FROM BEHIND THE BAR: A BRAND STORY FROM ELEMENTAL DISTILLERS


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.


ABOUT ROOTS DRY GIN

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.


SPIRITED PICKS: FAVOURITE SYDNEY BARS TO SIP


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.

GRAIN BAR

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

LEARN MORE HERE

MAYBE SAMMY

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

LEARN MORE HERE

APOLLONIA

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

LEARN MORE HERE

CANTINA OK!

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

LEARN MORE HERE

SHADY PINES SALOON

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

LEARN MORE HERE

THE BAXTER INN

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

LEARN MORE HERE

BURROW BAR

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

LEARN MORE HERE

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 holly.edwards@proofandcompany.com.



SPIRITED PICKS: MOST NOTABLE BARS IN HONG KONG


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

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

CHECK THEM OUT

DARKSIDE

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

CHECK THEM OUT

PENICILLIN

Penicillin

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

CHECK THEM OUT

THE DAILY TOT

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

CHECK THEM OUT

THE PONTIAC

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

CHECK THEM OUT

COA HONG KONG

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

CHECK THEM OUT

THE WISE KING

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

CHECK THEM OUT

TERRIBLE BABY

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

CHECK THEM OUT



FROM BEHIND THE BAR: HANDLING THE HEAT WITH SPICY COCKTAILS


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?



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


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

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

Jason Williams

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Atlas Bar, Singapore

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

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

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

 

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

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

Proof Creative Team

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Any other thoughts?

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

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



FROM BEHIND THE BAR: AN EVOLUTION OF COCKTAIL BARS


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

Nadodi's Kuala Lumpur, Bar Lounge

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

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

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

Stay Gold Flamingo's Cafe

Stay Gold Flamingo's Cocktail Bar

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

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

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

The Art of Mahjong Menu

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

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

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

Bar Trigona, Kuala Lumpur

ecoCOCKTAILS at Rosewood Hotels

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

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



FROM BEHIND THE BAR: THE IMPORTANCE OF TERROIR IN RUM


ASIA PACIFIC, 12 APRIL – Rum is a versatile and flavorful spirit that has become a staple ingredient in cocktails across the globe. While it is beloved for its distinct taste, one often overlooked element that sets one rum apart from another is terroir. This concept, which is gaining traction in the world of spirits, emphasises the importance of environmental and cultural factors in shaping a rum’s flavour profile.

Explore the world of rum and terroir with us as we learn about the impact of climate, soil, and cultural practices on the unique taste and character of each rum. From the Caribbean to the Pacific and beyond, this concept of rum and terroir promises to reveal the fascinating complexities and nuances of this beloved spirit.

Plantation Rum Isle of Fiji

Terroir And Its Impact On Rum

Terroir refers to the environmental factors that impact the growth and development of plants that make spirits, resulting in a unique flavour and aroma profile. In the case of rum, terroir plays a significant role in shaping the final product. Whether it is wheat, sugarcane, agave, or grapes, at its core, all spirits are agricultural products that start with their plants.

Various environmental factors impact the growth and development of sugarcane used in rum production, such as soil type, microclimate, and native yeast strains. Sugarcane grown in tropical and subtropical areas with high humidity grows faster, undergoes photosynthesis, and produces more sugar. In contrast, drier climates can concentrate flavours into specific parts of the plant, resulting in less yield but more concentrated flavours. For example, sugarcane in Fiji is well known to be high quality and easy to grow thanks to the fertile volcanic soil, while Barbados is the only coral island still producing sugar cane thanks to a perfect combination of sunshine, gentle trade winds and cooling rains.

These diverse terroirs lead to distinct styles of rum. Martinique’s Agricole rum showcases the region’s unique terroir with its grassy and vegetal notes, while Jamaican rum’s robust character reflects the island’s culture and fermentation techniques. Each native yeast strain evolves, adding to the complexities and nuances of when, where, and how a spirit is produced.

The West Indies Rum Distillery Ltd, Barbados

Long Pond Distillery, Jamaica

Factors Coupled With Terroir

While Mother Nature plays a significant role in terroir, human activity such as farming, cultivating, and production methods (fermentation, distillation, ageing) also contribute to it. For instance, a farmer’s decision on what to plant near the crops can directly affect the soil microbiome and impact the overall character of the spirit. Furthermore, each process step, from harvesting to fermentation, can introduce variations and contribute to the unique qualities of the final product.

Expanding on Jamaican rums, we see how culture influences fermentation techniques, resulting in longer fermentation times and a heavier body to the final rum. The result is an emphasis on full-bodied, strong with funky notes of tropical fruits, wood, rubber, spices sweet caramel and molasses rum that reflect the relaxed lifestyle of the island. Unaged rums are a great way to experience the true essence of terroir, but even ageing can contribute to it. Careful consideration of the type and treatment of wood in the barrel by distillers can enhance or mask the flavour compounds in the final spirit.

Why Bartenders Should Care About Terroir In Rum

Whether served neat or in a cocktail, terroir adds depth and complexity to the drinking experience. Bartenders are cluing into this, drawing out certain characteristics in different rums to highlight and compliment other ingredients. For example, rums from Puerto Rico tend to be drier due to the island’s hot climate and a requirement of one year of ageing brings out vanilla and oak notes in the spirit, making it the perfect base for the rich and spice-heavy Coquito cocktail. Rum from the Philippines can lend itself well to fruit-forward cocktails, due to the hot and tropical climate, showcasing the rum’s fresh, bright flavours.

As consumers seek more elevated drinking experiences, educating them about the terroir of the rum being served can increase their appreciation for the nuances and complexities of the spirit. By learning about the rum’s terroir, customers can gain a better understanding of the origins of the flavours and aromas in their glass and develop a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry involved in producing premium rums.

Plantation Rum, Barbados

The Terroirs Of Plantation Rum

Plantation Rum has made a name for itself in the world of rum by placing a strong emphasis on terroir and its impact on the taste and quality of its rums. The brand has produced a range of exceptional rums by prioritising terroir and experimentation. One of their standout offerings is the Vintage Collection, which includes the Plantation Venezuela 2010, a rum that showcases the distinctive flavours of Venezuelan rum-making. Distilled uniquely in 2010, it boasts a flavour profile that includes notes of hazelnut and oak-nut, highlighting the country’s terroir beautifully.

Furthermore, Plantation Rum has made significant progress in forging partnerships and sampling tastes from all over the world. Recently, they have worked alongside the West Indies Rum Distillery team in Barbados to reconstruct a long-unused 19th-century pot still and have even gone so far as to attempt to use sea water in a fermentation batch to test how the yeast will interact.

Maylis Berger, Senior Brand Manager (APAC) of Maison Ferrand

“Rum is the most diverse spirit in the world. Plantation Rum‘s mission is to showcase the great Terroirs of rum. We invite each one of you to discover the flavours of the different Terroirs of rum through fascinating expressions, each of them defines by unique savoir-faire and a double-ageing technique.

We continuously study the techniques of rum making, which we find fascinating. The beauty and uniqueness of rum remain in the diversity of cultures and production techniques. This is a precious heritage that should never be undermined by any self-interest. Some islands or rum producers won’t make rum the same way, the rum will be influenced by their heritage and practices. This must be respected and understood because it is the very essence of rum, and what makes it so special.”

As the rum industry embraces the significance of terroir, Plantation Rum has raised the bar by prioritising terroir in their production process. This has yielded an array of imaginative and high-grade rums with distinctive flavours native to their region. With the spotlight on terroir, consumers will certainly admire the finesse and proficiency used to produce such remarkable beverages. There is no better way to traverse the world in a glass and savour the genuine taste of place.



FROM BEHIND THE BAR: THE MARTINI RESURGENCE


ASIA PACIFIC, 21 MARCH – The martini is more than just a cocktail; it’s a symbol of an era of sophistication and elegance that still captivates us today. As the world of mixology continues to evolve, this classic cocktail is making a big comeback. With the rise of home bartending and a renewed appreciation for classic cocktails, the martini is experiencing a renaissance in popularity. Its enduring sophistication has captured the attention of a new generation of cocktail enthusiasts, sparking a renewed interest in this timeless libation.

What’s driving this resurgence of the martini? According to Bobby Carey, Proof Creative’s Senior Bar Consultant, the rediscovered appreciation of the martini is partly due to the practical economic motivations of customers. With the rising cost of goods and living expenses, people are looking for more value for their dollar, and spirit-forward cocktails like the martini provide just that.

