Singapore’s Booming Bespoke Cocktail Scene

August 4, 2017

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Bar Stories. Image courtesy of the venue.

There’s perhaps nothing as luxurious as something made just for you. This doesn’t only mean sartorial items – it extends to booze, too. Though the drinking scene in Singapore is strong, with tons of incredible (and award-winning!) bars sprinkled across the island, sometimes we you really want is for a bartender to whip you up something special. As it happens, there are a few bars here that exclusively offer exactly that type of thing.

Bar Stories. Image courtesy of the venue.

Haji Lane stalwart Bar Stories is one of the pioneers of the bespoke cocktail trend in this city. There’s no  menu – instead, you’ll be asked by a server to choose a spirit and then adjective that describe the tipple you’d like. It might sound like a gamble, but we at The HUNT have never been disappointed, and have seen the likes of a yuzu Martini with blood orange syrup that’s served in a floating lime rind “bowl,” a rosemary gin and tonic delivered with the herb sprig aflame, and their comparatively simple take on an Old Fashioned, complete with a massive ice ball and artistically curled orange peel.

The story is similar at Bitters & Love (which operates as a café called Free the Robot by day) except there is a menu – just not of pre-determined drinks. Categorized by liquor, you choose the brand of hooch and then sweet, savory, spicy or surprise. The last time we swung by, our managing editor, Bethany, got a savory tequila-based concoction that she wishes she had the recipe for, and was extremely pleased with the ’90s jams they were blasting.

Nearby, The Spiffy Dapper hides on the second floor of a shophouse – the sign declares it a coffee shop – and it has the salty attitude of a dive, but a dive it is not. Specializing in gin (there are 150 types stocked) and barrel-aged drinks, the bartenders here have a knack for mixing together exactly what you need, be it a sour juniper libation garnished with basil or a rye whiskey beverage tarted up with the juices of lemons and pomegranates.

Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall. Image by Edroos Alsagoff.

For some local flavor, check out Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, a teeny, no-frills spot that serves up fancy booze creations that showcase beloved Singaporean ingredients like Milo, chendol and kopi.

If you want a speakeasy vibe, head to D.Bespoke, where it’s all low-lighting, dark leather, high-end bottles and a jazz soundtrack. Helmed by Daiki Kanetaka, a sherry veneciador with years of customized cocktail experience, this Ginza-style bar provides a top-shelf time with a price tag to match – there’s a SG$60 per person minimum, so drop in when you’re in the mood for serious, spirit-forward boozing.

About The HUNT Singapore Team: Based in Singapore, Gatehouse Publishing is made up of a close-knit team with extreme wanderlust, a collectively gargantuan sweet tooth and a penchant for meetings that take place over afternoon tea. Between them, they’ve visited five of the seven continents, but those other two are on their bucket list.

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