Barrel-aged cocktails at Capital Zouk Singapore

We speak to Zouk’s F&B manager, Caryn Cheah, about Capital’s new barrel-aged cocktails
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Wines, whiskies and now, cocktails: good things happen when alcohol meets a barrel. Some of Singapore’s best bars like Manhattan and 28HKS have been barrel-ageing cocktails for year – but at Zouk? That’s not something we thought we’d ever see.

Ordering a barrel-aged cocktail at the club makes sense. Instead of a drink shaken up by a bartender struggling to meet orders, you’ll get a well-crafted cocktail pre-batched by Caryn Cheah, the super club’s F&B manager. Cheah has been shaking up cocktails for over ten years: she’s opened up her own bar, Barkode, been the brand ambassador for Bacardi-Martini and won numerous bartending awards. Working with industry stalwarts like Ricky Paiva, Jay Gray, Stuart Danker and Timothy Barnes, Cheah has created eight barrel-aged cocktails that you can now find at Capital

WAITING GAME

You’ll be surprised to learn that the first batch of barrel-aged cocktails was made without any taste tests. ‘It’s hard to experiment when we’re dumping 5 litres of pure spirit in a barrel – and we’re not using the cheap stuff,’ Cheah explains. ‘It doesn’t take a genius. We know the taste of the spirit and we know what kind of flavours the oak will impart. We keep tasting after the seventh week to make sure it reaches that sweet spot and doesn’t over-age.’

‘Good things happen when alcohol meets a barrel’

While the oak barrel imparts notes of wood and vanilla, the process also mellows out the harshness of the spirits, harmonising the flavours before they reach your glass. You can have the cocktails neat, but Cheah recommends them over ice for a smoother finish.

Each cocktail is aged for up to three months, so if it sells out, you’ll have to wait a long time for the next batch – you best hurry down before they’re gone. ‘One barrel fills 40 glasses, and sometimes we sell one barrel a night. We’ll also be putting something different in the barrels soon for next year, so you’ll really have to be quick to catch your favourites.’ 

Try a barrel-aged cocktail at Capital Zouk Singapore.

We test out three barrel-aged cocktails from Capital

Capital Zouk

EL PRESIDENTE (pictured) Barrel-aged cocktails don’t have to be heavy on the palate, some like the El Presidente zingy and refreshing. Crafted with Capital’s homemade grenadine, the citrusy drink has a mild fruity finish from the Martini Bianco Vermouth.

BACARDI 8 BOULEVARDIER Think of this as the Negroni’s seductive and mysterious older sister. Made with Campari, vermouth and Bacardi 8 instead of the usual whisky in a Boulevardier, this rich cocktail also has a strong aroma of coffee as the barrel is pre-conditioned with beans before the spirits are added.

OLD FASHIONED NUT CASE Old is liquid gold with this simple but refined twist on the classic Old Fashioned. Blending Monkey Shoulder Whisky with hazelnut liqueur and orange bitters, this bestseller flies off the shelf so if you’re lucky enough to visit while it’s in stock, make sure to steal a sip or two. 

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