“Quality over quantity is key as individuals will look to maximise their nights out and have the best and most impactful experience.”

However, it’s not just economic motivations that are fueling the martini’s revival. Lockdowns and social distancing measures have inspired people to get creative with their at-home entertainment, leading to a deeper appreciation for cocktail culture and a growing demand for craft and artisanal spirits. Consumers are taking the time to learn about the basics of cocktails, tasting flavours, and understanding the backgrounds of spirits. This has not only deepened their knowledge of cocktail culture, but has also further fuelled the increasing use of craft and artisanal gins, vermouths, and bitters in drinking establishments.

“This has created a whole new group of people who have a deep appreciation for classic drinks. These more informed consumers also place a high value on the quality of ingredients and the sourcing of spirits, leading them to seek better drinks at bars,” Maison Ferrand’s Senior Brand Manager, Maylis Berger says.

The Argo Martini

Dark Series Oyster Shell Gin Martini

Bartenders and bar owners are catering to this renewed interest by creating innovative variations of the classic drink. For instance, the ARGO Bar at Four Seasons Hong Kong collaborated with Never Never Distilling Co. to produce a unique and delicious gin that includes 3 types of Chinese tea, matured in ex-Chardonnay barrels, and seasoned with Mancino Secco Vermouth under vacuum, for the driest Argo Martini. Similarly, Teresa Bar offers a modern Kaweka Martini made with foraged ingredients in New Zealand, Tarata and Horopito mixed with Mancino Vermouth Secco, perfect for guests looking for something extra special.

And the innovation does not stop there. Brand owners are also exploring various gin varieties to create stunning Martini variations. Never Never Distilling Co., for instance, has created an Oyster Shell Gin that makes for an exquisite Martini with its wax flower and salinity flavour profile. Peddlers Gin, on the other hand, infuses its gin with ingredients commonly used in Chinese medicines and cuisines, such as Buddha’s hand, Sichuan pepper, Chinese cassia, lotus flower, and more, which gives the drink a unique character. Bartenders can then adjust the amount of dry or sweet vermouth to complement the gins when creating these cocktails.

Kaweka Martini with Mancino Secco Vermouth

Mancino Secco Vermouth Martini

The contemporary craft of the martini is not just about mixing finesse, but also the use of high-quality ingredients. One key ingredient making an impact on the martini scene is Mancino Vermouth, which is renowned for its balance of sweet and bitter flavours and traditional production methods. This extraordinary spirit has allowed bars and home bar owners alike to create a range of martinis that come close to the classic form, providing a welcome contrast to the overly sweet concoctions of the ’90s.

The martini’s resurgence shows no signs of slowing down, and with the growing interest in craft and artisanal spirits, it’s no surprise that Mancino Vermouth Secco has become an essential ingredient in bars around the world. Founder Giancarlo Mancino believes that consumers will continue to appreciate this classic cocktail while seeking innovative ways to enjoy it throughout the year. Like an espresso, the martini is best enjoyed at the bar counter with your favourite bartender, and Mancino Vermouth is poised to play a vital role in elevating the modern martini experience.



PROOF ADVOCATES PAY TRIBUTE TO EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN THIS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY


ASIA PACIFIC, 8 MARCH – International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the resilience, strength, and determination of women worldwide. To honour the inspiring women in our lives, what better way to do so than with a signature cocktail that captures their essence? This time, we highlight some exceptional cocktails crafted by our Proof Advocates, who were each inspired by the remarkable women in their lives.

Kino Soh

Kino Soh, the Brand Ambassador of Brass Lion Distillery, created the Dragon Lady cocktail as a tribute to her mother’s persona – sophisticated and bold. Her mother’s unwavering dedication to providing for her family and her outstanding cooking prowess gave her the impetus to become the best version of herself. This bright and complex beverage was put together with Brass Lion Navy Strength Gin, Brass Lion Butterfly Pea Gin, Mathilde Poire Liqueur, Calamansi Cordial, Lemon and Foamee, using Singapore’s botanical blends to give it a distinctive flavour profile. Mathilde Poire Liqueur adds a subtle sweetness to the cocktail, while the Calamansi Cordial gives it a bright, citrusy kick. The creamy texture of the foamee brings everything together, making the Dragon Lady a well-balanced and flavourful tribute to Soh’s mother.

