Last Word is an uncomplicated, minimalist cocktail bar that combines Japanese elegance and Nordic simplicity in the form of classic cocktails.
- (verb) The final remark in a verbal exchange;
- (noun) An almost forgotten Prohibition-era cocktail typically made with gin, green Chartreuse, lime juice and maraschino liqueur;
- (noun) A newly-opened cocktail bar named after the classic cocktail.
The Last Word may just be the very paragon of Japanese 渋い (shibui), or elegant simplicity. The cocktail bar, tucked on an upper floor of a Purvis Street shophouse, not only drips with understated contemporary minimalism but also looks like tidying expert Marie Kondo had swept through it with a vengeance. Twice.
Opened by the same folks behind Nutmeg & Clove – it is, in fact, located right above the quirky cocktail bar focused on Singapore flavours – the bar is built to what founder Colin Chia describes as ‘Nordic Zen’ that’s been applied to someone’s living room. It’s almost stark – there’s no back bar showcase, for example. No table toppers promoting (brand sponsored) seasonal creations either. In fact, nothing at Last Word seemed out of place; everything that’s there serves a purpose.
This concept, you’ll quickly discover, extends to its cocktails.
Last Word is, of course, inspired by the classic cocktail of the same name, and the menu is a small but concisely-curated list focused around similar classics put together by Chia and Group GM Shelley Tai. The namesake Last Word is textbook – gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino, and lime – and a must-order. Such simplicity, but hiding so much complexity with its flavours.
If you don’t want to start with something that potent, the Champagne Cocktail or Bloody Mary will do the trick. The former sounds deceptively elementary – it’s cognac, bitters, sugar, and topped off with Ruinart – but is as layered as any other drink here, while the Bloody Mary here will change your mind about Bloody Marys. Their concoction sees fresh cherry tomatoes shaken up vigorously with gin, lime and a spice mix, and manages to taste like a cocktail instead of trumped up V8 juice.
But strong, punchy classic cocktails are their forte. We couldn’t fault the Sidecar, their basic Martini, or their Old Fashioned (the latter of which you can even pick between the use of bourbon or rye to suit your taste preference).
There are some seasonal cocktails; here’s where the Last Word gets a bit of creative licence. The Wakame, for example, is a seaweed twist on the Saketini; this is an umami bomb that will please those who love their Martinis dirty. There’s a dessert cocktail section too, for those with sweeter preferences. Consider the Strawberry, which is essentially a Japanese strawberry cheesecake reinvented as an English milk punch.
Food options are uncomplicated too. You get to snack on Japanese bar-friendly fare such as gyoza, grilled wagyu, kaki furai, or even some oden, in between sips. Trust me, you’ll need them to line your stomach.
By now you’ll realise that cocktails here aren’t wrought to the point of over-complication. There is no superfluous ingredient or technique. Instead, flavour is paramount.
It’s pure 渋い.
If Last Word was created to – as Chia puts it – “rekindle the romance of classic cocktails in a minimalist setting“, consider us to be in love.
Address 8 Purvis St, #02-01, Singapore 188587 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 5pm to 12am Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays
Tel (65) 9187 5719