The latest technique-driven cocktail menu from Shangri-La Singapore’s eminent cocktail hideout Origin Bar is its greatest yet.
Origin Bar is one of those handful of cocktail bars in town that, despite being excellent in almost every way, for some unknown reason hasn’t quite yet made it on Singapore’s big cocktail stage. Maybe it’s Shangri-La Singapore’s slightly remote location, hidden away in the quietest parts of Singapore’s Orchard Road. Or perhaps it’s hampered by the impression that a night out at such a premier hotel threatens to break the bank? We’re not sure.
Which is a big shame, because the cocktail game here is strong. And with its latest cocktail menu – its third in four years – that game just got even stronger.
When Origin Bar first launched, it opened with a cocktail menu that was themed after a look at Singapore through time. Its five sections – categorised by different districts in Singapore – were peppered with cocktails inspired by various events in our nation’s history. A revamped menu iteration during its second anniversary in 2019 saw the hotel bar reinforce that focus on Singapore’s history It grew its menu further later that year by unveiling one of the region’s largest rum collections (and rum-based cocktails).
Origin Bar’s latest menu revamp by bar manager Adam Bursik and his team sees it continue down the same track. It recently introduced a whopping 18 brand-new cocktails – many of them rum-based – to its already sizeable drinks offerings. There’s even an entire new section, Balestier, to join its existing five.
The new cocktails at Origin Bar may look somewhat simplistic, but that’s only because they hide an incredible amount of mixology know-how. Clarification and redistilling, in particular, are techniques Bursik and his team love to employ.
The Crystal Mojito, for example, sees Havana Club rum redistilled with fresh mint that’s then blended with a distillate of lime, cane sugar, a touch of vitamin C, and topped up with a splash of soda. There’s plenty of technical work involved here, but most drinkers won’t be able to tell from its crystal clear, Sprite-like look. Likewise Strawberries & Co, an Altos Tequila-based strawberry-flavoured milk punch that is clarified using coconut milk, which is refreshingly fruity yet silky in texture.
Less technical – but no less complex – is Tropez, its twist on the Martinez. It’s a liquid spectacle too; half chocolate-aged Matusalem rum and Mancino Rosso Amaranto cocktail and half aromatic smoke, finished with house-made perfume made from Buddha hand citrus. Or Saz-Mei, a take on the Sazerac using Remy Martin VSOP that’s been infused with smoked sour plum, absinthe, and bitters.
A new signature at Origin Bar is Urban Jungle, and our personal favourite. And if ever there was a cocktail that best described the origins of Orchard Road – or best expressed what Origin Bar is trying to do in a nutshell – this is it. This rum-based tipple is spirit forward and explodes with pineapple and nutmeg notes, while the accompanying fermented salted black Kampot peppercorns add aroma and a spice edge when you bite into them. After all, these ingredients – pineapple, sugarcane, black pepper, and nutmeg – were all grown in plantations around Orchard Road in Singapore’s not-too-distant past.
There’s more cocktail wizardry in Origin Bar’s third menu iteration that’s worth exploration. The question is whether there’s enough magic in it to attract intrepid cocktail hounds to venture to that remote part of Orchard Road.
We think there is.
Origin Grill & Bar (Shangri-La Hotel Singapore)
Address Lobby Level, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10pm Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays