Just a few more weeks to Cocktail Week and there’s no better time than now to drop this list of places where you can get your paws, ahem, hands, on unusual cocktails that are so out of this world you’ll be left speechless, in a good way.
So weird, yet so delicious.
Fancy ingredients, weird concoctions, quirky appearance and refined environment, you can be sure to check most if not all off your list. And trust me on this, you’re in safe hands, tried and tested by yours sincerely.
Don’t worry, no livers were harmed in the process, or not.
12. Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
Welcome to Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, a hidden speakeasy with limited seats. Yes ‘seats’, you aren’t allowed to stand around in this little bar at all. There’s no menu per se, but there are some pretty bespoke signature cocktails you can request for.
Moo Daeng Cocktail ($23). Fat-washed whisky, lime and char siew. This is literally served with a piece of char siew that is torched. Try the cocktail after a bite of the smoky pork and be amazed as the flavour develops into something different.
Moo Daeng is Thai for ‘red pork’ and the story goes that one day head bartender Edwin was having Thai whisky in Bangkok, then started craving for some late night munchies.
He found a road side stall selling char siew, bought that back and continued having his whisky. The flavours magically complemented each other and the rest is history.
Other interesting localized flavours you can get at Ah Sam’s include the Laksa Cocktail, made with shrimp vodka and paired with some dim sum on the side. Almost ever syrup and ingredient is made from scratch naturally at this bar, so you can expect some fine flavours.
Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall: 60A Boat Quay, Singapore 049848 | Tel: +65 6535 0838 | Facebook
11. Ding Dong
Pipagao ($22). As the name suggests, it is a Pipagao 枇杷膏 (herbal cough syrup) cocktail. Right now you’re wondering really hard, but let me solve all of that for you. Think Old Fashioned but with a minty pipagao finish and you’re on the right track.
It contains whisky, aged rum, pipagao syrup, calamansi, angostura and Peychaud’s bitters and it has definitely captured all the right essence of an Old Fashioned.
Other than this, Ding Dong has a list of other unusual cocktails that are bound to excite your palate, I’m talking about stuff like locally named Golden Mile ($18) that has a tomyum touch, Roti Kaya ($19) and Stylo Milo ($22) that are pretty much self explanatory. I’m definitely coming back again for a full meal and of course, more cocktails.
10. The Secret Mermaid
If you’re walking along the underground area of Raffles Place MRT, you’d probably have considered getting a quick pick-me-up salad from Shinkansen but I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to do the same by evening. Simply because Shinkansen morphs into The Secret Mermaid, a laid-back industrious-like bar that stocks up rows of fine spirits.
While I was there to explore, they were in the midst of revamping their menus and let me in on one of them – Study In Scarlet, which is a spanking mixture of red wine and whisky. It is strong and sweet, like a really bad arse cousin of Sangria.
What really caught my attention was the cabinets of unique spirits that are imported from boutique distilleries. The Secret Mermaid wants to make all of these intriguing fine spirits more accessible, bringing a greater variety.
True Organic Garden Vodka, Bacon Vodka, Smoked Salmon Vodka ($16 per flight). I literally felt as if I’ve just finished a liquid salad that has been infused with alcohol but isn’t that really the best. I’m not complaining. It started really light with a strong celery essence, which is by far my favourite kind of celery.
The bacon vodka doesn’t contain real bacon, only the flavour essence of it. It is savoury with a potato base, almost like having a jacket potato with bacon bits. The smoked salmon vodka really piqued my interest with its smokiness and salmon essence that has been infused in while distilling it. It is extremely savoury and finishes smooth.
The best part is how you can get your hands on a whole bottle there if you fell in love with any of them there, only if there’s stock of course. So why not head on town after a full day’s work to unwind, it’ll be rewarding I promise.
The Secret Mermaid: 10 Collyer Quay #B1-08, Singapore 049315 | Website
9. Smoke and Mirrors
At the 6th floor of the National Gallery lies Smoke and Mirrors, overlooking Marina Bay Sands. It is largely al fresco, with an indoor seating area that is perfect for lounging with their couches.
