Singapore Cocktail Week is upon us again this coming weekend, and promises an exceedingly fun – and definitely boozy – time with a slew of over 100 individual events catered for cocktail hounds, nightlife pundits and alcohol lovers.
But with so many events packed into a mere 8 days – from Saturday 12 March 2016 to Saturday 19 March 2016 – how does one decide what to do, where to go, and what to drink? Here’s where we come in with what we’d like to think is the most definitive guide to this year’s Singapore Cocktail Week, ever.
First up: Tickets.
While you can certainly take part in Singapore Cocktail Week without tickets – many events are open to the walk-in public – the best way to enjoy the entire week is to purchase tickets, either online or at participating bars. As was with last year, buying a ticket at $38 accords you a set of wristbands – one wristband for each day – that grants you special prices, access to at the Singapore Cocktail Week cocktail list (priced at just $14++ per cocktail) and 10% off regular menu prices at various participating bars and restaurants, and special invites to exclusive events.
Oh, and an invite to the Singapore Cocktail Week opening party.
Singapore Cocktail Week Opening Party.
There’s nothing better to start a week-long series of parties that with one massive, crazy, booze-filled party as a prelude. The Singapore Cocktail Week Opening Party will happen on 12 March from 4pm to 9pm at Zouk – 4pm? What is this, a tea dance? – that will see an entire constellation of cocktail stars – local and international – rub shoulders with each other and partygoers.
There will be special “brand experiences” presented by various alcohol partners such as Absolut Elyx, Hendrick’s Gin and Monkey Shoulder – for example, at the main bar Hendrick’s Gin and Monkey Shoulder Whisky Ambassadors Tasha Lu and Jay Gray will be shaking up Tiki-inspired cocktails such as the ‘Hendrick’s Flora Dora’, prepared with Hendrick’s gin, lime, ginger beer and raspberry and ‘Monkey Shoulder Jam-Rock Sour’ made with Monkey Shoulder whisky, falernum syrup and bitters. Alen Nikolovski from The Baxter Inn (No. 6 on World’s 50 Best Bars) and Absolut Elyx ambassador Aki Eguchi of Gibson will present the ‘Flamingo’ punch bowl service, made with Absolut Elyx, passionfruit, lemon, grapefruit juice and sparkling wine. Diageo Reserve World Class presents a World Class bar where guests can sip on cocktails such as the ultimate ‘Gin and Tonic’, sprayed with grapefruit bitters.
Singapore Cocktail Week and Zouk will also play host to Guest DJ Kenneth Francis, renowned for his signature sounds of Afro, Funk, Latin and Tribal Beats; accompanied by multi-talented percussionist Mohamed Noor, who has performed internationally at events such as Big Bang Percussion Festival in London and Mosaic Music Festival. We’re – almost – certain they won’t get kicked off their scheduled set by some upstart VIP.
The Bar Awards 2016.
The Bar Awards was first started back in 2014 to recognise and celebrate the talents in Singapore’s burgeoning bar scene, and while it’s not too interesting or relevant to the casual nightlife goer it has become the premier event for Singapore’s nightlife industry scene. On 13 March 2016 at OverEasy from 6.30pm, the industry will get together to celebrate and recognise the best amongst them.
If you’re in the trade, you should definitely check it out and sign up for it.
Our top Singapore Cocktail Week event picks.
The honest truth is that there is Absolut-ly no way you can attend every single event during the Week – on some days there are up to 10 events happening at the same time! – so it’s critical to choose the ones that most fit your schedule and drinking style.
Having trouble deciding which event to go? Here’s what we recommend:
If you’re looking for a girl’s night (day) out.
Leaving the boys back home to have a fun time out with the besties? You might want to consider these.
The Flagship – Whiskies are for ladies.
The Flagship will be hosting two of the most knowledgeable and talented women bartenders and thought leaders in the bar scene with Hannah Waters and Beckaly Franks for this all-ladies only whiskey tasting workshop. Sorry guys, but you need not apply.
Anti:Dote – Tipsy Tea Time.
