Amidst the hustle and chaos that was the recently concluded Singapore Cocktail Week, cocktail bar Gibson rather quietly tweaked its menu. And the results are amazing.
Gibson opened in October last year and so hasn’t quite celebrated its first anniversary, but the Jigger & Pony Group-owned bar already has garnered various accolades, including landing a coveted spot at No. 22 on this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. Headed by group head bartender Aki Eguchi and recently joined by Rhyse Borland (previously from Sydney’s Eau de Vie), Gibson has been a welcome addition to the Keong Saik Road and Bukit Pasoh Road nightlife enclave.
Last month the bar overhauled its food and drinks menu, adding a number of cocktails to the drinks list that one should really take note of. Gibson’s cocktail list was previously organised into loosely and inexplicably named sections such as “Forging Friendships”, “Finding Comfort” and “Sharing Happiness”, but the bar has now eschewed that for a more inspired categorisation – it now lists out cocktails according to what they were inspired by, such as “Inspired by People”, “Inspired by Time” or “Inspired by Place”.
Take for example, the Chinatown Brewery ($23++), inspired by Singapore’s first-ever commercial brewery Malayan Breweries, the predecessor of Asia Pacific Breweries that made Tiger Beer – although we’re not too sure if Tiger Beer would be too happy with the use of fermented pineapple, possibly a reference to rumours that the commercial beers could have been brewed using the tropical fruit. But the cocktail itself is fruit-forward with passionfruit and aforesaid pineapple, refreshing and yet still packs a punch from Bulleit rye whiskey.
Similarly Snow Field ($23++, above), will conjure up tranquil images of snow-covered landscapes, a creamy and silky tipple made with Banks 5 rum, pureed sake lees, honeydew, cream and perked up by some cardamom bitters. Another new addition is Botanic Gardens ($23++), obviously influenced by the Singapore attraction of the same name and bursting full of floral aromas from a simple combination of Monkey 47 gin (after all which lush tropical garden would be complete without a monkey in it?), bee pollen, juiced Granny Smith apple and fermented honey.
Our favourite however, has to be the Grand Shanghai ($23++, above), a gentleman’s short drink that’s a throwback to Shanghai in the 1920s, bursting full of power yet tempered by the elegance of Remy Martin VSOP cognac, and enhanced with a smokiness from a whiff of Perique tobacco and smoked Angostura bitters. Dehydrated cranberries, like a perfectly coiffed female companion, add a lovely intense fruity touch to complete the picture.
If you’re a big fan of classic cocktails, however, be sure to try the Small Pleasures ($55++), a trio of classic drinks made specifically for true connoisseurs. Featuring three different Beefeater gin expressions, there’s a dry Martini made with the rare Beefeater Crown Jewel, a gin and tonic with Wet by Beefeater, as well as a Negroni concocted using Beefeater’s Burrough Reserve. Small in size, big on pleasure.
If you’re feeling the munchies, Gibson has also beefed up its food offerings with various heftier options so you don’t have to adjourn downstairs to Humpback to line the stomach in anticipation of more drinks to come. We highly recommend the Oyster Sliders ($24++, above), which sees battered fried oysters, bacon, garlic aioli and roasted tomatoes encased in a lovely buttered toasted roll; in fact the rolls at Gibson are fantastic – try also the Lobster Roll ($39++) or the Asian-inspired Pork Buns ($17++). For something more delicate try the Sea Urchin ($12++), which sees creamy Japanese uni paired with pureed cauliflower served with brioche.
Gibson’s new offerings may have not had been responsible for helping propel the bar to its No.22 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list this year; we’re almost certain they’re going to help keep the bar there on the rolls for the coming one.
Gibson is located at 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, 2nd Floor, Singapore 089834.