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Tried and tested: 10 ready-to-drink packaged cocktails from Singapore

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall bottled cocktails

Premade cocktails have never been so big, and they’re showing no signs of stopping. Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, more bars and brands have embraced catering to the home drinking market, making it possible to enjoy world class libations without leaving the house. With so many choices available, we find out how some of them stack up.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall

When the pandemic hit, Ah Sam was already reaching the end of their lease at their Boat Quay space, so they decided a bold pivot was needed. They moved to their current address on Haji Lane, where they could continue operating with a restaurant license. Luckily for us, that move also precipitated the start of their cocktail bottling program.

There are two lines – the core Signature and the seasonal P.E.O.P.L.E series – featuring their Asian-inspired cocktails. Their Signatures, unsurprisingly, are a selection of customer favourites and classics. The best-selling Silver Screen (salted brown butter Monkey Shoulder whisky, popcorn syrup) probably best encapsulates the collection – cinematic nostalgia and unexpectedly familiar old school flavours. Another high point is the Oriental Elixir, which is kinda like a liang teh Negroni. The comfortingly herbal notes from the ginseng and chrysanthemum dry gin adds dimensions with the Campari, and then it mellows out to a smooth finish, thanks to the chocolate liqueur.

The seasonal series, you can tell from the abstract art labelling, is more mood-driven. No ingredients listed, but, as in the case of my personal favourite, Coral, it’s only described as “fun, strawberry, balanced”. Indeed, it’s an easy-drinking tipple that encourages extroversion and conversation.

Starts from S$58 for 250ml.
Verdict: Worth a Splash


With a name like Gudsht, you’d expect a pretty irreverent take on cocktails. The brand, another pandemic baby, is the brainchild of Elite Bar Solutions, with the help of marketing agency Goodstuph and gastrobar The Refinery, where the first brick-and-mortar Gudsht bar also recently launched.

You can tell they probably had a lot of fun naming their cocktails, with gems such as Deeznuts and Keekapow. But they’re not just bright colours and cutesy names; Gudsht does proper and properly delicious bottled cocktails. The glittery Unicorn Barf, for instance, might seem like Insta-bait frivolity, but its shimmery pink hue belies a surprisingly nuanced blend of Roku gin, homemade yuzu rose infusion and fresh honey.

Their interpretations of the classics don’t disappoint – the Sangrila Utama, a fruit-forward sangria, is particularly quaffable – but it’s their slew of locally-inspired bottlings that truly set them apart. Although the Pink Lemon Barley is a touch pandan-heavy, the Cheng Tng Gao is a deliciously souped-up version of the traditional dessert. Oh, and keep an eye out for the periodic special editions where a portion of the sales go towards supporting social causes.

Starts from S$18 for 300ml
Verdict: Worth a Splash


Pony is award-winning bar Jigger & Pony’s premium bottled cocktail line, and damn, is it ever so premium. From the matte foil cap to the elegant taper of the bottle, it’s a beautifully and thoughtfully designed product. Comprising two distinct series’: “Core” represents the timeless classics like the Negroni and Old Fashioned, whereas “Signature” is the more experimental, creative line.

Sakura Martini, the inaugural cocktail for the Signature line, is an exquisite tipple that eloquently expresses its seasonality with the inclusion of real sakura flowers. Roku gin is layered with Japanese sake vermouth and sakura leaf essence, and softened with the sweetness from the Merlet Creme de Peche peach liqueur.

Pony cocktails are specifically designed to be stronger for minimal flavour dilution – the Negroni and Old Fashioned are 28% and 41% ABV respectively. “(They) are designed to taste best when very cold. In the case of our Sakura Martini, we recommend chilling it in the freezer before serving, as the martini is a drink where the temperature really matters,” explained Gento Torigata – principal bartender of Pony and bar manager of Jigger’s sister venue Gibson Bar. 

