step into a bygone era of elegance, where classic cocktails are elevated to an art form. With a 1950s-inspired ambiance and skilled bartenders who craft liquid masterpieces, it’s a true cocktail enthusiast’s paradise.

Experience the allure of a world-class bar that pays homage to the golden age of mixology and discover why it’s a cherished destination for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

115 Harrington St, The Rocks
Tue-Thu 4.30pm-12am
Fri-Sat 4.30pm-1am
Mon & Sun Closed



Located in the vibrant ecosystem of Hinchcliff House, a hub of leading Sydney venues curated by House Made Hospitality, Apollonia stands as a captivating cocktail bar paying homage to The Godfather’s indelible character. Its name is a fitting tribute, inviting patrons into an immersive experience that infuses the heart of the city with the allure of Sicilian charm.

Beyond its thematic allure, Apollonia places sustainable cocktail drinking at the forefront of its mission. The core of their ethos revolves around creative simplicity, storytelling, and, most crucially, mindful consideration of their environmental impact. The innovative use of Widges Gin and ecoSPIRITS speaks volumes about their commitment to sustainable practices, ensuring that each sip resonates with a sense of responsibility to the planet.

As an embodiment of mindful mixology, Apollonia is led by the talented duo of Jake Down and Jason ‘Widge’ Williams. This bar transcends mere mixology; it is a testament to the artistry of conscious creation, where every cocktail is a harmony of flavors, an ode to sustainability, and an invitation to experience the beauty of mindful indulgence.

5-7 Young St Basement Level
Mon-Wed 3pm-12am
Thu 3pm-1am
Fri 3pm-2am
Sat 4pm-2am
Sun Closed



Prepare to be enchanted at Cantina OK!, the place where exceptional spirits and unforgettable moments converge. This Micro Mezcal Mecca takes pride in curating an experience like no other, offering one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime spirits that will undoubtedly leave you mesmerised.

At the heart of Cantina OK! lies its commitment to crafting the finest margaritas and cocktails in all of Sydney. The shelves are adorned with hand-sourced, hand-imported, and handmade agave spirits, an ode to the craft that transcends borders. Every cocktail is a masterpiece, served with hand-shaven ice and hand-pressed limes, a testament to the dedication that sets this place apart. Whether you’re an agave aficionado or a curious cocktail enthusiast eager to explore new horizons, Margarita OK! is a true gem crafted with Arquitecto Tequila, mezcal, lime, and a tantalizing hint of orange oil—an experience that will surely linger in your memory.

As you step into Cantina OK!, you’re not just entering a bar; you’re entering a world where the art of spirits and the passion for hospitality come together.

Council Pl, Sydney
Everyday 4pm-2am



For over a decade, Shady Pines Saloon has been Sydney’s unrivaled Nashville-style honky-tonk, where patrons seek refuge in the embrace of a laid-back pace and a truly friendly atmosphere. The wood-paneled interiors, the vintage vibes, and the sounds of good times echoing through the air create a timeless ambiance, transporting patrons to a place where camaraderie is celebrated and worries are left at the door.

With its unorthodox charm and genuine local appreciation, this establishment doesn’t just serve drinks; it crafts experiences. In a world of ever-changing trends, Shady Pines Saloon remains an ode to the classics, where conversations flow as freely as the drinks and where the spirit of the Old West thrives. As a testament to its impact, it’s a place that has solidified its place in the hearts of those who yearn for authenticity, camaraderie, and a touch of unconventional charm.

4/256 Crown St, Darlinghurst
Sun-Thu 4pm-12am
Fri&Sat 4pm-1:30am



Prepare to embark on a whisky journey like no other as you step into the underground whisky cellar of The Baxter Inn. Found within the city’s old loading dock, this extraordinary sanctuary of spirits beckons with an amazing array that is sure to captivate even the most discerning connoisseur.

The Baxter Inn has been a fixture in the same location for over a decade, a testament to its enduring appeal and the exceptional experiences it consistently provides to its patrons. As an extra treat, they offer pretzels at no charge, adding a delightful touch of warmth and generosity to your visit.

