My very own research of low alcoholic cocktails in Singapore breaks my expectations!
My personal review of the 5 bars I’ve chosen
Hunting “Low alcoholic cocktails in Singapore”
My long awaited trip to Asia has finally arrived, when on the 1st of October 2019 we depart on a long journey that will take myself and Marcella to three different cities in South East Asia, where we try to discover the cocktail scene,
Along with ingredients, typical spices, organic fruits, and mainly their willingness to reduce alcohol in the cocktails; thing that here in Europe is embracing the bartenders and the cocktail creators to craft some new style of libations that don’t feature alcohol as a main protagonist.
The list of the world’s 50 best bars has been announced in London while here (I’m in Singapore at the time of writing this article) is night-time
The names are still the same for a few years now, with many interesting cocktail bars from Asia scoring higher and higher each year, confirming that the cocktail culture here has nothing to envy to New York (winner with Dante) and London (second best bar in the world with the Connaught bar). – check the full list here –
I need to advise you on something:
I did not feel necessary to go investigate all the “famous and renowned” bars in the list of the 50 best bars, but doing it my style
Getting lost in the city, finding the unknown, the less expected, the incognito… not using trip advisor, bar blogs, and journals of the industry… just felt I could go around parks, museums, beautiful buildings and see what’s inside!
If you’re looking for an article that reviews the “already famous bars” … there are plenty of other reviews on those.
As well as making great oriental inspired drinks, the city of Singapore along with Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taipei, is filled with bars built and adorned with influence from all around the world cultures and styles of architecture, still the Chinese influence here is very strong and you notice you’re in South East Asia, pretty much everywhere!
Some of the greatest bartenders from London, Italy, United States, Japan and Australia have moved here to help the bar scene grow fast!
“But when you ask some of those to suggest you a cocktail with Low ABV, they laugh at you and say <<Here alcohol is the translation for LOVE” meaning that the night here carries along countless flows of booze to set the fun at its best vibes and to reach people’s heart!
… and wether you’re a normal cocktail lover or just a bartender touring around to taste some good drinks, you don’t exactly get what you’re looking for (if you’re searching for Low alcoholics!)
Let’s take a closer look to the Low alcoholic Cocktails in Singapore
On the top floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel , 10 Bayfront Avenue L57, Sands SkyPark, Hotel Tower 2, Singapore 018956
The Indonesian bartenders likes to be called @fiftyshadesofearl on instagram, and he’s the first bartender to Warn me and my girlfriend on the cheekiness of my request: here in Singapore alcoholic cocktails are the true trigger of LOVE!
FUNNY THAT! It will take him only 2 minutes to connect my expectations with his incredible skills of communications and cocktail craft, He prepares in a few moments this green healthy looking cocktails with LESS THAN 50 ml OF LIQUEURS AND SPIRITS :
The cocktail tastes absolutely good !! It has a fresh nuance of coriander that opens up to a whole new experience (unexpected in a cocktail) featuring Thai spiciness of chilli and fresh balsamic notes of mint, along with smokiness of that subtle hint of mezcal and tequila !
Considering that my 2 main requests for this cocktails were
- Low alcohol – 50 ML IN ONE SINGLE COCKTAIL- IS ALREADY TOO MUCH FOR US –
- Organic ingredients;
- Local flavours and Seasonality of the fruits and ingredients;
THIS DRINK HAS GONE FAR BEYOND THE EXPECTATIONS!!
|Mezcal 25 ml|
|Tequila 25 ml|
2) Fennel Café
18, #01-09 Marina Gardens Dr, Level 2 Flower Dome, Singapore 018953
Inside the Flower Dome at the Gardens By the Bay in Singapore, the little cafe surrounded by the flowers of every nation and continent, in the most beautiful and biggest flower exposition in the world, was only meant to be stop for a coffee and a piece of cake
But it turned to be the First cocktail bar visited in daylight to offer a selection of drinks that completely satisfy the expectations of a bartender who looks for inspirations and modern drinking
In this case, we have tried a cocktail with alcohol reduced just at the single shot (25 ml) and all other ingredients were ORGANIC, FRESH JUICES AND LOW SUGAR, ideal for a healthy lifestyle with a little hint of booze… but that’s not all!
This cocktails called SAILOR’S TEPACHE has a good measure of TEPACHE inside, my very first fermented probiotic drink created at home, and it seems to be exceptionally made by the bar crew here!!
The drink appears in a cloudy bubbly look, with a refreshing note of sour pineapple, creamy banana and a whole umbrella of spices charged up by the spiced rum!
