Cocktail fans, take note: the Singapore Cocktail Festival is coming your way from 16 to 21 March, with over 40 bars participating in the festivities. Here, we give you the lowdown on all the fun stuff and what to expect – and imbibe! – during this year’s celebrations.
#1 A massive cocktail village
Bring on the 5,000-square-metre cocktail village, where you can sample more than 50 tipples across nine cocktail rooms, for $12 a piece. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the representatives from Tess Bar & Kitchen, Cufflink Club and Pyxiemoss, alongside guest bartenders including Naren Young from Bacchanal in New York and other bartending talents from Australia, Thailand, Japan and more. Your little ones will also be enthralled by the array of restaurant pop-ups and live musical performances. Tuck into delicious bites prepared by The Disgruntled Brasserie, which serves modern comfort fare, and Ninja Cut, known for their hearty and wholesome one-dish meals. Need more reason to visit? Entry is absolutely free! Come down anytime from 4pm to 10pm on 16 and 17 March, and midday to 10pm on 18 and 19 March.
#2 Sample handcrafted spirits
If you’re a fan of unique, small-batch handcrafted spirits, you need to visit the Artisanal Spirits room. Sample some of the region’s most interesting spirits for just $19 for four 15ml shots. Must-tries include Nusa Cana, the world’s first tropical white rum – inspired by the serenity of Bali – and Son Tinh, Vietnam’s first internationally recognised and awarded liquor. Fan of spicy flavours? Kick things up a notch with the Sichuan Pepper Gin from Paper Lantern Distilling!
#3 Exciting competitions
The Asia Bar Battle will see bartending teams from across Asia fight their way through a variety of bar-related challenges, with interesting categories like “Need for Speed” and “Mystery Box”. The battles are happening from 16 to 18 March, from 5pm to 9pm, and on 19 March, from 2pm to 6pm.
Another one not to miss is the Singapore Next Top Cocktail competition, which will showcase four finalists and their Singapore-inspired cocktails. The drinks that have made it to the last leg of the competition this year are Kopi Ol’ Fashioned by Crackerjack, Shiok Collins by Mitzo Bar & Restaurant, Lion City Sour by 28 HongKong Street and Leo’s Flip by Nutmeg & Clove. You’ll also get to vote for your favourite!
On the closing night of the festival (20 March), 28 HongKong Street will be hosting Fastest Hands in the East, from 10pm to 2am. This annual speed competition will see clans of bartenders battling it out for the winning title. Watch the live action for free, or settle in at the bar for a special drink or two.
#4 Bar takeovers
Two bartenders from spirits group Remy Cointreau will take over Skinny’s Lounge for a late-night guest bartending shift. Happening on 17 March from 11pm to 3am, the night will see Josh O’Brien, from Melbourne’s The Bowery bar, and Dheeradon Dissara, bar manager of Bangkok’s The Never Ending Summer, showcasing a handful of signature cocktails.
Guest bartender shifts will also happen at Istanbul-inspired bar Fat Prince, every day from 17 to 21 March. On 17 March from 8pm to 10pm, Shawn Chong of acclaimed bar Omakase & Appreciate in Kuala Lumpur will be serving up three cocktails (named Jungle Bird, Imperial Peach Tea and KyKo Perez) made with Kyrö Distillery Gin and Mount Gay Rum. The following day, from 4pm to 6pm, Gruppo Campari Brand Ambassador Daniele Pirrota will be shaking up four of his own special cocktails.
Coming all the way from the eastern fringes of London’s Soho, the team from Bar Termini will be taking over Tippling Club on 18 March, at 7pm, with guest bartenders GregoryCamillò and Robin Kolek shaking up their signature Negronis, paired with Italian fare by Tippling Club’s Chef Ayo Adeyemi. Enjoy five pairing cocktails with five plates for $155; you’ll need to RSVP to Tippling Club at email@example.com or call 6475 2217.
