Singapore Cocktail Festival 2019 will take place from 10 to 18 May 2019, and the annual cocktail celebration will again see a burgeoning lineup of exciting events across Singapore.
If there’s one major public event to point at that has charted the growth of Singapore’s cocktail scene, the annual Singapore Cocktail Festival could be it. Started as Singapore Cocktail Week five years ago, it’s played both observer and tastemaker as cocktail bars sprouted all across Singapore and making our nightlife, well, just a little bit more fun.
This year’s Singapore Cocktail Festival promises to be an even more intense affair – especially going into the second year of its collaboration with World’s 50 Best Bars and support from the Singapore Tourism Board – with an enhanced “Festival Village”, and 45 participating cocktail bars with more pop-ups and guest bartending shifts one can physically attend.
But there’s a difference between drinking, and drinking well. To help you apply some method to the drinking madness that is Singapore Cocktail Festival, we’ve put together a simple guide to where you should be spending your time and money on that week.
If you can make it to the Festival Village…
Needless to say, the Festival Village of Singapore Cocktail Festival will be the epicentre of activities. You’re looking at an impressive congregation of cocktail talent – over 100 of the world’s best bartending talent, no less – at Empress Lawn from 10 to 12 May, 4pm to 11pm daily.
But if this sounds too overwhelming, make sure you at least hunt down Andrew Loudon from Tippling Club (Singapore), Jesse Vida of Atlas (Singapore), Lolita Goh of Junglebird (Kuala Lumpur), Kazuhisa Arai of Sober Company (Shanghai), and Maroš Dzurus and Adam Amir Ghalleb from Himkok (Oslo), all who are known to put out very impressive – and even some award-winning – cocktails in their time.
If you’re more of a spirits lover, the Artisanal Spirits Tasting Room in the Festival Village is probably your thing. Here’s where you can try gins from Little Lon Distilling Co, Blind Tiger, Tanglin Gin, Dancing Sands Distillery and whiskies from Amrut and Compass Box neat.
And see if you can work off your impending insobriety at the Four Pillars Gin putting green and win some prizes while you’re at it by scoring a hole-in-one.
Festival Village tickets are priced from $35 for a one-day pass (not including booking fee), inclusive of one welcome drink. You can purchase your tickets here.
Masterclasses for the serious drinker.
Also new this year at the Festival Village for Singapore Cocktail Festival 2019 are the ’50 Minutes with 50 Best”, a series of masterclasses for those downright serious about their drinking. Presented by the World’s 50 Best, you’ll get upright and personal with Antonio Lai from Quinary and Beckaly Franks of The Pontiac (Hong Kong), Maxim Schulte of The Savoy (London), Rory Shepherd from Little Red Door (Paris), Giacomo Giannotti and Margarita Sader from Paradiso (Barcelona), and Renato Giovannoni and Aline Vargas from Floreria Atlántico (Argentina).
You’ll not only get to taste some of the signature cocktails from these cocktail luminaries, they’ll also regale you with stories behind their bars and tipples.
Tickets to these masterclasses are extremely limited though, so get yours here as soon as you soberly can.
Events around town…
There’s good reason why Singapore’s recently cemented itself as the cocktail capital of the East – just ask World’s 50 Best Bars, which has picked Singapore as a base to announce the winners of its Asia edition. One of those reasons is our vibrant cocktail bar scene, which often sees top bartenders around the world fly in to do various guest bartending shifts around town.
Well, expect even more of that the week of the Singapore Cocktail Festival. Some of the guest shifts we’re looking forward to:
- Mario Farulla of Baccano (Rome) at Caffe Fernet, Tuesday 7 May from 6pm to 9pm
- Byungjin Lim of Bar Cham (Seoul) at IB HQ, Wednesday 8 May from 7pm to 11pm
- Mancino presents Federico Pasian of Quaglino’s (London) at The Other Room, Wednesday 8 May from 11.30pm to 3am
- Shingo Gokan of Speak Low (Shanghai) at Jigger & Pony, Friday 10 May from 8pm to midnight
- Curator’s Cocktail Supper Supper Club with The Curator (Manila) at Nutmeg & Clove, Friday 10 May from 10pm till late
- The Botanist presents Alice Cheongdam Residency featuring Alice Cheongdam (Seoul) at Gibson on Friday 10 May and Saturday 11 May from 6pm till late
- Aki Wang of Indulge Experimental Bistro (Taipei) at The Other Room on Sunday 12 May from 11.30pm to 3am
- Jose Luis of Licorería Limantour (Mexico City) at Madame Fan on Tuesday 14 May from 6pm to 10pm
- Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou) takeover at Smoke & Mirrors on Tuesday 14 May from 7pm to midnight
- Nikos Bakoulis of The Clumsies (Athens) takeover at NATIVE on Tuesday 14 May from 8pm to midnight
- Remy Cointreau presents Richie Cruz of Cobbler Bar (Manila) at Tess Bar & Kitchen on Wednesday 15 May from 7pm to 11pm
- Black Tears Spiced Rum with brand ambassador Din Hassan at Gem Bar on Friday 17 May from 7pm to 10pm
- Shah Dillon of 40 Thieves (Bali) at The Monarchy, Saturday 18 May from 8pm to late
Also do check out the various themed bar tours taking place from 10 to 18 May; these tours bring you from place to place so you don’t have to arrange your own transport or orders. ‘New Kids on the Block’ for example brings you to the newest bars in town, while ‘Asia’s 50 Best Bars x Four Pillars Gin Tour’ takes you on an interactive gin discovery featuring four of Asia’s top bars.
Cocktails we insist you try.
Sometimes we get to try special festival cocktails before the event itself; it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. But it does give us an idea of what’s worth drinking.
Here are a few we think should be on your to-drink list during the Singapore Cocktail Festival proper:
- Americas at Origin Bar, made with tequila redistilled with strawberries, salted agave, and barrel-aged Cointreau
- Old Qisher at IB HQ, made with cascara tea, vodka, lemon, mint, and vanilla
- Mekhong Thai Sabai at Jim Thompson, made with Mekhong rum, lime juice, soda water, and Thai basil
- Haku Cucumber Fix (pictured above) at Cook & Tras Social Library, made with Haku vodka, fresh pressed cucumber water, lemon juice, house shiso syrup and absinthe
We’ll be updating this article as we receive more information on the activities surrounding Singapore Cocktail Festival 2019, but do start pencilling all the events you’d want to attend into your calendar.
And remember – it’s not just about drinking more, it’s also about drinking smart.
For more information on Singapore Cocktail Festival 2019, check out their website.