Starts from S$32 for 200ml
Verdict: Worth the Splurge


Launched in Melbourne in 2019, Curatif is an Australian brand specialising in premade cocktails. The company eschews bottles in favour of cans, which are recyclable, and shelf-stable for over 12 months, way longer than the average bottled cocktail.

Housed in the stylishly designed cans are award-winning concoctions they’ve developed with world class craft spirit makers. Owner Matt Sanger and his team spent years on research and development to ensure their cocktails are as good, if not better than, the ones served at your favourite bar. The Archie Rose Espresso Martini alone took 2 years to perfect, working with specialty coffee roasters Seven Seeds to finesse the exact flavour they wanted. The result is a decadently smooth drink, smoky, creamy yet balanced – you’d almost forget it came from a can.

On the other end of the flavour spectrum is the bright, citrusy Tommy’s Margarita from the Escape Series. Made with Tequila Tromba, Australian lime and sweetened with agave syrup, it’s a refreshing, pool-friendly drink perfect for a hot day. Just don’t be fooled by the can’s whimsical colours and diminutive size, that baby still packs a nice punch. 

Starts from S$12 for 120ml
Verdict: Worth the Splurge


At 7% ABV, Zouk’s canned creations would fall under the category of low-proof cocktails, which have been trending for the past year. But with their funky, party-ready designs and sweet, juicy flavours, they remind me more of alcopops (remember those?), easy-drinking and refreshing.

All three flavours – Yuzu Blossom, Bourbon Pineapple and Guava Fizz – are made with all-natural, non-concentrate juices, but there’s also quite a dose of glucose syrup in there so they taste more like boozy flavoured soda than a light cocktail.

The Guava Fizz, inspired by Zouk’s iconic Long Island Iced Tea, is a crisp but tart drink, punchy even over lots of ice. The standout for me would be the Yuzu Blossom, the famed club’s take on the classic gimlet. Light and citrusy, fragranced by orange blossom water, it’s the ideal summer day drink.

Starts from S$9.90 for 330ml
Verdict: Spill it

MO Bar

One of the best things about drinking at MO Bar is its sophisticated ambience. You get the swank with none of the stuffiness, because bar manager Adrian Besa and his team really know hospitality. But when you want a night in with world class cocktails and zero fuss, their bottled cocktails will do the trick nicely.

The line features an abbreviated selection of their Volume Three menu, an evolution of the “Nomadic Foragers” guest shift programme that took the team across Asia Pacific in 2019. Each flask-esque bottle is a 140ml pour, conveniently sized for one serving. Because each drink is inspired by a unique city, incorporating its ingredients, flavours and techniques into the cocktail, each sip is a step into the exotic locales they collaborated with.

Lion’s Den, for example, will give you a taste of Guangzhou, integrating baijiu seamlessly with gin and green coffee. No MO Bar cocktail is complete without a thoughtful garnish, so each order comes with an accompanying accoutrement, with helpful labels on their ziplocs. If you really want to be sure, you’ll now be able to visit MO Bar’s first ever digital menu at too.

Starts from S$18 for 140ml
Verdict: Worth a Splash

Secret Mermaid

An underground cocktail bar in the heart of the CBD, Secret Mermaid is an intimate hidden gem that specialises in American craft spirits. When the circuit breaker was announced, head bartender Kelly D’Cruz knew that her team had to get a cocktail delivery program up and running as soon as possible.

Being part of the Empire Eats restaurant group (Standing Sushi Bar, Tanuki Raw et al.), they had access to food grade industrial plastic vacuum bags. “We found them to be much better than glass bottles because they are meant for immediate consumption. You can pop it in the freezer for a few minutes and it’s nice and cold. They are also easy to pack and deliver as there’s no issue with breakage. My favorite part is that we can easily seal the garnish right above the cocktail so it reduces the amount of packaging that’s needed,” explained Kelly. Also slightly mezcal-mad, it’s no wonder her favourite cocktail (and mine) on the delivery menu is the Mezcal Aviation, a deceptively sweet-looking pink drink of mezcal, violet liqueur, maraschino liqueur and lemon. “It ended up being one of the best sellers. I was really happy about this because a lot of people who hadn’t tried Mezcal before were ordering and enjoying it.”

