The Singapore cocktail scene is more vibrant than it’s ever been, with mainstays like The Regent Singapore’s Manhattan, swanky joint Atlas and speakeasy 28 Hong Kong Street consistently placing – and highly, at that – on the long-running World’s Best Bars list. Indeed, keeping things inventive is the name of the game in cocktails, with ol’ faithfuls like your garden-variety margarita or martini simply no longer cutting it.
To satisfy curious tastebuds we’ve rounded up some of the most unusual cocktails you can find on Singapore menus. Salud.
This Amoy Street bar is for the adventurous drinker in all of us. All about regionally-sourced and foraged ingredients – and we’re talking everything from fruit to insects (they previously had a drink that incorporated weaver ants) – these guys are constantly reinventing what you think you know about cocktails.
One of their latest creations is The Peranakan ($23++), a jackfruit rum infusion with laksa leaves, candlenut, palm sugar, pandan and homegrown goats’ milk. The enzymes in the jackfruit cause the milk to split, creating a clear cocktail, which also incorporates blue pea flowers which are traditionally used in Peranakan cuisine as a food dye.
Who knew drinking could be educational?
Native is at 52A Amoy Street, Singapore 069878. For reservations, call 8869-6520.
2. Nutmeg & Clove
For a historical twist to your night out, hit up Nutmeg & Clove in Chinatown, which has a cocktail menu inspired by Singapore’s first British resident and commandant William Farquhar’s collection of natural history drawings depicting the flora and fauna of our Lion City.
Unique Singapore flavours come through in some very creative ways in drinks such as This Is Crab! ($22++), an umami delight featuring vermouth, sake, crab stock, tomato consomme, oyster leaf and caviar.
There’s also the highly-popular whisky-based Scotch & Chips ($22++), which incorporates house-made clarified sweet potato and coconut milk and is served with sweet potato chips on the side.
Nutmeg & Clove is at 10A Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069789, tel: 9389 9301.
3. Holey Moley
By now, you’ve probably come across this two-storey mini-golf club in Clarke Quay on your Instagram feed, thanks to its irresistibly Insta-worthy pop culture props and unusual decor. But that Insta-worthiness extends, too, to its drink offerings, which include a range of colourful cocktails with some serious bells and whistles.
Those with a sweet tooth will go gaga for Electric Blue ($21++), an immense turquoise number comprising blue curacao, Ketel One Citron, tequila, cointreau, lemon juice and lemonade. Its eye-popping garnishes include a vanilla-frosted rim with Nerd candy, whipped cream, a sweets tower and “some sprinkly magic”, according to their website.
Holey Moley is at 3B River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179024, tel: 3129 0000.
4. Eph518 Cocktail Bar
Taking up the cosy attic space of Holland Village’s d’Good Cafe, this newly-opened cocktail bar boasts a range of coffee- and tea-infused cocktails, as well as bespoke mocktails for those who prefer their bevvies booze-free.
Stir Me Wide Awake ($17++) comprises whisky infused with Pu’er tea and black sesame, tequila infused with coffee beans, rum and chocolate bitters. And for that ‘wow’ factor (cameras at the ready), it is served in a smoking bell.
Other quirky drinks include Bangkok In A Glass ($17++), a tom yum cocktail with salted molecular foam, and Golden Guk Bo ($17++), an alcoholic version of the popular Chinese tea.
Eph518 is at 273 Holland Ave, Singapore 278992, tel: 6219 9807.
5. Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
Local flavours rule at this Boat Quay hole-in-the-wall, which doesn’t have a traditional menu. But ask the bartender for a recommendation and he’ll likely rattle off familiar Singapore terms like Kopi O Gao ($24+), made of whisky, coffee-infused vermouth and walnut bitters, or Laksa ($24+), which contains vodka given an umami boost through a hae bee (dried shrimp) fat wash. Yum.
They also have a bar food menu if you feel like some indulging atas coffeeshop favourites, including goh hiang and fried carrot cake.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall is at 60A Boat Quay, Singapore 049848, tel: 6535 0838.
6. The Monarchy
Anglophiles will lap up the regal atmosphere of this brand-new “quintessentially British” Tanjong Pagar establishment – and even better if you’re a music lover too, as cocktails are named after Britpop classics here, from The Smiths’ This Charming Man to The Who’s My Generation.
The former ($22++) is an interesting concoction of gin, milk wash, black tea and peach liqueur served in the daintiest of tea cups (with shortbread on the side, no less) while the latter ($22++) packs a bit of punch with rum, apple liqueur, lemon and chilli.
The Monarchy is at 56 Tras Street, Singapore 078995, tel: 9800 3787.
Located on the second level of The Penny Black on Boat Quay, beGIN’s cocktail menu mirrors its British-Indian food menu, which translates into some deliciously fragrant and unconventional tipples.
Their signature item, the Jagmohan ($25) is a theatrical affair: It’s actually a platter consisting of a heady cardomom-infused-gin-based cocktail, a side of fried crisps with chili and ginger chutney and some dry ice with mixed spices, the smell of which wafts up to your nostrils before you even take your first sip, adding depth to what is a truly unique multi-sensory affair.
beGIN is at 26/27 Boat Quay (Level 2), Singapore 049817, tel: 6538 0584.
Travel around the world with cocktails from this newly opened retro-luxe bar that is named after Idlewild Airport, now known as the John F. Kennedy International Airport. The 20 special concoction here all come with an interesting twist, inspired by cities found up and down the transatlantic route. Try Sugarloaf, a tropical drink of pineapple rum and cognac swirled with house pineapple tepache, tamarind and citrus. It’s served with a miniature “taco” assembled using pineapple leather and pickled watermelon rind for a refreshing experience.
Idlewild is at Lobby Level, InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966, tel: 6825 1045.