What do coffee, baijiu, pi pa gao and truffle have in common this month? They’re in the drinks and cocktails served at these new watering holes located in the heart of town.
Taking over from Vasco is 60-seater The Cooperage, a whisky bar with a food menu. Its highlight is a list of whiskies such as Glengoyne, Inchmurrin, Singleton of Dufftown and Glenfiddich priced by its respective age, at $12, $15, $18 and $21 per 30ml pour. For the adventurous, the Fine & Rare collection includes the Bowmore 30YO Sea Dragon ($4,988) and four bottlings of Port Ellen (from $5,388). Some of the dishes are smooth matches for a dram in hand, such as the shishamo mentai with a lighter Lowlands Auchentoshan 12YO, or the wasabi octopus, imported from Japan and sous-vided with a sherried Glenfarclas 12YO. Though the selection of entry level official bottlings are quite large, the Fine & Rare selection is limited at the moment but is projected to grow in the coming months. VIPs and regulars who spend $2,000 within a month can lay claim to a personalised locker to store their unfinished whiskies for six months. 42 Hong Kong Street. Tel: 8699 9366
It’s more than just Irish Coffee at 78 Alkofelic. The coffee-focused cocktail bar along Purvis Street is home to an extensive menu of original, buzzy tipples. A unique (and secret) blend forms the base for the The Post Cocktail ($15), a winning concoction of port wine and cognac, and Insomniac ($15). The latter is essentially a hazelnut latte with a kick of vodka. Not to be missed is the Flying Singaporean ($15), which mellows the bitter notes of the coffee with the anise-flavoured absinthe. #01-01, 6 Purvis Street. Tel: 9275 9864
Meet ‘Mona’, the third wife referenced in adjoining Sum Yi Tai bar’s Cantonese name. This private second floor cocktail lounge exudes Hong Kong glam, complete with mahjong tables and cosy leather loungers that are a respite from the main space below. Head bartender Byron Tan and group chief bartender Sam Wong have crafted mood-specific cocktails that tell Mona’s story. The Lady’s Elixir (all drinks $22) is a zero calorie refresher to start off (yes, it has practically no sugars) comprising Remy Martin VSOP, monkfruit soda and seasalt drops. Mona is evidently more of a fan of spirit forward drinks though, and the Songstress is a pi pa gao, Bulleit Rye and Angostura bitters medley of rich complexity (it’s also very Instagrammable). Dangerous Romance is a firm favourite, its topping of bak kwa bringing together a tipsy, bracing concoction of Epsolon Blanco tequila, triple sec and tomato shrub. Access is granted by a special code from Sum Yi Tai. 25 Boon Tat Street. Tel: 6221 3665
After a successful first edition titled Norma which celebrated all things agave and Mexican, the latest concept at Junior is Magnolia, which encapsulates New Orleans in a glass. The Big Easy city is wired in its crossroads culture, giving birth to cocktails like Sazerac, Ramos Gin Fizz and Brandy Crusta over a century ago. Immerse yourself in the décor depicting Southern gothic, the playlist with its jazz, blues, and calypso genres, and the food, featuring a daily Po’ Boy ($12), Dirty Rice Balls with cheesy pimento dip ($10), and fresh fried beignets ($12). Most of all, settle in because the extensive drinks menu divided into four categories will keep you intrigued under head bartender Peter Chua. Ramos Gin Fizz ($25) eschews the fabled 20 minutes of shaking, instead using a blender, to get the perfect frothy texture from Citadelle gin, fresh cream and citrus. Truffled Sazerac ($25) is an icon worth revisiting, thanks to its bracing blend of absinthe, Willett rye and Pierre Ferrand Chestnut Barrel brandy, finished softly with a black truffle bitters on the nose. 43 Tanjong Pagar Road. Tel: 8121 1462
Spice World Hot Pot Patio
Missed World Baijiu Day, which fell on 9 August? Not to worry – Spice World Hot Pot is celebrating the opening of their new outdoor patio with a fully stocked Baijiu bar. The al fresco space now sports specially designed furnishings for groups to gather before or after dinner at the Sichuan restaurant. Chinese master taster Xu Huan was in town to lead a tasting of three of China’s most popular Baijiu brands – Moutai, Wuliangye and National Cellar Guojiao 1573. The latter especially has a velvety, nutty aniseed flavour – the result of extensive blending of sorghum grain liquor aged for decades – that works well with Sichuan style hotpot. Till 30 August, the restaurant is serving up Moutai at $329 (usual price $369), Wuliangye at $329 (usual price $369) and National Cellar Guojiao at $299 (usual price $329). Drink it neat in the provided shot glasses, with plenty of food on hand. #01-06/07, 3B River Valley Road, Clarke Quay. Tel: 6265 9777