Marina Bay Sands skytop bar CÉ LA VI may be known for many things – the recent well-publicised dispute over its previous name KU DE TA being one of them – but what it is really known for is pretty damned decent drinks while offering a great view of Singapore’s skyline. It recently added six aperitivo cocktails to its cocktail menu, so you can quench your thirst and enjoy Singapore’s golden sunset while waiting for dinner time to arrive.

The aperitivo – better known to the rest of the world as the apéritif – is an Italian tradition of a pre-dinner alcoholic drink that’s meant to stimulate the appetite (although if you’ve witnessed a traditional Italian family meal in action – gioie della tavola, or “the joys of the table” – they don’t really need encouragement in that respect). That term has now come to refer to the practice of going for a drink before dinner, just as it is used on the specific kind of drinks partaken during said practice. CÉ LA VI’s head mixologist Knut Randhem (pictured below) has put together six different aperitivos on its cocktail menu that should provide a refreshing affair and build you up for a hearty meal later.

knut randhem ce la vi

Centuries ago people discovered that bitterness – especially from bitter herbs – really helped to stimulate the appetite, and so many aperitivos and apéritifs tend to contain a bitter element. Take for example CÉ LA VI’s Aperol Spritz, whose bitterness from the bitter orange and rhubarb-based liqueur kicks those tastebuds into action, while its lesser known cousin the Cynar Spritz employs herbal bitterness and slight savouriness from the artichoke liqueur to tickle your appetite. There’s also the Americano in the Sky, also known as the Milano-Torino. Traditionally composed of Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda, Randhem’s version shakes things up a little with the addition of prosecco, strawberries and mint.

If you prefer something fruitier there’s the Summer Cup, which combines Pimms, ginger ale and served with cucumber and fresh fruits in true British style that may remind one of lounging courtside in the heat during Wimbledon.

ce la vi sangria

But no apéritif menu is complete without two cocktail classics inspired by the land of the setting sun, Spain. There’s the gin and tonic, of course, a drink that’s certainly begun to take Singapore by storm in recent times; Randhem’s Barcelona G&T (main picture) leverages on the floral characters of Geranium gin for a truly aromatic version. The other is the ever-popular Sangria, of which you can choose a red or white version – fruits and berries are macerated and marinated in a alcoholic bath of yuzu, umeshu and cognac before being submerged into the wine.

All aperitivo cocktails are $24++.

Do head over to CÉ LA VI if you’re looking a nice chillout spot with a great view before your dinner reservations in the Marina Bay Sands area. Just don’t stimulate your appetite all that much if you’re on a diet?


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