The Spirited Singapore team looks at what’s interesting in the drinks, dining, travel, and hospitality scenes in Singapore and around the region in February.

By all accounts, Singapore may be facing some headwinds in its hospitality and dining industries despite a recent slew of hotel and restaurant openings. But a resurgence of travel across the region – and Taylor Swift’s series of concerts  – is set to inject some much needed visitors into the Lion City to boost receipts.

Speaking of travel, there’s been a spate of new hotel openings around the region, which we look at in this issue. We also check out some of new drops such as the first-ever Penfolds Grange collaboration as well as an interesting new gin from Bombay Sapphire.

fukuju sake


  • Report card: Japan’s 2023 sake exports

According to the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS), despite a dip in total global exports of sake in 2023 – down 19% year-on-year – in terms of volume, average export unit price has actually reached a record high while total export value hit approximately 1.8 times that of 2019, at 41.1 billion yen. Asia continues to show its love for sake by accounting for 67% of total export value, with China and Hong Kong leading the demand. South Korea and Taiwan, which comes in at fourth and fifth biggest markets in Asia, show great potential by seeing substantial revenue growth with year-on-year increases of 15% and 20% respectively.

  • Vinexpo Asia returns to Hong Kong for its 2024 edition

Leading regional wine show Vinexpo Asia will return to Hong Kong this year after a first-ever appearance in Singapore last year. Vinexpo Asia, which first launched in Hong Kong 26 years ago to connect the wine trade in Asia, now alternates between Hong Kong and Singapore. Vinexpo Asia in Hong Kong has a strong focus on China, while catering to key import markets in Asia such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Vinexpo Asia 2024 will take place 28-30 May at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center (HKCEC), with an expected attendance of 10,000 trade visitors, comprising importers, wholesalers, distributors, wine merchants, retailers, hoteliers and restaurateurs.

Danny Yip of The Chairman in Hong Kong

Drinks & Dining

  • The Chairman’s Danny Yip picks up ‘Icon Award’ Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024 

Hong Kong chef and restauranteur Danny Yip of The Chairman (pictured above) has been named winner of the Icon Award as part of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2024. Yip was lauded for his work championing Cantonese cuisine on the world stage, with The Chairman in Hong Kong the first-ever Chinese restaurant to be crowned No.1 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list back in 2021, as well as a spot in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants last year.

  • Esquina celebrates its 12th anniversary in style

Contemporary Spanish restaurant Esquina is marking its 12th year in Singapore’s ultra-competitive dining scene with a year-long celebration that will see monthly collaborations with 12 esteemed chefs from Singapore and around the world. Across the course of the year, Executive Chef Carlos Montobbio will work alongside the likes of Jordi Artal of two Michelin-starred Cinc Sentits from Barcelona, Antonio Oviedo of Hong Kong’s 22 Ships, Mano Thevar from Thevar, Hashida’s Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida, and Rishi Naleendra of Cloudstreet and Kotuwa, among others, for exclusive 12-course menus that will blend the distinct culinary style of Chef Carlos with that of his guest chef. For the month of March, pizza maestro Antonio Miscellaneo of La Bottega Enoteca, will take the stage alongside Chef Carlos. Reservations required.

  • Manhattan lovers to fly high on the wings of Angel’s Envy

Currently taking across town is Angel’s Envy’s ‘Take on a Manhattan Challenge’, which sees some 20 cocktail venues across town feature their take on the classic Manhattan for February and March using Angel’s Envy premium bourbon that’s been aged in port wine casks. So if love a good Manhattan, head to participating bars such as Barbary Coast, Close Shave, Manhattan Bar, NightHawk, Plume at Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore, Sago House, Stay Gold Flamingo, and Writer’s Bar at Raffles Singapore.

Lanson Place Causeway Bay - Entrance


  • Lanson Place Causeway Bay in Hong Kong reopens after substantial refurbishment

Hong Kong’s homgrown hotel and serviced residence operator Lanson Place is set to reopen its flagship property Causeway Bay after extensive renovations. It has tapped world-renowned designer Peirre-Yves Rochon to reimagine the entire space, who has added an understated French elegance to its 188 rooms and suites. New meeting areas and work-friendly spaces offer business travellers and digital nomads flexibility and convenience, while its location in vibrant Causeway Bay makes the refurbished property an attractive option for epicureans and culture seekers

  • Penang Marriott Hotel opens in the Pearl of the Orient

Marriott Hotels debuts its first-ever hotel in Penang, Malaysia with the opening of Penang Marriott Hotel. Located along the city’s prime seafront location of Gurney Drive, the new property houses 223 luxurious rooms that offer a picturesque coastline view of the Andaman Sea. For epicureans, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant Sago, Italian restaurant Kucina, as well as its bar and lounge Greatroom, are all new venues to explore and sample.

