Going on a liquid diet this weekend? We’ve got 4 great bars Bars that whip up some mean cocktails and shots with their spirits!
1. THE SPIFFY DAPPER – for gins
Unlike some cookie-cutter cocktail bars, you get the sense that The Spiffy Dapper is just too cool to care that its furniture doesn’t match, the space is cluttered, and eclectic artworks and lighting fixtures adorn the wall. But what it does care about, it does very, very well. Here, owner Abhishek Cherian George’s prized collection of 80 gin brands take centre stage. He says: “I probably have every brand from every distributor in Singapore.” Taste-tested over a period of more than three months, each gin has been painstakingly matched with the best tonic water and garnishes for what the bar staff think is the best flavour combo. All these are then scribbled onto a very comprehensive chart of recipes. So, while you may not be getting a truly bespoke drink, the bartender is confident of pairing you with a tipple (from $16) you’ll enjoy.
61 Boat Quay, Level 2, tel: 8233-9810
2. BUYAN – for vodkas
No other spirit is arguably more synonymous with Russia than vodka. So, naturally, it’s the star of Russian restaurant Buyan’s well-stocked bar. At any one time, it offers about 50 brands of vodkas from as far as Eastern Europe (Ukrainian and Polish vodkas feature heavily) and Russia (of course) to Kazakhstan (which produces a quirky bottle named Snow Queen). At Buyan, which has its own infusions that use whatever fresh herbs and fruits bar staff can get, all shots of vodka (from $11) are served straight from the freezer that’s kept at -16 deg C to preserve what’s apparently the most balanced flavour profile. For more sophisticated guzzling, Buyan’s cocktail menu (from $16) features a decent range of Russian-inspired potions, like Szalotka ($16), a Bison Grass vodka-based tipple with fresh green apple juice. Dessert lovers will be dizzy with delight on sipping the Black Russian ($16), which has chunks of dark chocolate.
9 Duxton Hill, tel: 6223-7008
3. THE AULD ALLIANCE – for whiskies
First-timers to The Auld Alliance may be taken aback by the sight of over 1,500 brands of whiskies (from major, boutique and even defunct distilleries) lined up against every wall. And then there’s the matter of its intimidating, almost overwhelmingly masculine vibe. But, despite the gentlemen’s-club-style dark-wood-panelled cabinets and matching chesterfield sofas, The Auld Alliance is welcoming of both newcomers and connoisseurs. And this includes regular female clientele, who come in solo for a glass of whisky at the bar. Order one of its 29 themed and distillery specific tasting flights (from $35 for four portions). If you aren’t quite ready to take the plunge into drinking your whisky neat, there’s also a selection of whisky cocktails (from $18). Prices for individual glasses of over 200 labels from around the world start at $14, but can go all the way to $285 for a dram (40ml) of French owner Emmanuel Dron’s pride and joy: a first-batch bottle of Chivas Regal 1801.
#02-02A Rendezvous Hotel Gallery, tel: 6337-2201
4. SUGARHALL – for rums
Opening a new bar next to another you already own takes guts, but it’s surely a calculated move by Jigger & Pony. Unlike the more formal Jigger & Pony, which serves mostly classic cocktails, Sugarhall has cleverly carved out a niche for itself with a vibrant party ambience and respectable rum collection. Expect over 60 types, sourced from as far away as Jamaica and Barbados to Cuba as well as Guatemala, and limited editions like the Diplomatico Single Vintage 2000 and Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada 2013. With this collection as his arsenal, head bartender Aki Eguchi and his team have designed over half of the cocktails on the menu ($22 each). And, just like the ones at Jigger & Pony, these are generously alcoholic and well-balanced. The Muaythai Punch, for example, yields a complex taste profile of spiced rum, absinthe bitters, and Thai milk tea. Order the Mai-Tai ala Sugarhall, if only for the accompanying theatrics – it comes to you literally on fire. For serious rum aficionados, we say have it straight up in 45ml jiggers ($15-$58) or by the bottle ($160-$640).
102 Amoy Street, tel: 6222-9102
Want to learn more about what’s in your cocktail? Read on…
By Tan Min Yan, Her World, November 2014