Craft cocktail bar Mixology Salon in Tokyo needs no introduction. The award-winning venue is an institution, the work of master mixologist Shuzo Nagumo, who has expanded his group in the last few years to six establishments – seven if you count his first international expansion.
Mixology Salon Singapore marks the debut of the group outside of Japan. Taking over the 17-seater space formerly occupied by Mallow, it is found in a cosy corner space on the second floor of InterContinental Robertson Quay.
As you can expect, Nagumo brings his artful fusion of tea and cocktails (also of traditional and modern techniques) to his Singapore outpost. The appreciation for tea is as important as spirits here, with both ideologies working harmoniously under his careful guidance to create his famous ‘Tea-tails’.
Quality teas sourced from Japan and Taiwan – from oolong to hojicha, sencha to gyokuro – are used in infusions or even enjoyed on their own, as part of efforts to showcase the beauty of the teas alongside the tipples.
It’s rare that gyokuro, the pinnacle of Japanese green tea, is used in mixology. But being a tea expert as well, Nagumo handles the pricey leaves with care when incorporating them into cocktails.
To that end, Mixology Salon Singapore even offers a Gyokuro Cocktails Course (S$65), a journey of teas and spirits that highlights the uniqueness of gyokuro’s umami, almost nori-like flavours.
Or feel free to explore the ala carte options. Their classic Sencha Gin Tonic (S$22) is a simple gin & tonic template that allows the sencha infusion to shine. It also illustrates the skillfulness of the bar team when handling tea infusions, which can oftentimes become over extracted.
While various tea infusions are the name of the game, the cocktails are creative and intriguing on their own terms too. Drinks like the Betterment IPA (S$25) includes locally-sourced craft beer (in this case, an Off Day Haze IPA) in the mix.
The beer adds hoppy complexity to the nuanced Iri-Bancha (a roasted Kyoto tea) infused Japanese whisky they use in the cocktail. Coupled with rosso vermouth, Grand Marnier, and an apricot liqueur, it becomes a one-of-a-kind concoction you won’t find anywhere else.
There are lots more to explore in Mixology Salon Singapore’s sizable menu. Yet what we love most about the place is the Japanese style of bartending and experience you’ll get, one that is rarely found among the mostly American style bars in town.
It’s about intimately appreciating and knowing the finesse and craftsmanship that goes behind each drink. It’s about visiting alone and having quiet conversations with the people running the place. It’s about having a meditative, introspective time away from work and life.
It’s great too that Nagumo’s protege, Kaoru Takii, is being placed permanently at Mixology Salon Singapore to oversee and run things. The young and affable mixologist carries a dignified yet casual air about him, setting the right tone for the venue.
We can definitely see ourselves heading to Mixology Salon Singapore again and again – to nerd out about tea and bartending, but also to immerse ourselves in the quintessential Japanese cocktail bar experience in a way that is both approachable and unadulterated.
Mixology Salon Singapore is located at 1 Nanson Road, #02-07B InterContinental Robertson Quay, Singapore 238909.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.