Chin up, drink up, and usher in the Year of the Ox with these quirky cocktails from eight of the best bars on the island!
In the great celestial race that shaped the Chinese zodiac as we know it, the Ox came second. Having kindly offered a ride to the rat, our bovine beauty with a heart of gold was only usurped by its freeloading companion at the very last second. 2020 may have epitomised the rat’s unpredictable nature, but 2021, the Year of the Ox, promises stability and nourishment. And we have just the thing to christen it: tipples that are as reliable as they are sustaining for the mind! Look no further than these eight bars and their Chinese New Year-inspired cocktails. Whether they feature bak kwa or pineapple, Indian sherry or London Dry gin, these bevvies are the perfect way to herald a new year!
1. JUNIOR THE POCKET BAR
This 25-seater at Ann Siang Hill rotates cocktail concepts every six months. And this February, they are debuting a Chinese New Year pop-up in collaboration with cognac champagne brand Rémy Martin. Their fan favourite, Rolling for Prosperity, mixes velvety Rémy Martin VSOP with spiced brown butter rum, pineapple, and lemon. It encapsulates the flavour of pineapple tarts and, lest you forget what they look like, comes with one as well. Another highlight is their Ang Bao Na Lai, inspired by none other than the coveted red envelope. With a base of The Botanist Dry Gin – coupled with lychee, grapefruit, lemon, rose, and strawberry dust garnish – the cocktail packs a powerful and refreshing, for a lack of a better word, punch.
For more information, visit juniorthepocketbar.com
2. NUTMEG & CLOVE
Nutmeg & Clove is an Ann Siang Hill speakeasy with a commitment to local flavours. And, though it is no easy feat, its latest Chinese New Year menu may just change our minds about rodents! Their cocktails are zodiac-themed, ranging from the Japanese-style Rat-A-Boy (Rat) – with sake, Islay malt whisky, hojicha, bread cream, and pecorino; to the milky and bubbly Paw-Paw-Ya (Dog), featuring white rum, gin, and papaya. Their 肥牛 (Ox) or ‘fat cow’, however, is the series’ showstopper, with bold spirits and even bolder spices. The daring drink includes blended malt, house-blended vermouth, coriander, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and even wagyu fat.
For more information, visit nutmegclove.com
You can always count on Manhattan to bring sexy back to Regent Singapore. With dim gold lighting, brass-rimmed tables, and plush maroon carpeting, it may very well be New York in all its glory. And even its libations are similarly inspired. The Columbus Park, whose namesake is a popular space for New York’s Asian community, is a love letter to pineapple tarts – the beloved Chinese New Year cookie. Those with a sweet tooth will surely be satisfied by the combination of Chivas 13 Sherry Cask, dry vermouth, Cointreau, house-made pandan syrup, koko kanu, and caramelised pineapples.
For more information, visit regenthotels.com
4. JEKYLL & HYDE
This intimate, upscale bar along Neil Road is known for its creative inventions, and their two Chinese New Year offerings are living proof. The Bak Kwa OF is an artistic twist on the old-fashioned which sees Bulleit Bourbon fat-washed with butter and bak kwa, then mixed with miso maple caramel and homemade spiced bitters. The result is just left of traditionally Asian, with an umami flavour profile that delights with a hint of spice. For a lighter and sweeter alternative, look to the Mandarin Gallery. The infusion of Tanqueray London Dry Gin with mandarin honey makes for a deliciously potent blend of sweet citrus.
For more information, visit jekyll.sg
5. CÉ LA VI
Cé La Vi needs no introduction. The rooftop bar sits 57 stories high at Marina Bay Sands, an iconic hotel along Singapore’s skyline. For reunion dinner, order The Even, which, although is in their regular menu, boasts vibrant colours of orange and red incredibly fitting with the new year. Instead of the traditionally bourbon-based New York Sour, this clever cocktail uses Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whiskey, coupled with schichimi togarashi 7 spice and hibiscus tea, which provides a hint of sweetness. The cocktail is further nuanced with sesame seeds, for texture; orange zest, for tartness; and ginger, for spice.
For more information, visit celavi.com
6. NO SLEEP CLUB
For tasty tipples with a side of word play, head to Keong Saik Road’s renegade watering hole No Sleep Club. Their 金 & TONIC, pun fully intended, is your standard G&T on festive steroids! A base of re-distilled London Dry gin joins bergamot, mandarin juice, and genmaicha, a Japanese green tea. The mixture is then carbonated with a delicious in-house tonic. The NEGRONI$, another spin-off, contains orange and pineapple gin, house-made cherry cream, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Thanks to rounds of fat-washing and clarifying, the cocktail retains a decadent creaminess without any extra dairy.
For more information, visit instagram.com/nosleepclubsg/
7. POTATO HEAD
You can never go wrong with burgers and cocktails at Potato Head. And for a truly revitalising botanical blended beverage, try head bartender Gavin Teravasan’s latest creation: the Mandarin Elixir, consisting of Tanqueray London Dry Gin, fresh lime juice, mandarin orange champagne syrup, and prosecco. At once sweet and sour, it is best paired with Potato Head’s festive burger, the Chewbakkwa, which stacks vintage Tasmanian beef patty, charred tipsy sous vide pineapple, double smoked applewood bak kwa, and cheddar atop a toasted rice bun. The proverb rings true: good things really do come in pairs.
For more information, visit potatohead.co
You heard it here first; it appears that some cocktails actually can sustain your liver. Lyre’s is offering takeaway tipples with all of the good fortune and none of the alcohol! Their Absinthe and Lemonade is a simple pleasure with two named ingredients. Its verdant hue is meant to mimic jade, something of a national treasure in China, and beyond, which symbolises purity and longevity. In addition, Lyre’s also presents a series of non-alcoholic, auspiciously red-coloured classics with the Negroni Set, Boulevardiers Set, Manhattan Set, Jungle Birds Set, and more — for a convenient and boozy night in.
For more information, visit lyres.asia