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The Old Man Singapore’s third menu puts Ernest Hemingway’s life in the spotlight

The Old Man Singapore

In many ways, cocktail bar The Old Man Singapore’s third menu (aka the v3 menu) is actually its first. 

Having first started in Singapore as a sibling bar of The Old Man Hong Kong, it offered the same first two menus as its counterpart did.

Now with free reign over the direction of its own menu, The Old Man Singapore’s founder Andrew Yap, together with his local team, has concocted an offering that continues to pay tribute to the bar’s conceptual father, prolific author and drinker Ernest Hemingway, but in a way that is distinct from its Hong Kong roots.

It does so in several ways. Conceptually, the biggest change is with how each drink is dedicated to an iconic year in Hemingway’s real life, rather than tied to his literary works. There is also a material change in the bar’s approach to cocktail making, with sustainability now a big part of their identity.

[Read more: Hong Kong’s first sustainable bar, Penicillin, is now open]

“The innovative drinks attempt to distill the memories associated with Hemingway’s journey, invoking a sense of nostalgia for a distant past, for romantic and tragic relationships, as well as adventure and travel,” explains Yap.

“In the spirit of Hemingway’s ingenuity, each cocktail is experimental, combining culinary accoutrements and science. This menu also sees an 80% reduction in the use of fresh fruits, incorporating essential oils and essences instead, thus promoting sustainability in a tangible manner without sacrificing taste.”

The result is nine completely new drinks that each stand out in their own special way. The #1899, for instance, marks the year of Hemingway’s birth. Made using fermented rum, soy milk kefir, a pandan distillate, gomme, and orange soda, the creamy and fluffy drink beams of childhood innocence and dreaminess.

(L-R) The #1921 and the #1899.

A favourite has got to be the #1921, which pays tribute to his first and most beloved wife, Hadley Richardson. The deliciously complex sweet-sour-bitter drink reflects the bittersweet love between them, and is made using cacao rum and a homemade coffee vinegar derived from spent grounds sourced from a local cafe.

The crowd pleaser though, is the #1937. The year when Hemingway ventured to Spain to report on the civil war there, this zesty and refreshing tipple gets its clean moreish character from a mix of sparkling wine, vermouth, vodka, as well as clarified pyrus and rhubarb.

The #1944, a highly experimental drink, deserves special mention. Dedicated to the award-winning author’s fourth and final wife, Mary Welsh, the gin-based cocktail brims with real roasted aubergine flavour. The brilliance here really lies in the balance, with the bartenders making good use of gum syrup and citrus to balance the umami and vegetal tones of the starchy brinjal. It’s truly enticing in an unexpected way.

[Read more: Taste modern remakes of the Singapore Sling at Slingology]

There is lots more to explore in their v3 menu. Old favourites like the Clear Old Fashioned, Negroni, and Pandan Gin & Tibicos are all still available, not forgetting their bottles of housemade spirits like Pandan Gin, Marshmallow Gin, and Avruga Vodka, as well as bottled versions of their signature cocktails.

So even if you’re still up for a spot of drinking past the 10.30pm cut off, you’re in good hands with takeaway options aplenty at The Old Man Singapore. And trust us, you’ll be wanting to stock up on some of their concoctions, so you can reach for a taste of their sublime cocktails whenever the mood calls for it.

The Old Man Singapore is located at 55 Keong Saik Road, #01-04, Singapore 089158. All signature cocktails are S$22 per glass.

Dannon Har

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.