Shay Chamberlain

Shay Chamberlain, the Brand Ambassador of Never Never Distilling Co., found inspiration in Australian tennis legend Ashleigh Barty when crafting her cocktail. Barty is a former professional tennis player and cricketer who has made a name for herself as one of the best athletes in the world. Chamberlain was inspired by the athlete’s commitment to excellence and wanted to honour Barty’s spirit of strength and determination. Her “Barty” Martini is strong and flavourful, made with the award-winning Never Never Triple Juniper Gin. This delicious craft gin is made with native Australian ingredients and delights drinkers with the bright and earthy qualities of juniper. With its bold and spicy flavour profile, this cocktail also celebrates all powerful women who inspire us to be our best selves.

Maylis Berger

Maylis Berger, Senior Brand Manager for Maison Ferrand, created the Citadelle Jardin Gin & Tonic to celebrate her mother’s strength and positivity. This beautifully crafted cocktail uses Citadelle Jardin D’Été Gin, balls of fresh melon (which happens to be her mother’s favourite fruit) and a lemon twist. Citadelle Jardin D’Été Gin is a premium craft gin made in France and offers a delightful combination of sweet and zesty flavours. The fresh melon adds a nice sweetness and the lemon twist adds a wonderful zing to the cocktail, resulting in a sweet and refreshing drink that honours her mother.

Karina Aggarwal

Karina Aggarwal, Vice President of India Craft Spirit Co., celebrates her mother with an exquisite TERAI Gin Fizz cocktail that captures her mother’s radiant spirit. Aggarwal’s mother, who she describes as the smartest woman in her life, embodies kindness and a constant thirst for learning. The cocktail’s recipe features TERAI India Dry Gin, lime juice, honey syrup, egg white, and a splash of soda, resulting in a sweet and refreshing blend that stands the test of time. TERAI India Dry Gin is one of the most exceptional craft gins hailing from India, meticulously handcrafted in small batches. Its unique botanical blend is inspired by the Terai region, a lush green oasis nestled at the foothills of the majestic Himalayas. A beautiful gin to befitting for a luminous lady.

These beautiful cocktails embody the intricate flavours that are a homage to the amazing women in our lives, who hold an inspirational spirit that connects us all. On International Women’s Day, let us join in a toast and salute all the incredible women in our lives and their extraordinary spirits.



PROOF & COMPANY CELEBRATES BARTENDERS ACROSS APAC ON WORLD BARTENDER DAY


ASIA PACIFIC, 23 FEBRUARY – This World Bartender Day (24 February), Proof & Company is proud to celebrate the incredible bartenders across Asia Pacific who have shaped the industry for generations to come. From innovative mixologists to dedicated bar owners, we’re excited to shine a spotlight on the talented professionals across the region who are redefining and elevating the cocktail culture. Let’s take a look at five of the inspiring bartenders who are making waves in their communities.

Chau Tran

Farmer's Market

Chau Tran, co-owner of the Burrow Bar and Cash Only Diner in Sydney, is a respected and much-admired figure. After completing a degree in marketing and commerce, she worked her way up in the bar industry, starting as a bartender and progressing to the roles of barback, venue manager and finally general manager. In 2016, Tran achieved her goal of owning a venue, joining forces with her best friend Bryce McDonough to open Burrow Bar. The small boutique cocktails and spirits bar was even nominated for a series of awards, including Australian Bartender Magazine’s Bar of the Year, NSW Bar of the Year and Small Bar of the Year for 2019.

Tran further established herself in the industry by becoming the 2019 Global Winner of the Gin Mare and earning second place in the Bar Convent Brooklyn cocktail competition in 2020. Additionally, Tran and her team initiated the hospitality pro-bono marketplace Hospo Threads to provide aid to the hospitality industry, in addition to cooking and delivering more than 10,000 meals to those in need during the pandemic.

When asked what was Tran’s signature drink, she presented Farmer’s Market made with Never Never Juniper Freak Gin.

“This drink sums up Burrow Bar in a cup for me – a joyous hug on the inside from a dear friend. It’s the same feeling I get when let loose at a unique grocery store or wandering around a farmer’s market on a Saturday morning. It is a a drink that celebrates Spring and a drink that reminds me of my favourite time of my week.”

