As a cocktail capital, bars in Singapore run the gamut — from underground drinking dens to upscale Art Deco lobby lounges. This month’s edition of new cocktail bars and menus feature playful, Cantonese-style twists on classic cocktails, low ABV tipples for day-drinking, and tropical libations on a CBD rooftop oasis.
A new whisky temple has opened its doors, this time in Marina Square. About 400 whisky brands line its shelves, including some of the world’s most prestigious single cask and limited edition bottles. Yet, Malts functions more than just a bar, doubling up as a restaurant with a complementary (and comprehensive) menu. Try the sautéed prawns in spicy garlic olive oil as well as the grilled squid with soffrito. Both are best paired with the Deanston, a smooth, mellow whisky with fruity and vanilla notes.
Platform straddles the line between cafe and bar, but this duality is part of its charm. Outfitted in minimalist white interiors with accents of brown, its aim is to “redefine the way we drink, with less”. This isn’t the place to be if you’re looking for intoxication, even though day-drinking is the core of its philosophy. Its cocktails are low ABV, with each tipple presenting an inventive take on unique ingredient pairings. The standouts on its menu include Rose, which fuses London dry gin with rose water, ginger beer, and peach puree, as well as Osmanthus, a bourbon drink with chocolate shrubs and osmanthus bitters for a nutty and bold flavour.
In the heart of the CBD lies a rooftop oasis perched atop OUE Downtown Gallery. A pastel-coloured tropical wonderland, the space is decked in rattan furnishings, and surrounded by foliage. By day, it’s a healthy lunch spot with plant-based options and grain bowls. By night, it transforms into a drink destination with refreshing cocktails, craft beers, champagnes and wines. Accompanying your tipples are live acoustic music on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, as well as vegetarian bar snacks like fried curry okra, broccoli tempura, and fried polenta with caramelised onions.
Slink over to Mona Lounge if you want to be transported to Hong Kong in the ’80s. The back-room bar of Sum Yi Tai is heavy on nostalgia, with old Cantonese vinyls and a cocktail menu that pays homage to the era.
Its latest three-course cocktail menu puts three tipples at its centre. Kick off your night with the Longevity Spitzer, an alternative take on the highball with its chrysanthemum infused gin, Suze and tonic. Then, move on to the Yuen Yueng, a Chinese-style White Russian with Oolong-infused rum, Kahlua and milk foam. Finally, the Homemade Soup is a spin on the Dry Martini, with chrysanthemum gin, Lillet Blanc, Benedictine Dom, wolf berries and dried tangerine.
The booze doesn’t stop at the drinks section — the desserts here are heavy on spirits too. The Sweet Soup transforms the traditional cheng tng with whisky, longan vermouth, and pandan syrup, while Herbal Remedy combines whisky, campari, and blanco vermouth with osmanthus honey and flower, with gui ling gao.
If you ever needed A Guide to Modern Drinking, Tippling Club has got you sorted. Listed as number 11 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars, the latest menu here is conceptualised by founder Ryan Clift and head bartender Andrew Loudon. It takes inspiration from the life and legend of Georges Auguste Escoffier, the French culinary giant who shot to fame with a directorship at Savoy Hotel and who left behind a legacy, as the man who introduced a la carte dining to the world and lobbied for women to legally dine in public.
The menu’s literal ode to Escoffier is Melba Toast, created for Australian operatic soprano Nellie Melba during her stay at Savoy Hotel, and features an amalgamation of toasted sourdough milk, barley, amaro, and rum.
In the same vein, the bar’s tipples reference Escoffier’s career and contributions. Titanic is an ode to how he cared for the widows and children of his staff who perished in the devastation. Marsala, scotch, vermouth and white port make up the concoction. White Truffles in Winter is a boozy re-imagination of the novel about Escoffier, with orange blossom, popcorn, sherry, and champagne.