With the many whisky bars that are popping up left right and centre, it’s getting harder for new establishments to differentiate themselves. Newcomers Tipple and Dram aren’t exempted from these challenges, though you can say that they’re already different from the rest just by nature of what they offer.
If you are among friends that either drink wine or whisky but not both, then you’re in luck with this little bit of compromise – sort of. Tipple and Dram has copious quantities of both and with two intimate settings to choose from; perhaps you guys can choose to fight over where to sit instead.
This modest bar sets out to offer the best of both worlds with a well-stocked collection of wines and champagnes, and a guest tap beer that changes regularly. The cocktail selection is relatively limited at the moment, but general manager Chris Beltrando says that they’re working on adding more to the list.
But of course, we’re here mostly for wine and whisky, and Tipple and Dram carries a selection of mid-priced wines with an emphasis on the French variety, such as the likes of J. Faiveley and Louis Latour. You’re well-covered when it comes to light bites with an extensive menu for a set up like this, consisting mainly of sandwiches, terrines, cold cuts and cheese, and burgers, which more or less go well with the drinks. Perhaps if you are feeling frisky, you even can order yourself some oysters and a peated whisky for an oyster luge. They also do a set lunch with a glass of wine or beer if that’s what you’re up for.
Arguably, the highlight, of course, is its whisky bar, which is located down in the basement. While the wine bar has a casual air about it, the whisky bar is far more intimate and arguably more fetching. What makes this bar a little different from the rest of the whisky bars out there now is that the owners made it a point to acquire as many distillery and festival exclusives as possible.
We got to try a couple of these; such as the Bowmore Hand-filled and Tomatin Distillery Exclusives. These distillery or festival-exclusive offerings are often prime examples of the most desirable casks from the distillery at the time, which in this instance, are of the rich, sherried variety. Because of the limited availability of unique or indie single casks from the usual suspects like The Macallan and The Glendronach, whisky fans have been quick on the uptake in their search for sherried alternatives, and Tomatin in particular, is on many a radar. Heavily sherried Bowmores are also popular, partly thanks to the positive response to the Devils’ Casks series in recent years.
For those who are unaware, what makes the distillery exclusives rare is that it is tough work to secure a sizeable number of bottles. As a visitor, you’d usually be able to get only a bottle per person, and the Tipple and Dram bar is home to almost a hundred of such bottles. Considering their scarcity and limited allocation – many of these bottles are from a single cask – they will be hard to replace. However, I was assured by Anand Pande, one of the three co-owners and the resident whisky fan, that he has a ‘supply chain’ in place to replace finished bottles with similarly unusual and rare bottles.
But don’t worry, the Tipple and Dram isn’t just a place for whisky nerds; they offers pairing experiences that everyone can enjoy. Be it chocolates or even savoury foods like bah kwa (sweetmeats) to go along with your drams, spending time at the Tipple and Dram isn’t purely an academic experience – unless of course, your obsession is with pairings. While Singapore is relatively spoilt for choice when it comes to specialist whisky bars, those who enjoy the more casual side of a drinks experience will find that the Tipple and Dram has that covered. Whisky completionists that want to experience every (or as much as possible) facet of a distillery’s offerings will find this bar a convenient, one-stop shop to access many of the exclusives.
Tipple and Dram
Address 24 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069704 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12.00 pm to 12.00 am Mondays to Fridays; 6.00 pm to 1.00 am on Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 6423 0353