  • Moxy Hotels debuts in Thailand with Moxy Bangkok Ratchaprasong

Travellers to Bangkok has a new accommodation option with the opening of Moxy Bangkok Ratchaprasong. The new property near Pathum Wan introduces Moxy Hotels’ signature fun and playful vibes to the commercial and shopping heart of Thailand’s captivating capital city, offering 503 sleek guest rooms that “combine functionality and flexibility with edgy detail”, including Moxy’s signature Stellar Works foldable chairs, and smart features like peg walls. For dining there’s Moxy Bar & Restaurant, while a chic rooftop bar is set to open soon.

Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train - Ludovic Balay
[Image credit: Ludovic Balay]


  • The Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, Southeast Asia restarts operations

The Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, Southeast Asia made its first journey earlier this February since a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The iconic train’s 15 dark green carriages – which starts off in Singapore and takes in destinations such as Penang and Langkawi – offer a luxurious form of train travel that combines culture and class while traipsing the length and breadth of Southeast Asia. There’s quite a bit of gastronomy as well, with award-winning Chef André Chiang recently installed as its new culinary curator and even a bespoke Solaire Journey built around an immersive Veuve Clicquot experience.

Product Releases

  • Penfolds releases limited-edition Grange as reimagined by NIGO

Penfolds has tied up with iconic streetwear pioneer and KENZO designer NIGO for its first-ever limited edition Penfolds Grange. Grange by NIGO celebrates Penfolds’ 180th anniversary and pays tribute to the award-winning wine in NIGO’s signature style, featuring a bold and colourful grape graphic and Penfolds logo reimagined by NIGO. This limited edition 2019 Grange comes in 750ml and 1.5L gift box releases, with just 1,500 and 150 units available respectively.

  • Bombay Sapphire Premier Cru Murcian Lemon

Premium gin brand Bombay Sapphire has introduced in the Singapore market the Bombay Sapphire Premier Cru Murcian Lemon. Bombay Sapphire’s first-ever ‘premier cru’ – effectively a top-end expression – taps lemons from the best Spanish suppliers and farmers in Murcia for a citrus-forward bittersweet yet balanced taste. Expect to find this tasty gin used in some of the best cocktail bars across town in a refreshing gin and tonic or classics such as a French 75 or a dry Martini.

  • The Macallan Home Collection, River Spey makes a splash

The Macallan has dropped the second release of its limited-edition annual The Macallan Home Collection series that pay homage to The Macallan Estate. The Macallan Home Collection, River Spey is a liquid hat tip to the River Spey from which the Speyside region gets its name, and taps renowned British photo-realist artist Michelle Lucking to design a unique watercolour to adorn its label. Each bottle retails for S$752 at The Macallan E-Boutiques from 29 February 2024.

  • Inter Rice Asia brings in Tengumai sake

Ishikawa Prefecture’s Tengumai by Shata Shuzo makes a highly-anticipated return to Singapore with the appointment of Inter Rice Asia as its official distributor here. Named for the dancing mythical creatures with red faces and long noses in Japanese folklore, Tengumai is a well-respected brand known for its premium sakes. Sake lovers can soon expect to find Tengumai Junmai Daiginjo and Junmai Yamahai in stores and restaurants islandwide.

  • Chang Cold Brew bubbles its way to Singapore

Beer aficionados, take note. Leading Thai beer brand Chang has launched yet a new expression in Singapore. Following recently introduced Chang Espresso Lager, Chang Cold Brew – officially launched in Thailand back in 2019 to celebrate Chang’s 25th anniversary – uses a cold filtration process where the beer is filtered at sub-zero temperatures to create a crisp and easy-drinking beer. Much like Tiger Crystal, actually. Chang Cold Brew will be exclusively sold at Thai Supermarket Singapore.

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