Taking the bar by storm is Yugnes Susela, who finished in the Top 4 of the 2015 Diageo World Class competition and was part of the team that clinched gold for Team Singapore at the Diageo Reserve World Class SEA Finals 2015. Having just returned from Belgium where he represented Singapore to showcase the cocktails, you’re definitely in safe hands over at Smoke and Mirrors.
As with the art pieces changing in the gallery, Smoke and Mirrors follows suit and features a cocktail that is inspired from one of the art pieces. This time round is the Painting Class ($22), a twist on the pisco sour with Saint Germain.
The champagne flute is painted with a strip of edible green chocolate paint and another of red chocolate paint, which will blend into the drink over time, resembling a beautifully painted piece of art. Definitely refreshing and intriguing.
Other than that, Yugnes made us a good selection of cocktails like the Siamese Fireback ($20) that is influenced by the Thai national bird, with hints of lemongrass. There is a subtle floral hint, which I really enjoyed.
Another one is the Tiger Blood Daisy ($20), which is an El Diablo with absinthe, and of course tiger daisy with passionfruit and ginger ale. There is tequila inside as well and no, there’s no bad memories attached to this one and I’m definitely onto it. Definitely try the Papaya Daiquiri ($20) as well, you’ll never look at papaya the same way again.
Smoke and Mirrors will be the perfect bar to lounge to pre-lunch or tea time or anytime really. With a strikingly beautiful view, artisanal cocktails and early opening hours of 12pm, what’s stopping you really.
Smoke and Mirrors: #06-01 National Gallery 1 St., St Andrew’s Rd, Singapore 178957 | Tel: +65 9234 8122 | Website
OverEasy Orchard is right next to Starbucks at Liat Towers and you’ll never miss it with their neon lights. It models after an all American diner and it gave me a vibe of Lynch’s diner meeting with Wes Anderson’s aesthetic – pastel and clean, cut with a hint of quirkiness.
We started with the Stairway To Heaven ($17) and I was quite sure I couldn’t place the drink down. It was refreshing and light, a great way to start any meal. It has a slight sweet and elderflower accent, which combines well together.
We also had their unique rendition of Bloody Your Own Mary ($22) where you literally make your own Bloody Mary with the varying condiments. Cute and very personalised, I like how it is served and how can anyone ever resist a cocktail like that.
What exceptionally caught my eyes was the Bacon Bourbon Milkshake ($18). I mean, it’s bacon, bourbon and milkshake, my personal holy grail of sweet meets savoury. The candied bacon is made in house and definitely something I could snack on forever, complementing the alcoholic milkshake that is sweet, creamy and really mean in a pleasant way.
Look out for their Whisky Sour with In-House Figs & Dates that will make you come back for more. I had the whole glass in no time, kid you not. And of course get yourself a Truffle Mac and Cheese ($18) and no justification needed.
Then takeaway a prêt-à-porter version of their cocktail, the B.B King ($24), a banana-infused whisky drink.
Extremely cute and casual, OverEasy Orchard is the classic American diner that has an eclectic side ready to satisfy all your quirky needs, and definitely mouth-watering food you’ll gladly welcome the calories.
OverEasy Orchard: 541 Orchard Road, #01-01 Liat Towers, Singapore 238881 | Website
The newest love child from the good people at Jigger and Pony, Gibson is a vintage style cocktail bar that is eclectic yet rustic all at once.
With a mixture of stained glass windows backing rows of magnificent fine spirits, including the likes of Yamazaki and many more, Gibson continuously surprises with their cocktail pairing with fresh seafood.
Aki, their headbartender, is the ambassador for Absolut Elyx and he isn’t shy in concocting up creative cocktails with it. He reinvented the martini classic and elevated it to a signature cocktail, Gibson ($23++) cocktail to the next level by combining two gins and serving it with unconventional condiments.
With the traditional ramos gin fizz, he has removed the milkiness in it to give Crystal Ramos Gin Fizz ($23++), producing a clear cocktail that doesn’t discount on the flavour.
The most fascinating in terms of appearance, is probably My Next Mistake ($23++). And nope, there wasn’t any mistakes made during the crafting process. It uses Absolut Elyx and served in an adorable pineapple flask, the cocktail is lighter than the others and more earthy, with a strong hint of beetroot.
Intriguing and exciting, Gibson is a bar to hop to if your friends and you are in for something enthralling.
