Imagine yourself lost in a verdant jungle. As you’re finding your way through the lush thickets, you stumble upon a lively ballroom. What’s a place like that doing here in the middle of nowhere? Well, it doesn’t matter, because a revelry’s going on and everyone’s welcome. Drink first, ask questions later.
That carefree sense of spontaneity and adventure is the vibe that craft cocktail bar Jungle Ballroom, found within newly opened hotel Mondrian Singapore Duxton, is hoping to impart.
To a large extent, they’ve achieved this. Thanks in no small part to award-winning head bartender Adrian Besa (formerly MO Bar) at the helm, the cocktail programme conveys a sense of fun and exploration through use of creative flourishes and vivid colours.
Try ordering up a How Doth The Little Crocodile (S$26), and you’ll actually be given an origami to fold, which is then pinned up at the back bar once you’re done. The drink itself is a smoky and tangy, gin and mezcal based tipple offering hints of tropical fruitiness and fresh herbs.
Yet it’s definitely the Neon Ballroom (S$28) that will turn heads. Made using blanco rum, rosemary, mango, lime, rockmelon, and topped with champagne, it’s one bubbly refresher that is easy to have more than one of. But it’s the neon-lit light cube inside the glass that really makes it feel like a party.
It’s not all show, no bite either. The Queen of the Jungle (SS$26) is a rye whisky based Manhattan-like cocktail meant to be a herbaceous nightcap. Or go for the Nightshade (S$24) for a curious sipper made using atypical ingredients like awamori sake, mirin, and mugwort.
What we love most about Jungle Ballroom (besides the fun-loving bar crew), is its collection of Southeast Asian spirits – in fact, they boast the largest assortment of any cocktail bar in town. Besa proudly displays them on the bar shelves, and is happy to satiate the curiosity of his guests.
“We have a spirit importing licence so we can access some very interesting and rare things,” he explains. “We will have the most extensive Southeast Asian spirits collection of any bar in Singapore.”
Besides cocktails, Jungle Ballroom carries a small selection of craft beers and natural wines for those so inclined. Snacks like Crispy Spiced Chicken (S$18) and the Snake Bean & Curried Taro Root Samosa (S$16) will also help keep the munchies at bay.
What really draws us to Jungle Ballroom is its playfulness. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. Amazing drinks and technical prowess can only take a venue so far. Here, skillful bartenders mix good libations with good vibes in equal parts. The result is an infectious sense of joy not found at many other bars these days.
Jungle Ballroom is located at 16A Duxton Hill, #03-03 Mondrian Singapore Duxton, Singapore 089970.