As a true whisky aficionado’s paradise, The Baxter Inn has proudly secured a remarkable 12th ranking on the esteemed 2022 World’s 50 Best Bars list. This accolade speaks to the bar’s unwavering commitment to excellence, a dedication showcased through its extensive whisky collection and the enchanting speakeasy charm that permeates every corner of this hidden gem.

152/156 Clarence St, Sydney
Everyday 4pm-3am



Discover a captivating haven nestled in the heart of the city, where the art of cocktails and spirits comes alive. Burrow Bar, a charming and intimate boutique establishment, embodies the essence of excellence. Its remarkable achievements include nominations for Australian Bartender Magazine’s prestigious titles, such as Bar of the Year, NSW Bar of the Year, and Small Bar of the Year in 2019.

Be sure to indulge in the intriguing “Swampwater” cocktail, a libation with a name that sparks curiosity. While its name may evoke echoes of 80’s jock flicks, this drink proves to be a delightful surprise when it was created in the 1970s as a promotional venture for Chartreuse.

A rising star in Sydney’s vibrant bar culture, Burrow Bar sets itself apart with its inviting ambiance and dedication to crafted cocktails. It’s a hidden treasure waiting to be explored, providing a unique glimpse into the burgeoning bar scene that defines Sydney.

Basement/96 Clarence St, Sydney
Mon Closed
Tue-Sun 4pm-12am


Join Proof & Company at Casa de Agave: A Highlight of Sydney Bar Week 2023

Embark on a journey of unparalleled flavours, knowledge, and community in an immersive experience like no other. In this exclusive gathering, guests will indulge in brand showcases, offering insights into the world of tequila and mezcal. Engage in a captivating panel discussion with international industry leaders, gaining invaluable perspectives that shape the future of the craft of agave spirits.

The setting? The iconic Golden Age Cinema is a timeless venue that echoes the elegance of the beverages guest will be savouring. Mark your calendars for September 12th, 2023, from 3 PM to 5 PM, at 80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills. As space is limited, don’t miss out on this extraordinary opportunity by reaching out to


HONG KONG, 12 JULY – Get ready to immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere of Hong Kong’s bar and restaurant scene as it takes centre stage for the highly anticipated Asia 50 Best Bars 2023. This dynamic city is buzzing with innovative and sustainability-driven initiatives, shaping the future of fine drinking.

With new and exciting establishments emerging, challenging the status quo, Hong Kong’s bar landscape is constantly evolving. These venues share a common vision of sustainability, celebrating the art of craft spirits and embracing the second golden era of exquisite libations. From sustainable collaborations with ecoSPIRITS™ to the resurgence of fine drinking, Hong Kong has established itself as a global hub for cutting-edge concepts and unrivalled craft spirits.

Join us on a journey to explore these trailblazing bars that have shaped Hong Kong’s bar culture. From collaborations with ecoSPIRITS™, which champion sustainable cocktails, to uncovering hidden gems, we invite you to experience the forefront of the city’s dynamic bar scene.


ARGO, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

Prepare to embark on a groundbreaking drinking experience at Argo, a visionary project by Proof Creative. Drawing inspiration from the legendary Argo ship that carried Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece, Argo stands proudly as one of the Top 3 bars in Asia’s 50 Best Bars, offering a glimpse into the future of mixology.

At Argo, the focus lies in the evolution of cocktails, especially when key components become scarce or depleted, such as cacao or coffee. One sip of their signature Argo Martini will transport you into a world of extraordinary flavours. Crafted with Never Never Gin and seasonal hydrosols, which are artisanal flavoured distilled water-based solutions created in-house using a rotary evaporator, this Martini is a true masterpiece. What sets it apart is not just the unique blend of ingredients, but also the innovative technique used to prepare it. Instead of the traditional shaking or stirring, the Argo Martini is expertly layered, adding another layer of creativity and sophistication to your drinking experience.

