One of the most respected names in the bar industry, Zdenek is a cocktail competition veteran who has trained thousands of bartenders across four continents. He has twice represented the United Kingdom in cocktail world cups and has been a shortlisted finalist for the industry’s most prestigious individual award – International Bartender of the Year – no less than four times. Prior to joining Proof & Company, he managed the award-winning bar program at Quo Vadis in London and was a member of Coca-Cola’s international flavor development team.
-When and how did you approach bartending?
I started as a chef apprentice when I was 14. After which I went to Hotelier/Culinary school where I got into the over all hospitality and serving craft. From Cooking to Fine Table Side service, Sommelier, Barista, Bartending. I love all aspects of service and have spent fair bit of time in all positions. Still till today I try and swap around where I can.
-What the place your visit thanks to this amazing job?
I can tell you right away thanks to all amazing apps we have these days. I’m currently on 53 countries and counting. Travel and exploring local cultures is critical part to my personal happiness but its essential to our job in my humble opinion.
-What was your most significative satisfaction behind the counter, or a small and significant event that change your vision and/or your career ?
I don’t think I can pin one situation. To me its all about mentors. The people you meet and get inspired by. I would say I had breaking point while in Culinary School, when I lived in Prague, when I moved to Australia, when I had chance to live and work in London and of course by now a few in Asia.
-What you inspiration in life and work……?
Be a good person, healthy and energetic so we can enjoy the world around us, inspire others if I have the chance. Positivity is a big part of my every day.
-What’s the trend in Mixology right now?
Be different, everyone is trying so hard to re-invent the wheel. Which I great as long as we manage to strike the balance and maintain the core of our business – happy guests.
-Tell us about the bar atmosphere in Singapore and HK
Exciting, fresh, energetic – everyone wants to see, do, explore more and translate it to their guests. All that is possible coz the guest itself are open and eager to try new things
-What the new cocktails Mecca in your opinion?
Singapore is indeed up there, HK is on the sprint to get to the top again for sure while places like Bali, Bangkok, Taipai or China as a whole are pushing every day and coming up with more and more cool stuff.
-Where do you see the industry going in the next years?
I do think our industry is more and more full of people who look around and care. I’m hopeful to see more work towards “re-using” in general, single package use reduction and in general giving back bit more.
-Tell us a funny story that happens to you in your career behind the counter
Not so funny but still one of favourite memory – Having as a regular proper Priest who would come once a month at certain time, sat at corner order a Martini Cocktail sometimes two, had a little read of his book, little chat, paid and left as quietly as he came each time.
The Proof Collective is more than enough to be excited and fully engaged with. With that said, my brother and I starter little business back in Czech, its being fully launched as we speak:-]
Two signature cocktails with recipe that you think will always work in every place and country
1brsp Tempus Fugit Crème De Banane
2 dash Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
60ml Diplomatico Planas
Stirred – served over bloc of ice – old fashioned glass (simple with no patterns better, Japanese this glass the best)
Lemon zest discarded and banana chip
60ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
15ml Ferrand Dry Curacao
20ml Manzanilla Sherry
12.5ml Crawley’s Orgeat Syrup
25ml Fresh lemon juice – hand squeezed
4dash Yellow Chartreuse
Swizzle in highball glass. Garnish with 3 mint sprigs, discarded lemon zest and little lemon wedge.
La Hermosa’s story
Behind seven hills and seven lakes, seven rivers and seven fields lived a little girl called Hermosa.
Her mother was typically French. A bitter character, but once you got to know her, she was sweet as honey. Her Father was an experienced Spanish sailor. Although charismatic, he was rough as the ocean, but generally a good man, as most sailors are. Little Hermosa was living a fun and simple life at Santiago de Cuba.
Everybody loved her. The men for her beauty and big heart, and the women for her evergreen smile and optimism. Everything was nice and sweet as only orange can be – until one day – when everything turned from sweet and lovely to dry, triple dry and almost as sour as lemons. When the day that Hermosa had to follow her parents and move to Puerto Rico came around, nobody knew what was going to happen…
But as things go, everything bad is good for something else. The journey had “blended” their family together and created something more beautiful.
Little Hermosa grew up and got married to a charming and exotic Jamaican man who smelled of almonds and oranges. And as we know, Hermosa had always connected oranges to the feelings of love and happy times…If they are still alive, they are spreading this message of simple beauty and making a lot of little kids the same as Hermosa herself.
La Hermosa – simple, but beautiful, exciting, but easy re-creatable.
Mother – Yellow Chartreuse
Father – Manzanilla sherry
Bad times – lemon juice
Happy times – Orange triple sec
Husband – Orgeat syrup