Thirsty? You should be; after all, August in Singapore tends to be a very warm month. Never fear – to help you slake those thirsts our August 2023 edition of Drinkspotting is here, and it shines the spotlight on spanking new cocktail menus at four of Singapore’s cocktail bars that tend towards the playful and whimsical.
If you don’t already know, we love Live Twice for its casual Japanese vintage chic and minimalist cocktails (particularly its heavy-hitting Vesper). The mid-century Ginza-style cocktail bar recently doubled down on its cocktail menu with even more elegant geisha-inspired tipples. There’s Jewel Inlet, an aromatic and fruity take on the Boulevardier, for example, or Flourishing Youth, a refreshing tea-inspired gin highball bursting with notes of plum and apricot.
But what we really enjoyed were Live Twice’s cocktails under its seasonal specials section newly introduced by head bartender David Kim. Pick either Solaris, a layered savoury-sweet gin-based tomato cocktail, or Primrose, a deliciously herbaceous whisky-laced drink with notes of sage, dill, and honey lemon. Or just have both.
And don’t forget to order the signature Japanese-style sandwiches. The Wagyu Katsu Sando is downright unctuous with its juicy steak cutlet, while the Tamago Katsu Sando offers a delicious egg-based alternative.
Live Twice | 18-20 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089834 (Google Maps link) | 6pm to 12am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 6pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays; closed on Tuesdays | livetwice.sg | 9011 8304 | book here
Fairmont Singapore’s cocktail lounge Anti:dote may be better known for its elegant high tea sessions in recent time, but a refreshed focus on cocktails is likely to draw cocktail hounds back. Head Mixologist Kingston Chin has concocted an entirely new cocktail programme that goes back to Anti:dote’s original roots of reimaginging cures and remedies over history as alcoholic tipples.
Seek comfort in the likes of Ancient Love Potion, a fragrant and robust creation made with date-infused baijiu, rosella kombucha, and aromatised wine, or What Do You Want?!, a playful twist on the Negroni Sbagliato that comes in little vials containing butterfly pea-infused rum, sakura vermouth, suze and pear cordial that you can gleefully mix up yourself. Otherwise there’s Pandan Everywhere, a floral rum- and cognac-based panacea imbued with the screwpine leaf, an iconic ingredient in local and regional food cultures.
Prefer something more spirit forward? Try the El Padrino, a cocktail inspired by Mexico. This sweet and smoky libation combines mezcal, smoked honey, cherry berry mix and burnt citrus juice for a powerful Mezcal Sour.
Be sure to avail yourself to Anti:dote’s brand new evening tapas menu, comprising of various quirky finger-friendly fun bar bites such as Hokkaido Scallop Dumpling or Aburi Burrata.
Convivial rum-focused cocktail pub Sugarhall has unveiled fresh drinks under a fun new cocktail section in its menu called ‘Not Too Sweet’. It’s one that is sure to tug at one’s Singaporean childhood memories, with Sugarhall’s Principal Bartender Sam Loh and his team reimagining favourite local non-alcoholic beverages which many of us have grown up with into boozy versions.
Remember bandung, that pink-hued drink made with rose syrup and evaporated we used to find at hawker centres and even school canteens? Here it is turned into Rose, Rosé I Love You, a floral tequila-based cocktail with flavours of lychee and rose, reminiscent of bandung but also reminds one of an off-dry Gewürztraminer. Then there’s Champion Highball, which takes inspiration from a particularly popular chocolate malt beverage because it’s marvellous what Milo can also do for you as a refreshing cocktail. Love your bubble tea? Try Boba Razzi, a creamy and milky gin-based concoction that even comes with Grenadine caviar for those little pops of flavour.
But if you prefer more serious drinks from the rest of the menu? Try the Jungle Sunbird, a playful twist on the Jungle Bird that combines Compendium Spirits’ Ondeh Ondeh Soju with agricole rum, pineapple and lime juices, and comes in a glass rimmed with Campari-infused sugar. Those who like their spirit forward cocktails will dig the Smokey Manhattan or Pornstar Martinez; the former is exactly as its name describes, while the latter is a Martinez and Pornstar Martini hybrid.
Feeling peckish? We love the new snacks menu at Sugarhall that offer elevated bar bite versions of supper favourites. Order the Pepper Fry Chicken Ribs, Vegetable Momos and Indomie. You won’t regret it.
Sugarhall | 19 Cecil St, Level 2, Singapore 049704 (Google Maps link) | 5.30pm to 12am Mondays to Thursdays; 5.30pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays; closed on Sundays | www.sugarhall.sg | 9815 0246 | book here
Smoke & Mirrors
‘The Real Art of Drinking Volume III’, the latest cocktail menu at popular rooftop bar Smoke & Mirrors in National Gallery Singapore, continues its liquid tribute to art. But unlike the previous two editions, the new menu moves beyond celebrating the art pieces of the Southeast Asian art museum to art in general. Each of the 12 wholly new cocktails taps the all manner of art forms – from painting and sculpture to cinema, music and even culinary art – for inspiration.
We did get enamoured by Let’s Get Inked, a delicious take on the classic New York Sour that draws its roots from tattoos and its place in the cultures of America. Otherwise there’s the intense Dawn of Romance, a liberal twist on the classic bitter Negroni imagined as a tribute to San Minn’s surrealist painting Age of Full Bloom.
Those who enjoy their smokier cocktails should consent to try Kiss of Revival. A reference to the fairy tale Snow White, this deeply complex concoction – served in a mini cauldron! – is surprisingly spirited with its VSOP cognac, tequila and Cointreau base. As a hat tip to movies? There’s License to Kill, obviously referring to fictional spy James Bond. This twist on the Gimlet offers oolong tea notes and hints of smoke with a touch of mildly peated whisky.
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 | 9380 6313 | book here
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