I will take this Simple Cocktail, as a base to start working on some more creative recipes next summer when we will play with exotic fruits and flavours, it will certainly help me in many ways
We will remember this drink for its simple but unexpected explosion of body, balance between sweet and sour, killing the thirst after a long day of walking in the hot city of Singapore.
|Fresh muddled banana|
32 Beach Rd, Singapore 189764
My most favourite cocktail bar seen in this trip! Cocktails with one and only alcohol, not too punchy, yet with body but plenty of character from the organic fresh ingredients
As mentioned before, I chose the place we would visit based on my personal feelings, and in this case, I was pushed by the presence of a friend that left London and Mr. Fogg’s bar to move here a few years ago
Davide Boncimino lives here in singapore and works in this beautiful classy, elegant and stylish modern bar, that features a restaurant that promises
“a theatre-dining concept led by restaurateur Alan Yau, introducing a new era of Chinese dining in Singapore” as mentioned by their website.
“A key feature of Madame Fan lies in her tasteful interior, propped by emotional architecture. What transpires is an intoxicating, passionate ambience.”
|Plantation pineapple rum|
|Strawberry and cherry tomato|
4) 28 Hong Kong Street
28 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 189764
Classic Low Light and modern speakeasy, the usual fantastic hidden gem, at the ground floor of a residential building.
Not too far from the Singapore River, it seems to be one of the buzzy areas in the city, when entering the club, you walk through a little alley that turns into one of Asia’s most acclaimed cocktail bars, 28HKS is still one of Asia’s most trendy bars, it is the only one where we had to wait to be seated
At the bar counter we are lucky to talk to another great host, and this is what makes Asian bar and restaurant scene, the best in the world!
Some say that Kindness is the new strength, the new power and the very first resource that every person working in this industry should learn if not gifted from nature.
The barman smiles one more time when we ask a cocktail with a reduced amount of alcohol , but it will take me one or two sentences to warn him that we are on the lookout for modern drinking, he has to surprise me and Marcella not with liqueurs !!
..and he picks up the challenge !
|Attack of the killer Tomatoes|
|San Marzano Tomato Vermouth|
|East Imperial Tonic|
|Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal|
In no time he makes us two cocktails in two long drink glasses, both with local savoury flavours, each of them will be remembered as exceptional, unexpectedly good, with ingredients that distinguish balanced and zingy, refreshing, cold and not too expensive if you want to compare with other cities like London, but certainly above the average price in South east Asia
themselves from each other
A drink that stands out for aromatic toasted notes from the whiskey and the Genmaicha, this cocktail claims to be very similar to a whiskey highball, quenching the thirst of the cocktail lovers, you don’t get tipsy nor drunk, it’s what we were looking for!
The first ingredient, organic “San Marzano” Tomato vermouth infusion can drive you outside the main road, making you believe that you’re having a bloody mary, but it’s nothing like it, you’ll be presented an illusory clear looking drink.
The addition of the San Marzano tomato brings the umami, saltiness necessary for this drink to remind you are in Asia, and here you drink and eat savoury, salty, spiced.
Fino sherry and imperial tonic dance together to give lenght, body and those few bubbles to trigger the appetite before dinner.
80 Bras Basah Road ,Singapore 189560
Second visit for me to this elegant hotel bar inside the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, it was a pleasant confirm that cocktails here are delivered with the smile of talented barmen and female bartenders ! Bannie Kang here is the protagonist and rocks the bar since more than 3 years.
The Korean native head bartender at Anti:Dote has been recently crowned the world’s best bartender for 2019 at the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year cocktail competition.
“Ms Kang, 30, is the 11th champion and the first winner from Singapore. She has been based here since 2010 and at hotel bar Anti:Dote, she is known for her innovative cocktails that incorporate market-fresh ingredients, as well as ingredients found in traditional Korean dishes, such as white kimchi and Korean plum liqueur”
The non alcoholic cocktails we tried here (Aqua Fresca and Pink Panther) are above the sky, magnificent in their presentation, still filled with local sourced ingredients and a surprise, I’ve seen them using Aquafaba instead of egg white, for their foamy long drink.
In conclusion these are my My thoughts
about this selection of Bars, at the end of Day 1 !
All the cocktails in Singapore are linked to each other by the truly asian taste, a perfect combination of fresh local sourced herbs and spices, roots and fruits along with the modern techniques of bartending, the infusions, the bitters, the clarifications here are the same we are experiencing in the western bars
What makes Singapore cocktail scene “ Just Great” is the level of service and the hospitality of this melting pot of bartenders and waiters from all around the world!
Filipino, Malaysian, Chinese, Korean, Italian, American (and others) professionals bring to the scene the knowledge and the “savour faire” in good elegant manners, impeccable technical skills, smiley faces and an unbelievable level of taste in the cocktails
On the other hand – and this is my personal feedback – in Singapore the Low Alcoholic cocktail seems to be still at his very early stage, while talking to my colleagues this side of the world, I noticed that Alcohol here still runs and comes to your glass as a truly enjoyable “trigger of love” and while asking for ONE SPIRIT only, you don’t always get what you’re looking for
One thing must be said: when heading to smaller cafes and smaller drinking venues, let’s take the “Fennel” cafe in the Gardens by the bay flower Dome, you get surprised by the drink you ordered;
…Probably more than the most famous and acclaimed bars.