Singapore has the Singapore Sling but how much do we know about the cocktails that give flavour to the countries closest to us? We hit our streets and take an alcoholic trip around the region – exploring those drinks from across Asia that distil what a country is all about into a singular cocktail.
Winter from Jiu Zhuang
Baijiu is not for the faint of heart. This high ABV spirit is similar to vodka and has been around in China for over 5,000 years. If you’ve always been too afraid to try it then start small by having a baijiu cocktail. The ones at Jiu Zhuang are inspired by the four seasons – we recommend Winter ($26), a mellow blend of Shui Jing Fang Baijiu, coffee liqueur and Baileys with peppermint for that extra festive zing. It’s not just baijiu on the menu, though. Spring ($26) is made with Chinese huangjiu and lychee liqueur to create a bittersweet cocktail.
Encik Punch from Mr Punch Public House
There’s no need to cross the border for a sip of Malaysia’s national cocktail, the Jungle Bird. Legend dictates that the drink was first concocted at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton back in 1978 and has been a hit all over the world ever since. Mr Punch Public House serves this Malaysian trademark with a twist – mixing rum and Campari with homemade jackfruit syrup instead of the usual pineapple and lime juice to fashion Encik Punch ($19). The result is a cool tipple with a bold tropical flavour perfect for this climate that’s further enhanced by a side of freshly cut jackfruit.
Bangkok Blazer from Long Chim
Take a step back fam, it’s about to get #lit. Long Chim’s Bangkok Blazer ($23) is a spirit-forward cocktail of house-made spiced rum with port, apricot and angostura bitters that’s set ablaze right before your eyes. The resulting tipple is strong, warm and comforting – the kind of drink you’d want to have on a freakishly cold day like the ones we were having in January.
Hanoi Martini from Little Saigon
The burgeoning bar scene in Vietnam is definitely worth a weekend trip up north. But if you can’t make it for a quick vacay then Little Saigon at Clarke Quay is the next best thing. The riverside restaurant dishes out modern interpretations of Vietnamese food and cocktails including the Hanoi Martini ($16.50), a sweet and zippy concoction of gin, orange curacao, lemongrass syrup and kaffir lime leaves that’s a little too easy to drink.