Four Seasons Hong Kong
8 Finance St, Central, Hong Kong

Monday – Thursday, 5pm – 12am
Friday – Saturday, 5pm – 2am



DarkSide, Rosewood Hong Kong

Be captivated by the allure of DarkSide, a cocktail parlour that beckons with its rare and aged spirits, vintage cigars, and timeless cocktails, all accompanied by the sultry melodies of live jazz. Renowned as the “Best Bar of the Year” in 2021, DarkSide boasts an extensive library of exquisite rum, whisky, and calvados, transporting you to the golden age of spirits. Delve into their remarkable selection of dark spirits, which harks back to the early 19th century and includes an exclusive blend of cognac meticulously crafted by the award-winning bar team.

Continuing its commitment to sustainability and innovation, DarkSide has renewed its partnership with ecoSPIRITS™ for the second consecutive year. The remarkable menu, ecoCOCKTAILS II, showcasing a range of extraordinary spirits such as Plantation Rum, paired with locally sourced ingredients and recycled materials. Sip on the bar’s signature creation, the ecoFFEE, a tantalizing twist on the classic espresso martini. This delightful concoction features Widges Gin, infused with reused coffee grounds, accompanied by the essence of leftover oranges and banana skins, for that harmonious blend of flavours that will awaken all senses.

Rosewood Hong Kong Victoria Dockside
18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Sunday – Thursday, 5pm-12pm
Friday – Saturday, 5pm-1am




Inspired by the farm-to-bar movement taking the culinary world by storm, Penicillin pioneered the sustainability movement in the bar industry in Hong Kong. Right from the get-go, the interior boasts sustainable décor, such as table tops made from felled trees and repurposed lighting.

Not only do they focus on locally sourced or upcycled ingredients, Penicillin takes it a step further in experimentation, fermentation, and innovation to cultivate a no-waste menu that brings creativity to their cocktails. Through their collaboration with ecoSPIRITS™, Penicillin has eliminated single-use glass bottles and significantly reduced their carbon footprint. And their efforts don’t stop there. They’ve also launched the “One Penicillin, One Tree” initiative in partnership with the Green Steps Group. For every 4.5L ecoTOTE purchased, a tree is planted in the Kalimantan rainforest of Borneo, contributing to reforestation efforts and the preservation of this endangered ecosystem.

Take a look at their latest menu, “Black Summer”, which comprises of cleverly-named cocktails, each made from vastly different, carbon-positive ingredients, with a story to tell.

L/G Amber Lodge
23 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong

Monday to Saturday, 5pm – 2am
Sunday, 5pm – 12am



The Daily TOT

The Daily TOT is a rum lover’s paradise, a true haven for enthusiasts seeking an unparalleled experience. This exceptional bar pays homage to centuries-old naval traditions, offering a meticulously curated collection of rums sourced from every corner of the globe. Prepare to embark on a journey through the diverse regions of the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Asia, where you’ll discover a remarkable array of rare blended rums and aged treasures that have been thoughtfully selected to ignite your senses.

One libation that simply cannot be missed is the PB&G, a delightful creation that combines the sous-vide infusion of Plantation Rum Pineapple Stiggins’ with the aromatic essence of basil, the silky texture of velvety egg whites, a hint of Petite Verveine, the invigorating zest of yuzu cordial, and the vibrant burst of fresh guava juice. Additionally, The Daily TOT proudly presents a distinguished selection of rare Plantation Rum blends, including our personal favourite, the esteemed Plantation Rum Single Cask Barbados 2011, for those seeking the pinnacle of sophistication.

58 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
G/F, Shop E Felicity Building

Monday – Wednesday, 4 pm to 12 am
Thursday – Saturday, 5 pm to 1 am
Sunday, 4 pm to 11 pm



The Pontiac

Get ready to rock and roll at The Pontiac, a dive bar with a rebellious spirit and an all-female-led team. This one-of-a-kind establishment welcomes everyone with open arms, creating a community where judgments are left at the door. Step into The Pontiac and experience a chaotic vibe reminiscent of the legendary Coyote Ugly, setting it apart from the rest of Hong Kong’s bar scene.

