Whisky bars and cocktail bars more often than not cater to very different tastes. One focuses on the unadulterated enjoyment of a single spirit type purely on its own terms, while the other is a showcase of flavours made possible by unbridled mixology.
But what happens when you’re in the mood for both? At Quaich Bar Wanderlust, the third and latest iteration of Quaich Bar (after locales at Waterfront Plaza and South Beach Avenue), there’s something for both whisky aficionados and thirsty tipplers alike.
It takes over a hidden space at InterContinental Singapore that previously housed Idlewild, retaining much of the former inhabitant’s retro-luxe style. It’s fitting, seeing how the concept of the current bar also leans towards a whimsical, globetrotting theme.
The cocktails (all S$25) range from easy-drinking refreshers to serious hard-hitters. To start, the savoury and aromatic Miyeok Guk is an interesting one, made from Ottogi seaweed-washed vodka, makgeolli, citric acid, sesame oil, and a smoky perfume meant to evoke memories of a Korean BBQ restaurant.
Those who often go for fruity or floral (or both) drinks need look no further than the Roses Are Red, Grapes Are Green, that’s made using a combination of three gins – Nordes, Hendricks and The Lakes Elderflower. Mixed with Italian bergamot, white wine, citrus and a splash of soda, this mid-strength concoction will do you no wrong.
We’d highly recommend the Threesome. This stiff and cheekily-named cocktail once again mixes three spirits – Bunnahabhain 12 years whisky, lapsang souchong-steeped vodka and Montelobos mezcal – for a triple-threat potion that is at once stiff, smoky, and complex. Gentian and cherry liqueurs add a sweet-herbal undertone to further layer on the flavours.
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Beyond the cocktails, it’s the whiskies you’ll be here for. Over 100 expressions are available, sourced from distillers hailing from Scotland to Ireland, England to South Africa. So whether you’re a single malt purist or an experimental drinker, there’s bound to be a choice dram for you.
If you’re hankering for food, the menu of sharing plates and bar bites will definitely fill you up nicely. Start with the Patatas Bravas (S$12) for a baked dish of satisfying and thinly sliced potatoes doused in spicy sauce and kafir lime aioli.
Then there’s the uber tender Grilled Octopus Legs (S$28) served with spicy tomato puree and herb infused baby potatoes – a dish we can safely say is a must-have. Meanwhile, the Hakka-style Nan Lu Pork Belly (S$16) made using Spanish pork coated in a Shanghainese fermented beancurd then deep fried, is a super addictive snack that goes really well with the drinks here.
With the launch of Quaich Bar Wanderlust, the outlets at Waterfront Plaza and South Beach Avenue have also been renamed into Quaich Bar Collector and Quaich Bar Avant-garde, respectively, to reflect their differentiations.
According to Chua Khoon Hui, founder of The Whisky Store and CEO & Executive Director of Sloshed!, which runs Quaich Bar as well as cocktail bars The Other Room and The Other Roof, the change comes at a time when the brand is reaching a new stage of maturation in tandem with the market.
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“With the growing appreciation of whiskies and cocktails, we thought it’s time to diversify the experience of Quaich Bar after 17 years. This repositioning allows us to create programmes for and beyond our whisky community, while furthering a drinker’s whisky journey.
He adds: “Wanderlust is the entry concept to explore whiskies in cocktails as well as an homage to the avid traveller, while Avant-garde is for adventurous expressions and Collector for rare and vintage finds.”
We like that the group is opening up more to aspiring whisky appreciators with this latest move, thus demystifying the world of whiskies to an extent while also bringing lesser-known whiskies to the forefront.
The more people truly understand and appreciate whiskies in all its forms, the better it is for the industry, we say.
Quaich Bar Wanderlust is located at 80 Middle Road, InterContinental Singapore Lobby Level, Singapore 188966.
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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.