Every six months, Junior switches things up with a different cocktail concept. Its first was Noma, a showcase of mezcal and tequila and now it's shaken things up once more to bring you Magnolia. Named after the flower native to southern USA, the concept showcases New Orleans' cocktail culture, Creole cuisine and the distinctive tunes of the region. Magnolia celebrates this institution with cocktails like the Pimm's cup ($25), made with St George dry rye gin, champagne and citrus fermented blood orange tea, the Grasshopper ($25), a specialty of New Orlean's second-oldest restaurant, Tujague, which uses crème de menthe and crème de cacao to make a creamy treat that's a boozy version of an After Eight in cocktail and the truffled sazerac ($25), its take on the city's official cocktail that blends Pierre Ferrand Chestnut Barrel brandy and Willett three-year rye.
Operating in a small glass-enclosed pavilion next to Michelin-starred Song of India, Amrith is a 15-seat U-shaped bar that's cosy and warm with its copper-tone pendant lights and mahogany accents. Its leather-bounded menu is split into four acts: acts one changes every three months or so and features drinks inspired by various cocktail capitals, act two focuses on the classic, act three houses punch bowls and act four highlights bottles so rare, they’re probably the only ones on the island.
Pay a visit to the eighth seat on the Asia's 50 Best Bars list, a hidden second-floor sanctum on bustling Amoy Street that's dedicated to all things regional. Let the knowledgeable bar team led by Vijay Mudaliar educate you on spirits from Thailand, the Phillippines, India and beyond, paired with foraged ingredients to give you a taste of Southeast Asia in a cocktail. If you ask nicely, they'll lead you upstairs to see where they distill their house gins in flavours like matcha and coffee.
On the second level of Regent Singapore sits a portal to 19th-century New York City, where ladies are decorated in pearls and gentlemen dressed to the nines. Under lowered lights, large leather armchairs and sofas gather around tables to offer enough privacy for a clandestine rendezvous. The bar, where you’ll find manager Philip Bischoff, rests on a raised platform overlooking the night’s debauchery from the back of the room. Understanding the art of mixing up a drink begins with a visit to Manhattan’s rickhouse. It holds 106 American oak barrels, all ageing spirits, bitters and cocktails. In the Ingredients Room opposite the rickhouse, bell jars of herbs, spices, fruits and roots in various stages of drying, pickling and brining line the shelves – all used in their range of craft cocktails that trace New York's history through the years.
This grand art deco-inspired bar – complete with magnificent champagne-hued tapestries, intricate gold and bronze balconies and, of course, a massive gin tower standing imposingly over the space – is a definite must-visit. It houses the world's largest collection of gins, with over 1,000 bottles on its shelves, and an impressive champagne cellar to boot. The cocktails are just an impressive, get the Atlas Martini ($24), a spine-tingling blend of gin, Ambrato vermouth, orange bitters, champagne vinegar and pomelo or one of its other expertly crafted concoctions.
This is hands down, every oenophiles' most beloved shrine to natural wines. And you know it’s legit because it’s always buzzing with industry folks. There’s no catalogue at this gastrobar – its 150-or-so labels (from $58) are all on display and constantly changing. If it’s an education you’re after, swing by every day (well, Tuesdays to Saturdays), because the wines-by-the-glass (one white and one red, from $12) change daily. Plus, the grub is excellent too.
Gibson feels like the old friend you visit when a night out calls for good conversation. It’s a disarming charm that worms its way into the snacks and cocktails. The namesake Gibson ($23) is a boozy creation served with three bite-sized portions of onion, pickle and quail’s egg – all cured in-house. Its recently updated menu houses Southeast Asian and Japanese inspired creations alongside a series of non-alcoholic beverages for those attempting dry July.
Long before craft joints were sprouting up all over the city, there was Smith Street Taps, one of the OGs of Singapore's beer scene housed in a hawker centre, no less. The stall offers 12 rotating international and local craft beers on tap, priced from an unbeatable $8 a pint. It's also a couple of steps away from The Good Beer Company that offers craft beers and sake by the bottle for the discerning kopitiam goer.
Warning: this basement bar hidden along a back alley at the junction of Club Street and Ann Siang Hill is terribly hard to find but the effort is well worth it. Look out for the illegible scrawlings above the door and descend into the lair lit by a cloud of bulbs above the bar. Operation Dagger is a hotbed of creativity and cocktail craftsmanship, try ts range of house-fermented wines or pick a cocktail from its ever-changing menu that still has the sense to keep firm faves like the Hot + Cold ($25).
The entrance to this sexy saloon is hidden behind an unmarked door that blends into the surroundings of Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. Press the buzzer and a hostess should lead you a den that offers thoughtful cocktail creations prepared by Dario Knox. There are no labels on the bottles here. That’s because each liquor – rum, whisky, moonshine, what-have-you – and its many expressions have been aged and finished in casks by Knox himself.