6. The Powder Room
Situated along Raffles Place, midst the bustling Central Business District area is The Powder Room, a flamboyantly intoxicating bar right above the slick The Black Swan. Cheekily mimicking what it must have been like in a real powder room – fun, gossipy and dramatic, The Powder Room’s cocktails are worthy of the theatrical title.
Playing With Fire ($21). On every literal term possible, this cocktail requires a careful manoeuvring of lit spirit, introducing air into the drink and finally served table side, warm and sweet. I had my first sip and it transported me back to when I was back in the UK during Christmas, sipping on warm mulled wine in an effort to warm myself up.
I loved it, I’ve been trying to find hot mulled wine in Singapore to which I didn’t succeed, for obvious reasons since we don’t really need reminding that we are in a burning furnace. Besides, the tongue-in-cheek presentation thoroughly seduced me.
The Powder Room is definitely a bar to go to if you’re into all things fancy, try out their other drinks like Thank You For Smoking ($21), which is made up of coffee whisky. A sweet cocktail, clotted cream is provided for to cut the taste, and yes, it is served table side fancy.
Head on down for their happy hour that includes their signature cocktails going at a mere $12, yes you heard me right.
The Powder Room: The Black Swan 19 Cecil Street, Singapore 049704 | Tel: +65 8181 3305 | Website
5. The Rabbit Hole
While The Rabbit Hole may not serve up crazy concoctions of cocktails, they’ve specially tailor-made a Gin Programme that is super niche and possibly the only place in Singapore that does that. Extra botanical, white washed tiles and hanging bonsais is what The Rabbit Hole is and that thoroughly compliments the botanicals a gin has to offer.
They have one of the widest varieties of gin in Singapore, with different taste profiles that is simply paired with their homemade tonic.
The tonic is extracted through a siphon, finished with a condiment like olive, rosemary etc for added aroma. The best part is that the cocktail gets better after seating for awhile, completely allowing the gin and tonic to blend well.
The Botanist ($22), The London No. 1 ($18), Gin Mare ($18). Delicate and refreshing, some were sweeter others were more citrusy.
I especially like the more herbal one, The Botanist. The London No. 1 comes in a really subtle and pretty aquamarine colour that comes from gardenia flowers.
I’d say The Rabbit Hole is perfect for an evening of drinks with your girlfriends complete with a crepe stand, with sun slowly setting and the lights coming on, setting the romantic mood up. And I don’t really need to repeat myself but it’s also a perfect wedding spot, aye.
Right next to The White Rabbit, you can read about our extensive review on The White Rabbit here.
The Rabbit Hole: 39C Harding Rd, Singapore 249541 | Tel: +65 6473 9965 | Website
You can’t ever miss the bright red Red Dot Museum, where Hopscotch lies. A no frills and cosy bar that serves up crazy blends of cocktails ready to wow your palate away.
I’m talking about Kachang Booze ($24), Bandung and Ondeh Ondeh shots (a pair for $10), Liu Sha Jiu ($23) and many more.
If not obvious enough, Hopscotch takes their inspiration from the food we eat everyday, tweaking it a little to make it even better with spirits. My favourite of the lot is definitely the Jam Of Briyan ($22) cocktail. I know it sounds dubious and savoury cocktails aren’t as welcomed as the sweet ones but I think I’ve found my refuge.
I’ve always liked my cocktails more on the sour or herbal side, so a savoury one was extremely comforting for me and this one right here, really packed a full briyani flavour with hints of alcohol. The spices were all inside and it left a lingering fragrance. Topped with a papadom, which is just sheer pleasure for me, the drink was a complete meal, there was no other way I’d rather have my briyani.
Another unique cocktail that really captured my heart was the Chicken Soup For The Alcoholic Soul ($24), which was the winning drink showcased in the Youngest Bartender Award 2015.
It was exceedingly hearty, much like a chicken soup, slightly salty and definitely savoury, with a slight sear from the spirit that heightens the essence of the soup. When combined with the rice crackers, I was starting to doubt if I ever wanted to have a normal chicken soup ever.
Hopscotch is conveniently located near all your busy bees in the CBD and they stock a good variety of board games. In addition, there are live bands singing and that’s really all you need for a good de-stress session.
