Cocktails With A Local Twist That You Can Easily Make At Home
Singapore's cocktail industry has grown by leaps and bounds to emerge as one of Asia's most sophisticated. Six home-grown bars, including Jigger & Pony, Native and Manhattan, made it into the World's Top 50 Bars list last year, compared to only one entry in 2009. Meanwhile, a total of 11 bars flew the flag for the country in the Asia's 50 Best Bars 2019 list.
Creating the perfect tipple goes beyond making established classics and more bartenders experiment and make their mark by adding a local twist Follow these simple recipes provided by some of our favourite bars using some pantry essentials and common household ingredients to craft that refreshing drink you need and crave for, injected with plenty of Singaporean flavour.
1/6 Foragers' Garden
Known for its dose of antioxidants and vibrant hue, butterfly pea flowers—often used in Thai, Malay and Peranakan cuisine—plays an integral role for this concoction. Referring to its bright blue hue, Vijay Mudaliar, co-founder of Native says: "We hope that this drink would brighten the day of cocktail enthusiasts who prepare it at home." Firstly, bring a mixture of tonic water, white sugar, calamansi, a pinch of citric acid powder and handful of dried butterfly pea flowers to a boil until the colour intensifies. This forms the base cordial for the cocktail. Stir it into a glass half-filled with ice, together with a splash of soda water and ginger beer for the perfect perk-me-up on a warm weekend afternoon.
Drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese medicine, this recipe begins with brewing a pot of tea using dried roselle flowers and hawthorn slices—a combination known to aid digestion and boost metabolism. "In addition to the health benefits of these ingredients, we also chose them because of their bright colours, which can act as a mood-lifter," says Mudaliar. Add an equal part of gin to the tea followed by a dash of honey and an egg white. Shake the concoction once first without ice, before adding three cubes followed by a vigorous shake. We like how it resembles a gin or whisky sour but complemented by subtle notes of roselle and hawthorn.
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3/6 Pandan Gardens
By Jigger & Pony
The folks at Jigger & Pony have come up with a sweet drink that also provides a peppery kick. It comprises mainly two parts: pandan pepper vodka and cherry tomato syrup. The former requires fresh pandan extract, vodka and white peppercorn, while the latter is a combination of tomato juice and caster sugar. "Pandan is a common flavour across the different cuisines in Singapore. This humble ingredient is also reflective of hawker culture in Singapore, as seen in our local desserts," shares Jigger & Pony's bar manager Jerrold Khoo. Stir both concoctions together with ice in a rocks glass, before serving it up with some zested lemon to garnish.
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4/6 Jasmine & Ginger
By Jigger & Pony
Honey ginger syrup is the star of this alcohol-free drink. Mix a bowl of sliced ginger with caster sugar, before boiling it with a spice mix of cardamom, clove, chilli and cinnamon. Strain the aromatic syrup, add an equal amount of honey and refrigerate it. To prepare the drink, combine the honey ginger syrup with your favourite jasmine tea, fresh lemon juice and an egg white in a Boston shaker and shake well. Serve in a coupette galss with candied ginger slices on the side. "The intoxicating aroma of Jasmine is a common scent in Singapore, and reflects the garden city that we live in," says Khoo. "Its sweetness provides a balance to the spicy notes extracted from the ginger."
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5/6 Lemongrass Pandan Vodka
By Revamp Kitchen & Bar
For an oriental take on a classic Old-Fashioned, this medley will do just the trick. Steep the lemongrass pandan tea bag for 15 minutes before mixing the brew with a dark sugar syrup made of brown sugar and warm water. Add a splash of vodka and a squeeze of lemon juice before serving in a rocks glass, with lemongrass pieces as garnish. "Expect citrusy and nutty notes as you sip on this refreshing drink," says Kantiwong. Like the Old-Fashioned, the drink packs a punch with the sweetness bringing out the complexity of the flavours.
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6/6 Chrysanthemum Honey Cooler
By Revamp Kitchen & Bar
Beat the heat with this thirst-quenching, non-alcoholic concoction. Prepare a honey syrup mixture made of two parts honey and one part warm water, then stir it into a chilled based of equal amounts of chrysanthemum tea and tonic. "This drink uses our favourite chrysanthemum tea and the honey syrup completes its floral aftertaste," enthuses Kantiwong. Top it off with dried chrysanthemums for that additional pop of colour.
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