A version of this article was first published on May 24, 2021.
Drink delivery options in Singapore have proliferated. Induced and accelerated by the pandemic economy, alcohol providers have all flocked to e-commerce as a means to keep their business going even as drinking on-site becomes difficult, thanks to the constant tightening and loosening of government restrictions.
All the better for stay-home drinking, we say. With the rise in number of alcohol delivery providers comes more competition in the space. But if you’re wondering where best to splash that cash, local – from homegrown breweries and distilleries to neighborhood bottle shops and more – is the way to go. After all, they’re the ones adding most to the vibrancy and excitement in the scene. Below, we shortlist some of the best ones in town.
Founded by brothers Ivan and E.K Yeo together with their uncle, Yeo King Joey, 1925 Brewing Co. is a brewery and gastrobar offering uniquely local spins on craft beer. Their Liang Teh lager boasts floral chrysanthemum notes, and is perfect on a hot day, while their popular BLK622 is a bold and rich dark ale with lots of coffee and caramel flavours. While you’re at it, get some Teochew cuisine to go with your order of beers.
Offering bottled cocktails with truly Singaporean twists like the Ju Hua Cha (a herbal and floral Gin & Tonic) and Tak Qiu (a malty milo Old Fashioned), no one does local quite as well as Ah Sam does. Want something more light and refreshing? Their bottled highballs are an easy go-to drink as well. Pair your order with local stir fry dishes like shrimp paste chicken and XO carrot cake for a complete stay-home experience.
Started at the onset of the pandemic in April 2020 by two friends, Qing Yang and Ryan Yue, Alive has managed to not just survive but thrive amidst such turbulent times. The young local brewery has stood out from the pack simply by producing darn good beers like False Sense of Security (a hazy session IPA) and One Night in Cologne (a Kölsch style pale ale). Expect only great things from these guys.
When dynamic duo Nicholas Lin and Mak Sin Wee founded Atlas Handcrafted during the Circuit Breaker lockdown in May 2020, they had one goal in mind – to help traditional artisans find a way online. Their range of sublime bottled cocktails is one way they’ve been helping bars and bartenders with that. We love the beautiful label designs and how punchy their concoctions are. Try the Mirabelle Vesper or Peychaud’s Sazerac and you’ll know what we mean.
Singapore’s first microdistillery is doing all the right things to elevate the Singapore brand name when it comes to local spirits. Their flagship Singapore Dry Gin is probably the nation’s most popular locally-made gin right now, while their Butterfly Pea Gin always leaves a lasting impression with its purple-blue hue. We personally enjoy the Barrel Aged Gin, an award-winning gin boasting a complex mingling of citrus, juniper and bourbon caramel flavours.
One of Singapore’s OG beer breweries, Brewlander – founded by John ‘Yeast Whisperer’ Wei – is the brand most often mentioned in the local craft beer scene. And for good reason. Now brewing from their spanking new brewery in Tuas (which you can visit when restrictions are lifted), find fresh brews the likes of their best-selling Love (a wild IPA) as well as new seasonals like their Cherry Sundae Pastry Stout, a robust beer packing loads of cherry and chocolate notes.
Taking the concept of craft to new heights, this local distillery is known for producing spirits truly from scratch. That means first fermenting raw ingredients like honey, gula melaka and molasses, before distilling gins, rums, vodka, liqueurs and more out of them. Try their stupendous Rojak Gin for an aromatic sipping spirit unlike any you’ve tried before. Or get bottles of Ondeh Ondeh Soju for your easy stay-home drinking fix.
For unabashedly cheeky, locally-inspired cocktails with quirky names like Cheng Tng Gao and Deeznuts (among many others), you can count on GudSht to send you drinks that will take your mind off the humdrum of daily life, even if just for awhile. We’re most in love with the Unicorn Barf, a colourful concoction that truly leaves an impression. The local crew behind the retail brand were the same guys behind drinks events specialists Elite Bar Solutions, who have now pivoted to this as a means to keep on going on. Kudos to that.
From their new haunt on East Coast Road, these rabble-rousers of the craft beer world unleash their brand of bad boy goodness to the world. Get beers sent to you as mystery packages (trusting them to make the decision for you), bring home a growler full of Lion City Meadery mead (see two entries below), or bring your palates on an adventure and get bottles of natural wine. While you’re at it, the In Bad Company folks dish out mighty good nosh as well, so feel free to sort out your hunger pangs too.
One of Singapore’s pioneers when it comes to sake appreciation and distribution, Adrian Goh of Inter Rice is the man to look for if you’re searching for quality sakes from Japan. Retailing online via theartofsake.com, you can be sure Inter Rice’s stock is properly stored and delivered to your doorstep as fresh as possible. Check out his online sake education sessions and brewery highlights too if you’re a fellow sake fan.
For a taste of Southeast Asia, look no further than this homegrown cocktail bar and restaurant, the work of two Singaporean boys with a real love for tipples with an Asian twist. Bottled cocktails with names like Soy, Grass and Banana feature house ferments and use of upcycled fruits, resulting in truly unique concoctions that will leave you wanting more. Since you’re shopping, try the Laut x Mr. Bucket Cocktail Bon Bon Set for a delectable chocolate pairing. Feeling adventurous? Go for a bottle of Trigona instead. Exclusive to Laut, every bottle of the wildflower honey distillate comes still aged in beeswax.
