The mas­ter of mod­ern Malaysian cook­ing, plus our pick of the re­gion's top gin par­lours

Southeast Asia Globe - - Contents -

Gin has come a long way since Wil­liam Hog­a­rth’s de­pic­tion of a de­praved London be­ing wrenched apart by its ad­dic­tion to “mother’s ruin”. As the spirit en­joys a re­fined re­nais­sance, South­east Asia Globe serves up some of the best places to get your ju­niper kick > AT­LAS GRAND LOBBY & B AR, SINGAPORE

With a ceil­ing-high gin cabi­net and deca­dent mar­ble in­te­ri­ors, the At­las

Grand Lobby & Bar is a throw­back to the opu­lence and grandeur of the roar­ing twen­ties. The cabi­net – and ac­com­pa­ny­ing stair­case – is home to 1,000 types of gin and the fo­cal point of the bar, which dou­bles as a lobby for the art-deco Parkview Square of­fice build­ing. The At­las is

led by Ro­man Foltán, the for­mer third-in-com­mand at what was once voted the world’s num­ber one bar, Arte­sian at the Lang­ham London.


Given Thai­land’s (of­ten un­war­ranted) rep­u­ta­tion as a hot­bed for de­bauch­ery, tourists search­ing for a rep­utable es­tab­lish­ment to savour a well-made gin and tonic may feel in­clined to give a bar called Teens of Thai­land a pass. But that would be folly. Sit­u­ated in an 80-yearold shop­house, the 16-seat bar is the epit­ome of cool. An ex­posed-brick back bar re­veals an im­pres­sive in­ven­tory of more than 30 gins – and in­ven­tive scrawls on a black­board show that the bar­tenders know how to use them, with an evolv­ing menu that awards pri­macy to fresh in­gre­di­ents and orig­i­nal house in­fu­sions.


While not tech­ni­cally a gin bar, Gib­son de­serves a men­tion here if only for its splen­did ver­sion of its name­sake

cock­tail – a mix of Hen­drick’s and Mon­key 47 gin. A lesser-known vari­ant

of the age-old dry gin mar­tini, the Gib­son is gar­nished with a bar onion in­stead of an olive to em­pha­sise gin’s savoury notes. Lo­cated in Singapore’s Ou­tram Park, plac­ing it right in the thick of it, the bar’s in­te­rior blends

an up­mar­ket 1960s feel with an ideal neigh­bour­hood bar. While the menu changes reg­u­larly, stan­dards

rarely slip be­low ex­cep­tional.


Ap­pre­ci­at­ing that gin's sub­tle botan­i­cals lend them­selves par­tic­u­larly well to mixed drinks, Luan, or Mr. Luan to some, set up a gin bar last year to tap into Ho Chi Minh City’s de­vel­op­ing taste for cock­tails. Lo­cated in District 1, the city’s com­mer­cial hub, the bar prides it­self on its abil­ity to ex­pertly craft both tra­di­tional, stirred drinks and more ad­ven­tur­ous, con­tem­po­rary li­ba­tions. The staff grows their own herbs and are al­ways test­ing new ideas for in­fu­sions – we’re torn be­tween the black tea and grape­fruit or the lemon sor­bet and car­damom – en­sur­ing that each visit of­fers the prom­ise of some­thing new.


In keep­ing with the re­fined her­itage of the iconic Raf­fles ho­tel in Ph­nom Penh, this bar set in the lobby of­fers a range of 48 gins, which it pairs with a se­lec­tion of mouth­wa­ter­ing tapas or as part of an af­ter­noon tea. To com­mem­o­rate the 100th an­niver­sary of the ho­tel’s clas­sic Singapore Sling cock­tail, the Bri­tish dis­tillers Sip­smith even made Raf­fles its own gin us­ing a host of Asian botan­i­cals. With its warm in­te­ri­ors and at­ten­tive staff, the Writ­ers’ Bar is as good a place as any to cel­e­brate the nat­u­ral won­der that is the ju­niper berry.

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