Last Updated: December 13, 2019
Cocktail concoctions have been getting more adventurous over the years, but nothing quite compares to these uniquely Singaporean cocktails. You may love our local Singaporean dishes, but can you stomach a bak kut teh cocktail?
Here are 10 cocktails inspired by local dishes and iconic drinks in Singapore that make for interesting, boozy renditions. Think chicken rice, laksa, and even a chilli crab cocktail! Disclaimer: These aren’t for the faint of heart (or stomach).
New kid on the block, Amrith, has been shaking up Singapore’s cocktail scene. If you thought you knew Singapore-inspired cocktails, think again.
Amrith’s Katong Laksa ($26) literally takes a bowl of actual laksa and transforms it into alcoholic heaven.
Just from the looks of it, you probably would never guess that this is a cocktail. Innocuous-looking on the surface, the laksa broth actually contains vodka. Of course, the taste is what matters and kid you not, this cocktail really tasted like spiked laksa!
By fat-washing the vodka with dried shrimp, this laksa cocktail brims with savoury prawn flavour. It may sound weird, but the flavours really tied well together. The best way to enjoy this? Eat it (drink it?) as if it was actual laksa, with a bit of vermicelli and cocktail ‘soup’ in each spoonful.
And yes, it is hiam (spicy)! It may not be 328 Katong Laksa standard, but considering the yummy vodka in it, all is forgiven.
Naturally, there had to be a cocktail on this list that features one of Singapore’s national dishes, chicken rice! While there are more than a few renditions, Amrith‘s Hainanese Chicken Rice ($26) cocktail has truly captured the magic of this local favourite.
The cocktail is made up of sesame-washed rye, ginger liqueur, calamansi juice and even chilli padi to recreate the complex flavours of chicken rice. It’s even sprayed with sesame and shallot oil on top to replicate the fragrance!
And that’s not all. You know how you should never drink on an empty stomach? That won’t be an issue here as Amrith’s Hainanese Chicken Rice is served with a bowl of actual Hainanese chicken! Finish off each sip of the cocktail with a piece of succulent chicken to enjoy this at its best.
If you aren’t a chicken, go ahead and give Amrith’s unique Hainanese Chicken Rice cocktail a shot!
Coffee-addicts, rejoice! If work has been a bummer, here’s how you can drink on the job without your boss knowing. Rooftop bar, Loof, has taken our traditional Nanyang kopi and made it better with their Kopi Cat ($19++) cocktail.
The boozy kopi is even served in a da bao bag contained in an enamel cup that gives it an old-school charm. Just like traditional coffee, this cocktail is aromatic, with a sweet blend of salted caramel-infused vodka, hazelnut, condensed milk and actual kopi.
So if your morning cup isn’t strong enough, Loof’s Kopi Cat cocktail might just be the thing for you. I only wonder how people drink this at night and still manage to fall asleep.
Hidden speakeasy bar Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall is famous for pushing the limits with their Singapore-inspired cocktails. I know I love my bak kut teh, but a piping hot cup of bak kut teh cocktail? Surely, they’ve lost their minds!
Like any good bowl of bak kut teh, the flavours in this Bak Kut Teh ($24+) cocktail boils down to the soup. The broth is boiled for half a day with chicken bones, herbs, soya sauce and black & white peppers. Then, the bartender adds rye to it. WTF?
It might seem odd, but this cocktail actually blew me away! Kid you not, this tasted just like herbal bak kut teh while the rye added smoothness and a bit of spiciness to the mix.
There’s even a crisp piece of yu cha kueh to dip inside! Just be warned that this drink is very savoury, so this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re game, I dare you to try this literal storm in a teacup.
One of life’s greatest mysteries must be how Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall turns spicy and savoury chilli crab into delicious cocktail magic.
As a kid, the head bartender’s mum used to make him chilli crab using raspberries and other fresh fruit to make it less spicy for him.
So the Reunion ($24+) cocktail may taste a little different than the chilli crab you know, but this is one drink that surely packs a punch. And yes, that is mantou hanging off the side!