Chill out with your besties over high tea at our favourite hotel bar Anti:Dote as it puts a Singapore Cocktail Week spin on its famous afternoon tea sets. For more spirited female conversation, consider the special tipsy tea package of free flow alcoholic iced tea cocktails.
If you love good food.
Sometimes it’s not all about drinking – it’s truly about a culinary experience that also includes imbibing in strong drink. And here we would recommend the following:
Hashida Sushi x Gibson.
Chef Hashida “Hatch” Kenjiro of Hashida Sushi will pair his sushi slicing skills with the cocktail genius of Gibson’s Aki Eguchi at Gibson for this one-night only culinary masterpiece. With Chef Hatch’s 20 year experience in sushi making, you’re guaranteed some exquisite sushi. Gibson will be launching a new cocktail menu that week as well.
Tippling Club’s “Once Upon A Time with Candelaria”.
Tippling Club’s “Once Upon A Time” series of themed parties are always a blast, but the restaurant ups that a notch when it partners world-renowned Parisian bar Candelaria for a five-course dinner menu of Latin American cuisine paired with signature cocktails.
If you love a good brunch.
If you love your Scotch.
For the longest time Scotch whisky has been enjoyed by a somewhat niche segment, but in recent times have seen more drinkers experimenting with this water of life. Here’s where you can learn more.
The Balvenie Taste & Tipples at House of Dandy.
The Balvenie’s regional brand ambassador Neil Strachan will take diners through this whisky dinner at cocktail bar House of Dandy. Learn how to pair food with whisky, but more importantly, get to taste The Balvenie’s 12 Year-Old DoubleWood, the 14 Year-Old Caribbean Cask, and the 17 Year-Old DoubleWood Speyside expressions alongside grub by guest chef Tim Ross-Watson.
Scotch Whisky – Introduction To Tasting at La Maison du Whisky.
Whisky specialists La Maison du Whisky will be holding an introductory lesson on whisky appreciation for beginners. Attendees will get to taste fine Scotch whiskies from various distilleries with more than five centuries of tradition between them.
If American bourbon is more your thing.
We’re not sure why, but bourbon consumption in Singapore recently posted double digit growth despite a flattening for most other alcohol segments – we think we’re onto a good thing. Here’s how you can help boost those numbers further.
A Journey Through Bourbon, Smoke and Time at Meatsmith.
Bar manager Katherine Whitcroft and head chef Andrew Baldus of American smokehouse Meatsmith have teamed up to design a four-course experience that pairs tender roasts perfectly with well-aged bourbon.
Whiskey Techniques at Home at Meatsmith.
Katherine Whitcroft and Andrew Cameron, bar managers of Meat Smith and Burnt Ends respectively, will be conducting this workshop where you learn various techniques for using bourbon in both your drinks and food.
For gin fiends.
This juniper-based spirit has recently seen an incredible revival across the world, and here in Singapore it’s taken on new life with the resurgence in popularity of gin & tonics. If you’re big on gin, try the following gin-based Singapore Cocktail Week events.
The “Book of Ginesis” by The Rabbit Hole.
Lo & Behold Group’s group bar mentor Julian Serna will take participants through a workshop on everything about gin – its history, botanical character, styles and brands. Witness a live pot distillation demonstration, have a taste of several gins and master making the classic gin martini… but not before a welcome punch and canapés.
Gin & Tonic pairing workshop at Spiffy Dapper.
Singapore’s wild child of gin and owner operator of cocktail bar The Spiffy Dapper Abhishek Cherian George will be guiding a series of gin & tonic workshops where you learn the best ways to make them at home. Even better – you get to taste different gins and tonic mixes till you’re tanked up and happy. Don’t forget to put in the garnish first.
Hendrick’s Gin Madhatter’s Tea Party at House of Dandy.
You can’t get more quirky than Hendrick’s Gin… unless you’re talking about a tea party organised by Hendrick’s Gin, of course. Hendrick’s Gin brand ambassador Tasha Lu will lead this rather crazy Alice in Wonderland-style tea party at cocktail bar House of Dandy.
Gin Brunch at Smoke & Mirrors.