Hopscotch: 28 Maxwell Rd, #01-04 Red Dot Traffic Building, Singapore 069120 | Tel: +65 6327 4820 | Website
3. Spiffy Dapper
Spiffy Dapper is definitely one inconspicuous bar, hiding in the midst of shophouses and labelled as ‘Dapper Coffee’, which sounded more like a cafe.
Upon the first peek up the stairs, I knew I found the place I was looking for- a neat looking and almost pharmaceutical-like bar with in-house infused liquor resting on wooden shelves in clear beakers.
I had them decide for me and got a Beetroot Gin Sour, which was much earthier and offers more complexity in flavours. Definitely a love it or hate it taste, I was part of the team that supported it.
It looked just as aesthetically pleasing as it tasted. The warm red colour of the drink is contrasted by the foam from shaking, topped with beautiful rose petals that adds an extra aroma to the drink.
Another drink was the Mezcal Negroni, the crazier and darker version of a classic Negroni. It is rather smoky with a slight bitterness that lingers, emphasising on the peatiness. It remains sweet and light all at once, a heavier duty drink that is still light on the palate.
Spiffy Dapper is open all year round, so grab your team and head on over for a smashing good time. Bespoke cocktails range from $22 -$26 and I’m pretty sure the folks there will take good care of you like how they have with me, god speed.
You can read our extensive review of Spiffy Dapper here.
The Spiffy Dapper: 73 Amoy St, Singapore 069892 | Tel: 8722 4953 | Website
2. Operation Dagger
Fallen Fruit (Part of a $150 Cocktail Omakase). The newest drink on the menu, it is served in a pear-like cup and the straw is made from a vanilla bean. Talk about fascinating.
The mother alcohol in this cocktail is overnight wine, mixed with in-house caramel and curry leaves. It is sweet and light at the same time, with a subtle hint of vanilla, very aromatic.
I really like Operation Dagger’s concept, being very minimal and reducing food wastage. Detailed ingredients are made with a from scratch, natural mindeset, resulting in innovative drinks that I simply can’t resist. Do try out their omakase for a well-balanced and intoxicated good time.
Operation Dagger is where you want to be when you’re so frustrated with the hustling and bustling of the city, it’ll provide a good respite and also potentially transport you elsewhere with their fantastic cocktails that are out of this world.
Operation Dagger: 7 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069791 | Tel: +65 6438 4057 | Website
1. Maison Ikkoku Bar
Right above Maison Ikkoku Cafe is the sister bar and it serves a full range of bespoke cocktails that have pretty much charmed me with my first sip. Cosy, sophisticated and definitely chic, Maison Ikkoku Bar will be able to cater to any of your crazy needs and I’ll vouch for that.
When it comes to fancy appearance, this second drink sure made the cut with the whole flame and smoke thing going on in a coconut husk. Made with freshly squeezed pineapple juice, it is a rum-based cocktail topped with flambe milk frost, making the entire drink creamy, refreshing, light and yet packed with a good alcoholic punch.
I’d definitely recommend going for their Tomyum Martini ($28) and they weren’t kidding when they named it and that’s also why it’s dangerous. I couldn’t stop sipping on it even though I know it’s pretty strong.
Imagine it all salty, sour and peppery with their in-house jalapenos infused vodka, shaken with lemongrass and all the quintessential peppers and tabasco. Extremely savoury and yummy, the Tomyum Martini has a lingering spiciness, which totally worked for me. Just, be careful.
End off the night with their Hazel Nut Flambé ($28) complete with their chocolate Liqueur, hazelnut liqueur, milk frost, roasted marshmallow and topped with real cookie bits. The whole drink is sweet, creamy and definitely decadent. Special shout out to the cookie bits, they’re amazing.
Maison Ikkoku Bar’s bespoke cocktails ranges from $28 onwards. Though they’re slightly on the pricier side, it’s worth spending on.
Maison Ikkoku Bar: Level 2, 20 Kandahar St, Singapore 198885 | Website
Yes, this is all that I’ve gathered before I make my way to Alcohol Anonymous. I’m kidding of course, but do let me know of any more crazy cocktails you guys have tasted in Singapore and I’ll be well on my way there in no time.
Related Guide: Best Bars in Singapore: Where Bartenders Really Drink