While The Pontiac boasts a laidback ambiance, their dedication to a greener future is truly commendable. As proud partners of ecoSPIRITS™, this emerging bar takes a sustainable twist to classic cocktails. The talented team concocts drinks with quirky and daring names, all within an edgy and unapologetic setting. Picture them jamming to the energetic tunes of Bon Jovi, perched on the bar counter. And what better way to elevate your dance moves and indulge in the night than with a sip of their sensational Shells and Cigarettes cocktail? This ingenious creation puts a unique ecoSPIRITS™ spin on the beloved Long Island Iced Tea.

Don’t miss the opportunity to embrace the rebellious spirit of The Pontiac—an exhilarating sanctuary where the love for rock music, exceptional spirits, and unforgettable nights intertwine.

13 Old Bailey Street, Hong Kong

Wednesday – Saturday, 4pm – 12am
Sunday – Tuesday, 4pm– 11pm



COA Hong Kong

Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of COA (co-ah), a Mexican-inspired bar that pays homage to the traditional tool used for harvesting agave. As you step into this inviting and friendly establishment, prepare to be greeted with exceptional hospitality and a warm ambience.

Elevating the bar scene in Hong Kong, COA holds the esteemed title of being ranked #1 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars for two consecutive years. This prestigious recognition is a testament to their dedication and passion for crafting extraordinary experiences. What sets COA apart is their commitment to innovation and seasonality. Every week, their talented team hand-picks seasonal ingredients to create a new and exciting cocktail, ensuring a dynamic and ever-evolving menu. Collaborating with renowned spirits like La Travesia, COA presents an extensive array of cocktails that will tantalize your taste buds.

Explore their carefully curated cocktail list, featuring 100% agave tequila and traditional mezcals, inspired by the rich and vibrant flavours of Mexico.

Shop A, LG/F Wah Shin House
6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong

Tuesday – Sunday, 6pm – 12am



The Wise King

The Wise King has secured its place as a beloved establishment in Hong Kong, renowned for its unique and distinctive character. Embracing a distinct Iberian influence, the bar pays homage to Alfonso X of Castile, a revered 13th-century Spanish monarch who played a significant role in shaping the country’s culinary tradition of tapas. Legend has it that King Alfonso X declared that no alcoholic beverage should be served without food, a decree that continues to influence Spanish gastronomy.

Drawing inspiration from the king himself, Founder and N.I.P Gin Brand Ambassador Sandeep Kumar has crafted an extraordinary experience. Here, the focus is on indulging the senses of sight, taste, and sound, creating a captivating journey through flavours and ambience.

25 Staunton Street, Basement,
Tsung Wing Lane, Soho Central

Monday – Thursday, 6pm-12am
Friday -Saturday, 6pm-2am



Terrible Baby

Nestled on the 4th floor of Eaton Hong Kong in Jordan, Terrible Baby invites you to embark on an extraordinary drinking experience. With a name inspired by the French phrase ‘L’Enfant Terrible,’ this exceptional cocktail bar is a rare gem outside Hong Kong’s main vibrant drinking scene.

Drawing inspiration from the Dadaist art movement, this distinctive establishment is a hub for young, passionate, and fearless creatives. Step inside to discover a retro-chic and vintage interior lounge, while the outdoor terrace treats you to a lush and stylish setting, complete with breathtaking views of Jordan’s iconic buildings. Notably, Terrible Baby has received esteemed recognition, earning the title of Hong Kong’s Best Rooftop Bar by the Financial Times and the prestigious Gold award for Best Terrace Bar at the Hong Kong Best Spirits Awards 2022.

At the core of Terrible Baby’s allure is its dedication to music, offering an eclectic lineup of live sets featuring both local and international artists. As you indulge in their meticulously crafted cocktails, let the enchanting melodies surround you, creating an extraordinary atmosphere that exemplifies Terrible Baby’s essence.

4/F, Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong

Sunday – Thursday, 2pm-12am
Friday & Saturday, 2pm-2am



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?


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.


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.