Two friends’ love for mead (and gaming) brought them together to start a meadery, one that boasts brews made with a Singaporean twist. Their Spiced Mead – which tastes like a sweet, alcoholic chai tea with a long spiced-filled finish – deserves a medal, in our books. But it’s the liang teh (cooling tea) series that is bound to bring a smile to your face. The Longan & Red Dates mead is their latest. Each sip of this honeyed treat will bring back fond memories of slurping up a bowl of cheng tng (clear dessert soup) on a hot day.
The one-man army that is Niang Brewery Co is the handiwork of architect and homebrewer Mark Chen, who launched his own commercial beer label out of a passion for the craft. It’s interesting that his beers all tell a tale. His Forbidden Ballad West Coast IPA, for instance, is named after his memories as a child playing at his grandmother’s home. We’re super impressed by their newly launched Not Home Alone Sour Ale. Its name not only makes it the perfect gift during this period of social isolation, but it’s just so darn delicious with its balanced tartness and refreshingly light fruity tones.
Nothing brings a sense of comfort quite like nostalgia does, and this homegrown party spot delivers the good ol’ days in spades through a healthy dose of ’80s-inspired tipples. The Poison Ivy and Foxy Manhattan (remixes of the Martini and Manhattan, respectively) are great for those solo stay-home nights. But to really get the evening started, go for their punch bowls. Our favourite? The Love Shack. A Daiquiri-like potion that’s potent, crushable and refreshing all at once.
Started by five friends from different areas of the local brewing scene, Off Day is one of the few labels in town that’s striving to make craft beer more accessible by creating a lifestyle around it. Their flagship Off Day Beer, an easy IPA, is the ideal all-day beverage, or pick one of their Canvas Series drinks for artist collab brews each featuring a different set of hops. And for beer geeks out there, Off Day’s Wax On is actually Singapore’s first whisky barrel-aged beer. Get it while you can; only one barrel was made.
Started by the Jigger & Pony Group that has been flying the Singapore flag high every year at the Asia’s 50 Best Bars Awards, Pony is their take on cocktails made specifically for bottling and delivery – and boy have they done a fine job. Their best-selling Sakura Martini looks good and tastes even better, while the Cassis & Rose is a surprisingly luscious and complex tipple. Our favourite is the Old Fashioned – a classic done so well, so balanced yet so rich. We dare say these taste finer than some bar-made cocktails out there.
The sister joint of Nineteen80, Rails goes full steam ahead with a steampunk/railroad theme, bringing us on a spirited journey through its well-devised cocktail menu. The Apothecary – a mix of cognac, amaro and pi pa gao (a herbal syrup) – is a unique concoction made to bring down the heat. For something stiffer, the Boulevardier-like Portmanteau, and the aptly-named Steamed & Hammered (rum, vermouth, elderflower liqueur, umami bitters) are your best bets.
Shopping for sakes on Sakechan is a breeze, thanks to its team of local sake experts curating and organising their collection (one of Singapore’s widest) in easy-to-search categories like flavour profiles, rice type, occasion, polishing ratio and more. Started by the same dependable folks behind Temple Cellars (see second last entry), you know your precious bottles are in good hands with every delivery.
Find spirits with a local, Asian edge produced at this nascent homegrown distillery by founder and distiller Ashwin Sekaran. Having trained at distilleries overseas before coming home to set up his business, find creative spirits like the orange-hued Singapore Sling Gin and the aromatic Coconut Pandan Gin, all produced locally. Pair them with their house label of Amberosa tonic waters (Singapore’s first) for an easy G&T treat levels above what you can usually expect.
Everyone loves Smith Street Taps for being the OG hawker stall taproom, but did you know they’ve got a solid e-commerce shop as well? Find draft beer on tap sold in bomber bottles, canned and bottled craft beers, spirits, and even sake on their webstore. They carry Singapore’s widest range of Mikkeller products too, as the same folks behind SST operates the local Mikkeller Bar outpost, which is also now a cool hawker stall.
When local brewer Clive Tan debuted Sunbird at the start of the pandemic back in 2020, it was a big leap of faith. But we’re glad he’s only gone from strength to strength, dropping interesting new releases one after another, the likes of an Ondeh Ondeh Porter, Rose Oolong Pale Ale, and even a Moutai White Ale. But it’s his flagship beers we’re still most fond of. Give his Eclipse of the Sun Scottish Ale a go and you’ll know what we mean.
Founded by three Singaporeans whose love for quality craft alcohol brought them together, Temple Cellars has become a go-to bottle shop for the local craft beer and natural wine community thanks to their adventurous selections. You never know what new and exciting product will drop on their e-shop, which currently carries Singapore’s widest range of craft beverages. Ordered something? Look out for their cute cold truck making its rounds in your neighborhood.
One of the newest craft beer taprooms in town, Ziggy Zaggy was a hotspot for Singapore’s thirsty hopheads the moment it swung open its doors. And due to some foresight (and a bit of luck), their beers on tap can still conveniently land in your hands thanks to their very own canning machine. Get 500ml draft cans of freshly tapped local and international brews sealed and delivered to you. Orders are taken via WhatsApp.
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.