Join the founders of Maracatu Cachaça to learn about the history of cachaça, a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane. You’ll also get to sample different varieties, and make your own Caipirinha (Brazil’s national cocktail) during the interactive workshop. The Cachaça & Cocktails masterclass ($46 per person) is happening on 17 March from 4pm to 5.30pm.
If you’re a fan of gin, don’t miss the Kyrö Distillery Gin workshop with Mauricio Allende, happening on 18 March from 4pm to 6pm. This masterclass will include an exploration of different botanicals, allowing you to recreate delicious and sophisticated cocktails at home. You’ll also get to enjoy a complimentary Kyrö Gin tasting alongside some delicious bites and cocktails from Fat Prince during the event.
Want to learn more about the process of distillation? Join Rick Ames of Paper Lantern Distilling as he covers the basics of spirit distillation: the raw ingredients, the fundamentals of fermentation, the role of yeast, the basic types of stills, and how different spirits require different distillation processes. The informative chat will be accompanied by three cocktails made with Paper Lantern Sichuan Pepper Gin. Sounds geeky, but it is all fun. Happening on 18 March, at 4pm, at The Spiffy Dapper. Tickets are limited to 20 pax, so you’ll have to book fast!
#6 Drink specials
Look out for these bar promotions running from 16 to 21 March:
- ATLAS Bar: Signature cocktails going at $16 each
Anti:dote: Signature festival tipples such as the Ugly Betty, which features Botanist gin, Cointreau Camomile and blanc vermouth, at $18 each
The Bar & Billard Room at Raffles Hotel Singapore: three bespoke cocktails ($14 each) specially for the festival. A highlight is the De Novo with its unique combination of star anise and mascarpone cheese, which add complexity to this whisky-based cocktail.
- B28: two signature cocktails ($15 each) that reinvent the Old Fashioned with a twist of local ingredients. Created by Resident Mixologist, Helmy, the Arenga Old Fashioned is a bourbon based cocktail with a mix of Gula Melaka and chocolate bitters, and the Old Fashioned Tea Party is a bourbon based cocktail enhanced with tea and orange bitters.
- Cin Cin: four G&Tea cocktails going at $14 each, including the Classic G&Tea, prepared with Bluecoat Dry Gin, English Breakfast tea, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juices, and a Yuzu tonic.
- CÉ LA VI: Frozen Negroni, Frozen Gin & Tonic and Frozen South Side, going at $20 each. Perfectly complemented by a 360 degree panoramic view, the latter is a refreshing tipple prepared with Bombay Sapphire, homemade mojito syrup, fresh lime and lemon juice, served with a sprig of mint and dehydrated lime wheel.
- Bob’s Bar: Pomaika’i (pronounced Po-mai-kai), which means “good luck” in Hawaiian. A refreshing twist on the classic tiki cocktail, this tropical gem combines exquisite rums such as Brugal Anejo Rum and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, with a tangy mix of fresh citrusy juices, orgeat syrup for sweetness and aromatic bitters. Guests can enjoy mixing the cocktail on their own, complete with a recipe card. Psst… Quote “Bob’s Bar Pomaika’i” for complimentary entry into Sentosa. Each drink goes for $20.
- Bar Stories: five cocktails ranging from $23 to $25. Order up the Love in Peru, prepared with Pisco, passionfruit and lemon, with a hint of rosemary and shaken with egg white.
Check out more promotions here!
Suffering a hangover from all that booze? Nurse your head with Crackerjack’s Recovery Brunch ($16), available from 16 to 22 March, from 8am to 3pm. On offer are two options: Naughty, which consists of Chilaquiles (a Mexican tortilla dish) and a mezcal Bloody Mary, or Nice, featuring house-made bone broth and a spinach superfood shake. Whichever you choose, both will get you prepped and hyped for the next night of Cocktail Festival shenanigans!
For more information, check out singaporecocktailfestival.com
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