One of the reasons why we love the Singapore cocktail bar scene so much is that it’s ever changing, ever improving. The same good ol’ bars are continually coming up with new and exciting menus to interest tipplers, ensuring that they are never sitting on their laurels despite their world-class status.
In our quest to slake our thirst, we checked out some of the most recent menu updates and found out exactly what has changed and what has stayed the same. Here’s what we thought about each of them.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed their debut menu (which got them a coveted spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list after just a year of opening), so when Republic Bar announced a volume two, we were hotly anticipating great things once again. And we must say we aren’t disappointed. This time, its 16-strong cocktail selection draws inspiration from 1960s pop culture, spread across themes of art, music, cinema, and so on. As always, the best seats in the house are the ones surrounding the central bar, so pull up a stool before getting a drink.
We are captivated by Leather Jacket, a completely new cocktail made using bourbon that’s been fat washed in peanut butter and served with a raspberry leather garnish. Yet it’s the Kim Sisters, the follow up rendition of former fan favourite Satisfaction, that got us hooked. This take on the classic Irish Coffee once again got our palates singing with delightful notes of cream-on-caffeine, decadent chocolate, and just the right amount of nuttiness. All cocktails are S$26.
The story of Papa Doble, formerly The Old Man Singapore, has been nothing short of a journey. So it seems fitting that the concept of a journey – one that continues to be inspired by Ernest Hemingway as is the bar’s convention – has become the main theme of their latest menu. All eight of the new drinks are now named after the countries visited by the prolific writer and drinker, while old favourites like the Papa’s Old Fashioned and Papa’s Sazerac remain as staples.
We’re head over heels with the Africa, a concoction of brown butter fat-washed whisky, lavender-infused rum, a supremely peaty Scotch, coffee liqueur, and an impressively homemade mandarin dijon foam. You can already guess the amazingly decadent profile of this drink from its multifaceted ingredients. Yet another standout has got to be Spain, where saffron is expertly used to give it its orange-yellow tinge. The whisky-based tipple with milk oolong infusion is at once creamy yet clean, making it doubly satisfying in all the right ways. All cocktails are S$26.
Hats off to the bar team (and of course bar honcho Adam Bursik) for pulling off a menu that manages to wow and surprise even in this golden age of modern mixology. We thought we’ve seen it all, but Origin Bar’s latest time travel themed menu ratchets things up with fun yet workable elements like edible lipsticks and lego jelly, among other more serious improvements to the drinking experience as a whole.
Take the Peanut Butter Therapy (S$26), a mix of peanut butter-washed rye and Peychaud’s Bitters. It would have seemed too simple if not for the sugar and absinthe vapour sprouting from an aromatherapy diffuser that accompanies this drink, creatively permeating your drinking glass with a titillating fragrance. Contraptions aside, taste-wise, it’s the Dark Matter (S$26) – made using tequila, amaro, sherry, cherry, chocolate, and smoke – that stays deep in our memory. This ode to the beginning of time is as deep and complex as they come. If the six drinks we had was any indication, we’ll definitely need to be back to try all 18 cocktails.
Leave it to cheeky Duxton hotspot Nemesis to come up with a menu so understated, yet so deliciously interesting – just like their epic sourdough pizzas. Start with something from their Session Seltzers selection. These S$22 highballs are great for quenching that immediate thirst. But definitely move on to the Frenemies portion. All S$25, cocktails like the Wildside hit the sweet spot between hard-hitting and refreshing thanks to good use of whisky and a seasonal fruit syrup, while tiki-inspired drinks like the Walking Dead really take things up a notch with lots of rum and tropical fruit notes.
Then there’s a whole section dedicated to Martinis. The four drinks here all go for S$26, and you can really taste the amped up level of booze here. Lush Life is for the port and sherry lovers among us, and made special using the potent Hendrick’s Orbium Gin. And we enjoy the Crossfade too, for a smoky, chocolaty, and banana-y take on the Espresso Martini. We simply love how there’s nothing pretentious nor too high concept about their drinks. Just yummy spirit-filled goodness all round.
[Read more: Quaich Bar Wanderlust is a cocktail haven for whisky lovers]