W Macau’s Samio Choi on creating Macau-inspired cocktails and mocktails

It may not compete with the big casino-hotels that attract droves of visitors to its gambling tables, but the W Macau – Studio City stands out in the city’s food and beverage scene. Head mixologist Samio Choi draws on his Macanese roots for elaborate drinks menus that offer a touch of nostalgia for the locals and a wild adventure for visitors

Samio Choi, head mixologist at the W Macau

Despite Macau being known for its gambling industry, the city has been undergoing a swift repositioning from its moniker of the Las Vegas of the East. The government made proactive commitments to carve out a vibrant F&B sector – or rather “B&F” (beverages and food) – in the ways of the locals.

At W Macau – Studio City, drinks certainly take a special place. The hotel’s head mixologist and Macau native, Samio Choi, has travelled around enough to experience the many nuances a cocktail can bring to the table.

“For me it’s very simple,” says Samio Choi, who was inspired in his younger years when visiting one of his first bars and seeing its bartender do their magic mixing drinks. “When I first went into the bar and saw its mixologist demonstrating his showcase and engaged with every presentation, this was such a trigger.” This moment in time was to shape the rest of Choi’s professional career and he embarked on a hospitality management course at the Swiss Hotel Management School without much of a second thought.

After graduating, Choi held positions at The Ritz-Carlton in Guangzhou and the Cavern in Shanghai. “I was born in Macau, but I’ve never worked here before,” says Choi. “W Macau – Studio City is my first job in this city.”

The return to his birthplace bring matters to a full circle for this master mixologist, who infuses a renewed worldly vision for the hotel. He does so by creating a series of cocktails and mocktails that are enjoyable and palatable to the hotel’s wide range of guests. At the same time, the idea is not to oversell the alcohol content, but put emphasis on the experience. For those looking for some sophisticated Macau-inspired drinks, his offerings is a must-try.

The Destination Bar, Blind Tiger, W Macau – Studio City

Choi is in charge of all beverages at the hotel, from its high-end bars to in-room drinks. You will find him at the Blind Tiger, which is situated on the top floor at the establishment, at the pub often referred to as The Destination Bar. From its warm interior and stunning views over Cotai, guests get to experience a lounge-y atmosphere provided by a decor that features a contemporary interpretation of Macau’s colonial history. Intrinsically connected with the hotel’s food offerings, the young mixologist works closely together with the various restaurants on site to create the best drinking experience to bridge the local culture with the international crowd. 

“After the opening of W Macau – Studio City, we received information of what local people are keen on and what they like to see changed in terms of the beverage culture on offer in Macau,” says Choi. “We use this information to create our next session, like a seasonal menu, and also derive new trends in order to expand our new menu ‘Destination Alpha’, which is a drink offering that derives inspiration from East Asia.”

But if there is one thing Choi would like to impart is that it is very much a team effort to create a wholesome beverage that appeals to a wider public and leave the right brand imprint. The aims to not only produce a drink that leaves you wanting more, but to also create consistency no matter which mixologist at the hotel serves you. 

Choi establishes a defined narratives in his liquid creations – each drink has its own story. He gives #legend a step-by-step of his journey in how he creates a wildly popular drinks menu.

To create the W Macau – Studio City cocktail menu

Step 1 – Engage with the guest

  • Creating a signature cocktail menu for the hotel is an exciting and intricate process. It involves an alignment with the brand of W Hotels, like putting some playful twists to classic cocktails, a deep understanding of our guests’ preferences and trends, the uniqueness of Macau, and the overall experience we want to create.

Step 2 – Match the drinks with the rest of the hotel’s B&F offerings

  • I also work closely with the culinary team to ensure that the drinks complement the food offerings and create a cohesive dining experience. I need to consider some factors such as seasonality, visual presentation, and balance of flavours.

Step 3 – Continue to innovate

  • Each drink should have its own story and evoke a certain emotion or sensation for guests. I also conduct tastings and gather feedback from our guests and talents to fine-tune the recipes and menu to ensure that it meets or even exceeds their expectations.

More on the W Macau – Studio City:

The Away Spa

The benefit of this glamorous establishment is – beyond its delectable drinks and culinary delights across several dining spots – its on-site spa, which acts as a perfect getaway for relaxation and rejuvenation. Comprising of five treatment rooms away from the hustle and bustle, skilled beauty and wellness therapists offer a variety of treatments – whether you are craving for that all-encompassing treatment or makeup services to spruce up for the evening.

The therapists set you on a journey with authentic body treatments, while those looking for a more active holiday can make use of the Spa’s fitness counselling service.

Entertainment and rooms

This exciting hotel lies in the heart of the illustrious Cotai Strip, where imagination and entertainment converge, lies a dazzling gem of sophistication and allure. As part of the integrated resort of Studio City, this extraordinary establishment offers a seamless fusion of luxury, leisure, and cinematic inspiration that will leave you feeling right at home.

The property features 557 stylish guest rooms, each offering breathtaking views of the charming cityscape or the bustling energy of the Cotai Strip. Stepping into these meticulously designed spaces, guests are transported to an era of glamour and cinematic splendour. Paying homage to the 1950s films shot in Macau, where the city first found its place on the world stage, the interior design of the rooms and suites captures the essence of Hollywood and cinema.

The additional bonus is that the grounds also hosts an indoor and outdoor waterpark, perfect for fun seekers old and young.

W Macau – Studio City stands as an iconic symbol of glamour and sophistication, beckoning discerning travellers to indulge in the epitome of luxury and cinematic grandeur in the heart of Macau.

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In this Story: #dining / #travel / #destinations