Another delivery favourite, the Devil In The Details (dragon fruit-infused rum, pink dragon fruit, lime juice, lavender bitters) is also a finely balanced concoction, not too spirit- nor sugar-forward. Oh, and every delivery comes with a colouring book, but after a few, you probably won’t care about staying within the lines. 

Starts from S$20 for 170ml
Verdict: Worth the Splurge


Southeast Asian flavours take on new life at locavore bar and restaurant Laut. Modern re-interpretations of traditional Singaporean dishes, like Prawn Raja, a risotto-esque take on Thunder Tea Rice, feel both familiar and exciting.

The cocktails, under the care of co-owner Leon Tan, are created in the same vein. He explores different ways of coaxing flavours out of uncommon-in-cocktails ingredients like kedongdong plum and cacao husk. The pinkish Kumquat, for instance, is made of Malaysian molasses, aged Vietnamese sweet potato, root tincture and of course, kumquat. It’s a much more approachable drink that its components suggest – mellow, sweet and quite compelling, with an interesting depth from the tincture.

Grass, made with Singapore distillery Compendium’s Rojak Gin, is more adventuresome, combining toasted rice vinegar and pickle brine with grass kombucha, but the result is sweeter than you’d expect, with a gentle piquancy. To complete the Laut experience, each delivery will be accompanied by a playlist via a QR code, so your cocktail hour is guaranteed to be vibing.

Starts from S$48 for 250ml
Verdict: Worth the Splurge

Elephant Room

Culture forward cocktail bar Elephant Room is known for its Little India-inspired tipples and bites, but it’s also a vivid showcase of India’s finest – its co-founder & head bartender Yugnes Susela’s point of pride that they use only India-made spirits like Hapusa Himalayan Dry Gin and Old Monk Rum.

Even though the circuit breaker lockdown hit just 6 months after the bar launched (in September 2019), the team was able to pivot successfully to start offering bottled versions of their cocktails for takeaway and delivery. The Mango, a refreshingly fizzy take on the classic mango lassi and a highlight of their Menu 2.0, is easily one of my favourites.

Elephant Room sources its produce locally, from Tekka Market and its surrounds, so they’re able to get the freshest mangoes to steep overnight in gin. The distillate is then stirred in with toasted milk liqueur infused with cardamom and curry leaf for that delicious creaminess. Because of the carbonation, and ostensibly, the dairy, it’s best to finish it the day of, not that that’s going to be an issue.

Starts from S$40 for 300ml
Verdict: Worth a Splash

Sunday Punch

Probably the OG of bottled cocktails in Singapore, Sunday Punch was launched in 2014 by founders Yap Hwee Jen and Mark Tay. The couple, avid hosts, had been contending with the challenges of making multiple cocktails for their guests, so they decided to consult bartender friends on the art of batching.

Their first cocktail, a barrel-aged Manhattan, wasn’t a hit with their customers, who weren’t yet used to as spirit-forward a drink as that. They found success with their second, however, the #88 (pineapple, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, gin and dry vermouth), which debuted in 2015. The Chinese New Year-inspired drink has been a best-seller since, and was recently released in a limited-run festive repackaging.

For imbibers who prefer their cocktails not too sweet, a stint in the freezer before serving is a good idea. The Pandan Gimlet (gin, homemade pandan syrup and lime juice), can also tend towards syrupy, but its 16% ABV might make it more suitable for the chiller instead. Sunday Punch is fairly shelf-stable, at least compared with the others, able to last for 6 to 8 weeks without refrigeration. Once opened, it’s best to finish the bottle within the week or so.

Starts from S$38 for 250ml
Verdict: Worth a Splash

[Read more: 2021 alcohol beverage trends to look out for]