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A refreshing mix of tapas and sangria

Words by Andrew Koh

Que Pasa puts a modern twist to the traditional Spanish sangria

Located at 7 Emerald Hill Road, Que Pasa (Spanish for “what’s happening?”) is one of the Singapore’s bar scene veterans since 1995. Known for its authentic Spanish wine and tapas bar, the folklore continues to be exceptional in this beautiful restored colonial era Peranakan shophouse. In the main floor, the interior houses an impressive cellar collection of wine bottles and tapas plates, with large wine barrels used as tabletops, rustic wooden tables and benches providing an intimate setting for friends to enjoy their tapas, drinks, and conversations.

As they say the sky is the limit, nightlife here in Singapore has been thrust further into recent years as the city’s bars race to one-up each other to attract consumers. Despite the vibrancy of Singapore’s bar scene, bar owners and bartenders today face a new set of challenges. There is a seemingly endless appetite for consumers, particularly millennials, to try new, creative cocktails as compared to the usual old-guard cocktails. Compared to the usual traditional experience, consumers are now more appreciative of novelty and customisation in their drinks.

“A Gin Made Oddly” - Que Pasa’s Elegant Interior

To address this, NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) has been working with the Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore (ABSS) to identify the training needs and build a comprehensive roadmap for bartenders and mixologists, resulting in the inception of Bartender 4.0 initiative in 2019. Since the launch of this initiative, there is a renewed energy in bringing Singapore’s bartending scene to the next level. Many interesting activities were carried out, including the recently concluded Thirsty Tuesday Sangria workshop. Held on the 11 August at Que Pasa, David Chan, who serves as the Honorary Secretary (General) of ABSS, hosted the workshop and shared his experience with the participants on topics such as alcohol classifications, bar setup, best practises, and the use of unorthodox ingredients (e.g. chrysanthemum).

“Besides learning how to craft cocktails and experiences, the Bartender 4.0 initiative provides a very good platform for our industry practitioners to connect with various experts around the world. We are confident in inspiring the next generation of bartenders to hone their craft and encourage them to express their creativity,” he added. One of such notable accomplishment was the Elite Bartender and National Cocktail Competition held in 2019, giving rise to three proud representatives from Que Pasa. Two Elite Bartender Alumni— Elise Ang and Kenny Oh, and Champion for 2013 National Cocktail Competition, Dennis Tan, were also present to strut their stuff. They presented a refreshing series of sangria concoctions consisting of Cherry Red Sangria, Cava Sangria and Calamansi White Wine Spritzer.

Dennis Tan in preparation of Cherry Red Sangria

Recipes by Que Pasa:

1) Cherry Red Sangria
3 slices (muddle) Fresh Orange
2 nos (muddle) Dark Cherry
10ml (muddle) Sugar Syrup
20ml Martell VSOP
80ml Torbeck GSM
2 drops Angostura Bitter
Top Up* Apple Juice

2) Cava Sangria
1 slice (muddle) Lime
2 slices (muddle) Fresh Lemon
3 slices (muddle) Fresh Orange
150ml Sprite
150ml Freixenet Cava Reserve

3) Calamansi White Wine Spritzer
1 nos Calamansi
1 nos Sour Plum
80ml White Wine
Top Up* Manao Soda

Perfect pairing of tapas and sangria

Bartender 4.0 is not about simply proving a mettle to make quality drinks, but there is also paramount importance of creating unique flavours and incorporate the right food with it, as well as adopting the best practises to deliver an impeccable experience for each consumer. Like the sangria prior, it went amazingly well with the tapas such as the Huevos Estrellados Con Jamon, a traditional Spanish dish of smashed eggs with pure iberico jamon served on a bed of fries, the ever-appetizing Antipasto, and the charismatic Sautéed Garlic Prawns.

Despite its relatively short period over the past 1 year, many have already witnessed considerable success for Bartender 4.0’s initiatives. With that confidence in mind, it is slated to have more exciting line-ups to come in the near future. Do stay tuned for more updates.

For more information on Que Pasa, please visit http://www.quepasa.com.sg/.

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