Harry Zhang

Jade Lake

Harry Zhang’s impressive tenure in the cocktail industry began at the Equis Bar of the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing, where he spent two years studying techniques before transferring to the UNION Bar at the Opposite House. During that time, both bars earned the prestigious Drink Awards for the Best Hotel Bar in China.

In his work at UNION Bar, Zhang has dedicated himself to producing modern cocktails that challenge him to find ways of unlocking the full spectrum of flavours and the taste profiles of his drinks. A fitting culmination of his creativity is the Silk Road-inspired bubble punch cocktail that has become his signature.

Blended with Peddlers Rare Eastern Gin and Sichuan E’mei mountain snow jasmine tea, the delicate yet bubbly punch is the embodiment of Chinese flavours. The intensity of pepper is balanced with passion fruit and bergamot, while the final result is an exotic drink with a unique blend of floral, fruity, and spicy notes – making it the perfect beverage to savour in this modern cocktail bar.

Meredith Earle

Rōhi

Meredith Earle has been a successful presence in New Zealand’s cocktail industry for 10 years, even taking her talents to festivals such as Rhythm n Vines, Bay Dreams, and many other musical gigs throughout Aotearoa. Working under the mentorship of Matt Barnsley at Austin Club, Earle gained invaluable experience as the second-in-charge at the 1950s-style speakeasy. Drawing on and utilising the wealth of native New Zealand ingredients, her excellence in the field saw her crowned winner of both the Show Us Your Roots and Step into Never Never Competition in 2022. Recently, Earle crossed the seas and began her journey at Black Pearl, Melbourne to further her exploration of cocktail concoctions, as well as the local produce and landscapes of Australia.

Earle’s signature cocktail has been a personal favourite, with the components themselves reflective of the Aroha (love) she has for her mother and her roots. Sustainable and full of foraged ingredients and fresh produce, the concoction also incorporates Roots Gin and horopito, embodying the Maori heritage that lies close to her heart. A salt garnish serves as a reminder of the salty sea air near her family’s urupā (cemetery) in Kawa Kawa Bay, an area in which Earle is able to relax and truly feel at home. But the most special part of her concoction lies in the rose cordial, made with love by Earle herself.

“The homemade Rose cordial is a good balance of sweet and sour, inspired by my mother Joanne Rose Earle and her mother Alice Rosie Williams. These two women are my roots and have made me who I am today.”

Maikal Gurung

The Tot Grog

Drawing from his years in Hong Kong’s F&B industry, Maikal Gurung is highly renowned for his invention of cocktails and the tutelage he provides to inexperienced bartenders. Gurung has served as the Head Bartender of Lobster Bar in Shangri-la Hong Kong and, having the spirit for new explorations in the world of cocktails, he is now the General Manager of The Daily Tot. With the freedom to freely express himself through the creation of cocktails, today Gurung guides the team of rum makers and youthful bartenders as they venture through the realm of rum.

With The Daily Tot’s passion for extraordinary rum, it’s only fitting that Gurung’s signature cocktail features the distinctive Plantation Rum. Inspired by Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon’s navy grog “recipe” from 1740, The Tot Grog gives an updated spin on the traditional drink with its blend of coconut water, coconut soda, and Plantation Rum. The refreshing result is a nod to its history, paying homage to its past while creating a modern concoction that energies guests.

Nursham Arfiyyan bin Abdul Rahman

Fiery Paloma

Nursham Affiyan bin Abdul Rahman, otherwise known as Sham, is the bar supervisor at Lucha Loco, a festive eatery nestled within the concrete jungle of Singapore’s Duxton Hill. This converted shophouse boasts delicious Mexican cuisine as well as a hidden garden, and Sham’s passion for aged agave spirits and artisanal mezcals brings even more authenticity to the place. When concocting a cocktail, Sham loves to have fun and add a bit of zing to the drink with an assortment of bitters.

A prime example of his handiwork is his signature, Fiery Paloma. The sweet, fiery scent of the classic cocktail, enhanced by firewater bitters, combined with the candied and smooth La Travesia is an olfactory journey reminiscent of a spirited Mexican afternoon. His creative artistry is infused with enthusiasm and panache it is what distinguishes his work from the rest.