Feeling parched? Our August 2022 edition of Drinkspotting shines the spotlight on spanking new cocktail menus at some of Singapore’s favourite cocktail bars.
Time flies. We’re already past the halfway mark for 2022, which likely means there are many things on our to-do list this year that we’ve not crossed off. Such as trying all the new cocktails that’s just been introduced around town!
This part of the year usually sees our favourite watering holes introduce revamped menus with fresh new cocktails to pique our tippling interest, and 2022 is no different. Here’s a look at four recently-introduced or new cocktail menus we recommend you slake your thirst with.
28 HongKong Street
Not one, not two, but a whopping four new cocktail menus. That’s what pioneering Singapore speakeasy cocktail bar 28 HongKong Street recently unveiled. The idea is simple – each new cocktail menu actually represents a differentiated bar concept, offering wildly different styles of drinks from each other.
There’s Sin & Misery at the Oldham, which replicates the kind of tipples you’d expect from a swanky hotel bar. Or how about Halogen, its interpretation of the drinks from a flashy nightclub? Then there’s the honky tonk-themed watering hole Brenda’s Bad Hand, and, of course, 28 HongKong Street’s very own speakeasy approach.
Fans of the classic Old Fashioned will enjoy the 28 Old Fashioned from Brenda’s Bad Hand, a no-nonsense take with Michter’s Bourbon, sugar and pecan bitters, while Vodka-Cran-22 from Halogen is an elevated version of that vodka cranberry juice concoction we used to get smashed on in clubs. Enjoy a fun drink? The Guava Spicy Margarita from 28’s own list borrows flavours from our favourite guava, sour plum and chilli street snack. But if you prefer a serious – and seriously stiff – cocktail, the Brick Lane Martini from Sin & Misery will set you right.
Smoke & Mirrors
Life continues to imitate art at Smoke & Mirrors. Its latest cocktail menu is ‘The Real Art of Drinking Volume II’, and the latest edition continues its drawing of inspiration from different art pieces in exhibited within the National Gallery Singapore. The bar team apparently deep-dived into various paintings in the gallery’s permanent collection, and then interpreted them into liquid art.
Which can be esoteric, but fun if you’re a dilettante of Asian art. There’s Kaleidoscope, a rum-based punch bursting with berry notes inspired by local artist Choy Weng Yang’s seminal piece ‘Horizontals’. Otherwise there’s Monkey God, a whiskey sour based on Chen Wen Hsi’s ‘Two Gibbon Amidst Vines’ art piece. For something punchier, there’s The Manhattan Project, a turbo-charged take on an Old Fashioned using bourbon fat-washed with chocolate and butterscotch, Cynar, Lillet Blanc, Aperol and bitters. Its muse? ‘Dancing Mutants’ by Filipino artist Hernando R. Ocampo.
Our favourite though is Magic Queen, inspired by Thai contemporary artist Pinaree Sanpitak’s 1997 piece ‘Smiling Body’. It comes with some theatrics too, which one would expect from Smoke & Mirrors.
Smoke & Mirrors | 1 St. Andrew’s Road, #06-01 National Gallery Singapore, Singapore 178957 (Google Maps link) | 6pm to 12am Mondays to Wednesdays; 6pm to 1am on Thursdays to Saturdays; 5pm to 12mn on Sundays | smokeandmirrors.com.sg | 8318 0328
Waterfront restaurant and bar Caffe Fernet doubles down on its new Italian theme with a wholly-reengineered beverage programme. Newly-installed principal bartender Silvio Daniele – moved from sister bar Gibson under the Jigger & Pony Group umbrella – has put together a burgeoning cocktail menu of a whopping 17 cocktails and two punch bowls to suit your drinking pleasure for any time in the day.
Indeed, the new drinks are classified under six sections, with each category representing a specific time period such as ‘Day Drinking is Cool’, ‘It’s Always 5pm in Italy’, and ‘One for the Road’. We absolutely loved the Breakfast Martini, a martini/milk punch hybrid made with vodka, orange marmalade, and English Breakfast tea that’s a lot more refreshing than it sounds. To wash off the heat of the day, we recommend you go with the Lemon Cooler, a fresh and citrusy highball made with gin, limoncello, lemon juice, and topped off with ginger ale.
Fabulously fun and fruity is the Raspberry Margarita, which also comes in pitcher form that’s perfect for sharing. For something stronger, Caffe Fernet’s retweaked Classic Negroni – now reimagined with Gin Del Professore – will hit the spot.
Oh, don’t forget the eats at Caffe Fernet. They’ve refreshed their food menu as well; we particularly enjoyed the tataki-style Charred Kingfish topped with sturgeon roe, as well as the Burrata tossed with corn nibblets and a melange of other greens.
Pocket-size Robertson Walk bar Lil’ Tiger not only gets a menu revamp, it also gets a theme makeover. What was once a more cosy speakeasy focused on classic cocktails and elevated bar bites is now a rowdy disco-themed watering hole with a range of more familiar drinks-friendly grub.
It’s certainly more fun and edgy with its new throbbing disco vibe! Their new cocktails are inspired by popular disco hits. There’s Last Dance, a twist on the Manhattan that comes smoked and laced with some absinthe for a heavier hit. Ring My Bell is a gin sour that’s a combination of sweet, floral and herbal, while Macho Man is a layered whisky highball with notes of spiced pear. There are some lovely signature cocktails too – we like Callista and Carmencita – and, of course, a range of classics if you don’t want to try anything fancier.
Its revamped food menu includes many favourites that looks like they belong to a sports bar, but which you’ll absolutely welcome with your drinks. Their Guacamole & Chips and Salsa & Chips – as well as a selection of tacos – can rival those from Mexican joints. There’s spread of burgers to choose from, with the Fish Burger – effectively a fancier Filet O’ Fish – being our favourite. There’s surprisingly an old-school Pork Schnitzel on the menu as well, an absolutely throwback to the ’90s disco era. You’ll need to work those calories off on the absolutely cramped disco floor, though!
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