Rooftop cocktail bar Smoke & Mirrors puts together a fun East meets West take on a weekend brunch, where you can indulge in traditional Cantonese favourites from Yan Cantonese Cuisine done canapés style such as dim sum and Peking duck crepes, paired with classic cocktails with a special gin twist.
If rum is your thing.
Rum deserves more love than it currently does. Show your love for the sugarcane/molasses-based spirit at these events.
Diageo World Class presents “RUM 101″ with Ian Burrell at Lime House.
Caribbean restaurant and bar Lime House will be hosting UK-based award-winning mixologist and global rum ambassador Ian Burrell, who will be presenting a workshop on everything you must know about rum, such as 10 myths surrounding the sugarcane-based spirit. You’ll get to taste different rums, of course.
Sugarhall rum dinner featuring cocktails By Jim Meehan
This rum dinner at Sugarhall will see mixology legend and the author of “The PDT Cocktail Book”, Jim Meehan, take to the bar to make 4 rum-based cocktails to pair with a 4-course dinner.
But if you like other kinds of spirits.
If you’re fan of other kinds of spirits – and Dionysus knows there are plenty of other alcohol types – there are also many events meant for you.
Pisco Inferno – The Rise & Rise of the Pisco Sour.
If you’re a fan of pisco, that South American wine brandy, this pisco workshop at Vasco will take you through a ‘101’ and furnish you with three different pisco based cocktails.
Everything about Vodka at Bread Street Kitchen.
If you like that clear spirit called vodka, Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen at Marina Bay Sands will be conducting a vodka masterclass that will cover all types of vodka, where they are from and their distinctive qualities. Oh, and can we say it’s free?
Mezcal & Food Appreciation at Super Loco.
Join Proof & Company’s team of experts as they take you through an educational mezcal tasting and food pairing workshop. Of course, you get to taste some of Mexico’s most exceptional agave spirits, including the much-lauded pechuga, paired with food by Super Loco’s Jason Jones.
If you’re looking for supper… with drinks.
Drinking can make you hungry, and hungry people are angry people. These supper places during the Singapore Cocktail Week can help you satisfy that rumbling tummy… and possibly make you want to drink more.
DSTLLRY Supper Club.
Late night cravings can be a bitch, but gastrobar DSTLLRY can help you settle those hunger pangs with a special three-course Japanese supper available throughout the entire Singapore Cocktail Week (from Saturday 12 March 2016 to Saturday 19 March 2016).
A Night to Remember at Jekyll & Hyde.
Fellow gastrobar Jekyll & Hyde is putting together a one-night only omakase Japanese and Italian fusion supper featuring homemade pasta paired with a cocktail made with Japanese ingredients.
Recharge at Tess.
If a cocktail supper sounds like it will recharge you for the next gruelling day during Singapore Cocktail Week, Tess Bar & Kitchen will be offering a supper special of a finger food platter served alongside two cocktails for $60++ from 10.30pm till late from Sunday 13 March to Saturday 19 March,
If you want to learn to make drinks at home.
Making cocktails at home is now a thing. But it is knowledge and experience that separates the good from the merely passable (or downright atrocious). Attend these workshops and impress guests with your cocktail smarts.
Amazing Cocktails At Home by Tess Bar.
Diageo Worldclass Champion Steve Leong of Tess Bar & Kitchen will take participants through this cocktail making workshop where he demonstrates just how easy it is to create awesome cocktails at home with common ingredients and simple techniques.
Setting Up Your Craft Cocktail Bar At Home – An Introduction To Equipment, Technique and Ingredients.
If you’re intending to set up your own cocktail bar at home, bar manager David Koh of Bar Stories will take you through this crash course on how to become a professional bartender in the comforts of your own pad. Learn all about the essential equipment, knowledge and skills required for the “job”.
If you like to cook more than (or as much as) you like to drink.
Perhaps you’re less interested in drinking your spirits – why are you reading this again? – than actually cooking with alcohol. This culinary workshop is your thing.
Curing Food with Spirits at 5th Quarter.
Chef Andrew Nocente of Modern Australian restaurant 5th Quarter will take participants through a a food curing workshop to show you how to cure meat and fish using various spirits.
Stay tuned for Part II of our definitive guide for Singapore Cocktail Week.