Johanna Linden
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Cocktail slinging in Singapore

1st May, 2014 by Johanna Linden

Singapore is in the midst of a modern day Renaissance. The city has seen a tremendous business boom in recent years, and is today one of the fastest growing metropolises in the world.

Having undergone a remarkable transformation, it is now home to a landmark startup scene, a rich IT centre, an explosively expanding housing industry, and a fast-rising skyline. Yet one of the most delightful emerging trends in the city is the proliferation of world-class specialty cocktail bars. Whether you are a cocktail connoisseur or simply someone who loves the finer things in life, these are Singapore’s most exquisite drinks you won’t want to miss:

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Photo credit: Charles Chan

Singapore Sling

From its humble beginnings as a turn-of-the-century specialty concoction in the Raffles Hotel (where it is still very much at home today), the Singapore Sling has become an international sensation and can be found today on cocktail menus around the world. It consists of gin, cherry brandy, orange, pineapple, and lime juice—but any bartender worth his salt is sure to give it his own unique twist.

Bubble Tea

This innovative spin on the classic gin-and-tonic is a refreshing relief from those oppressively humid SEA days. At City Space, the talented mixologists shake together cherry blossom tea, Tanqueray gin, grenadine, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, and cranberry. Served with smoking dry ice, this is quite a cocktail.

Ketel Kurrie

Of all the things you might expect to find in a cocktail, curry seems amongst the least likely. Yet despite all odds, the creative geniuses at Nektar have managed to make an unforgettable vodka-based cocktail with locally sourced curry leaves as a main ingredient. With grapefruit, lime, and Benedictine D.O.M. each adding a piquant twist, the Ketel Kurrie is a cocktail unlike any other.

Pisco Passion

Inspired by the South American Pisco Sour, but given a tropical twist, the Pisco Passion served at Barkode is a refreshing delight for afternoon imbibers. It brings together fresh squeezed passion fruit, Peruvian grape brandy (Pisco), lime juice, sugar, and egg white for a one-of-a-kind flavor.

Help! Save the Bees

A cocktail with a cause, this improbably named drink was a quirky attempt by the staff at CUT to spread awareness to the plight of mysteriously disappearing North American honeybees. Served in a beehive-shaped glass, it features Adios Nonino, Amaretto, bourbon, Aperol, a sliver of burnt orange peel, and of course honey. While it is perhaps not quite nutritious, it’s certainly delicious.

Shrub-A-Dub-Dub

The Library has become an icon of the decadent, exclusive, and stylized cocktail bar scene in Singapore. This speakeasy is low-key, non-descript, hard to find, and even harder to get into. But their wild cocktail list is unlike any other. The Shrub-a-Dub-Dub is served in a tiny bathtub complete with a rubber ducky swimming in gin, vermouth, and apple juice. It’s as quirky as it is delectable, and it packs a punch that will leave you feeling squeaky-clean.

Drink Culture’s Bloody

It seems everyone today is claiming they have the best Bloody Marys in town, and this classic brunch cocktail is easy to find almost anywhere. But the bartenders over at Drink Culture have truly given this old favorite a new spin. They prepare it fresh for each customer with muddled cherry tomatoes, then add celery bitters and imbue it with a particular freshness by using cucumber-infused vodka.

In terms of sheer variety, density, and uniqueness, there is perhaps no other city in the world that equals Singapore’s singular cocktail scene. From quirky to classy, there is truly something here for everyone. And as the city’s boom continues, it seems the diversity of cocktail bars is somehow still expanding. As it does, we can be sure to find more incredible drinks making their ways onto menus across town. So what will they think up next? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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