The base is mescal that adds a smoky flavour, which is then mixed with raspberry grenadine and chilli crab shrub. Taste-wise, it’s actually quite similar to the tomato flavour of a Bloody Mary, but more savoury.
The hints of spiciness and tomato recreate the chilli crab sauce flavour, while the sweetness binds the drink together, making it quite easy on the tongue. Time to crab a cup!
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but how about waking up to a Kaya Toast Cocktail ($25+)? At bespoke cocktail bar Bitters and Love, they take Singaporean breakfast and put it into a cup, or should I say a jar?
Served in a nostalgic old-school kaya jar, the Kaya Toast Cocktail recreates traditional breakfast to the tee. There’s even toast and a dollop of kaya to go with!
The drink itself is rum-based and perked up with Earl Grey tea, fresh lemon juice and honey. While the combination was fragrant and sweet, it had a slightly sour aftertaste that could be improved on.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying the novelty of the drink. As a kid, my favourite breakfast was kaya toast so you can imagine my excitement when I saw this drink.
What should you get when you’re nursing a cough? Get Ding Dong‘s Pi Pa Gao ($22++) cocktail, of course!
In case you didn’t know, Pi Pa Gao is a traditional Chinese herbal cough syrup. Mixing medicine and a cocktail together does sound a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?
A mix of whisky, aged rum, pi pa gao syrup, calamansi, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, the Pi Pa Gao tasted oddly like an Old Fashioned, but with the minty finish of the herbal syrup.
It’s refreshing and healthy (possibly), so why wouldn’t you try it? If only my grandma made me eat pi pa gao this way!
A-lemak! Nasi lemak has got to be the weirdest thing to make into a cocktail, but Tess Bar & Kitchen has managed to nail this bizarre concoction.
Thankfully, there isn’t actual rice in the cocktail. Their Seah Street Power Nasi Lemak ($18++) cocktail comes with Tanqueray No. 10 gin paired with familiar nasi lemak flavours of pandan infused in barley water. There’s even some ikan bilis on the side for you to nibble on!
The drink itself was actually quite refreshing, perked up with a hint of citrus from the lemon. What I really loved about this cocktail, however, was not so much the flavour but rather the presentation — it’s served with pandan leaves that remind me of the ones used to wrap old-school nasi lemak!
As unpredictable as the characters it’s are named after, local bar Jekyll & Hyde has made its mark with their bizarre Mr Bean ($23+) cocktail.
Remember that local soya bean brand? Yes, this cocktail pays homage by turning our favourite tao huey dessert into a boozy beverage!
It might look dainty served in a Chinese teacup, but make no mistake, this one’s strong. Concocted using tao huey, butterscotch liqueur, kaya and vodka, this cocktail is boozy but still goes down easily. The hazelnut liqueur and kaya combination, in particular, gave it a buttery taste without any sharp flavours.
Perhaps its best feature is that its texture really resembles the beancurd you might get at Lao Ban. The cocktail was well-shaken and strained to get the similar smooth and creamy consistency. If you can look past the weird ingredients, this drink will most definitely be a hit.
Milo peng is such a kid’s drink. At The Secret Mermaid, this hidden bar takes everyone’s favourite Milo and transforms it into a grown-up’s version.
The Moonshine Milo ($15) is an off-the-menu cocktail and available only upon request. In a way, it’s a secret drink that you now know about. If you’re already excited, just wait till you hear what’s in it.
The base is distilled moonshine spirit, which is paired with Milo powder to recreate the rich chocolatey flavour of everyone’s favourite childhood drink. It’s also infused with a few dehydrated raspberries for a tangy finish.
Playtime’s over, can you handle this Milo cocktail?
Opening Hours: (Mon to Fri) 5pm – 11pm, (Sat & Sun) Closed
I’m more of a beer guy as cocktails in Singapore are simply too expensive. But with concoctions this ballsy, I think it wouldn’t be very patriotic of me to miss out on these uniquely Singaporean cocktails.
Try them for yourself and let us know what you think! You can also easily save and view this list of places on TripAdvisor here.