A gin thing

Sin­ga­pore drinkers head over heels for the bou­tique spirit

Paradise - - In Paradise | Contents -

Since 1915, with the in­ven­tion of the Sin­ga­pore Sling at Raf­fles Ho­tel, Sin­ga­pore has been wed­ded to cock­tails and has ev­ery­thing from hid­den speakeasy bars to glitzy rooftop palaces.

But per­haps the bar scene is hav­ing a midlife cri­sis, be­cause drinkers in Sin­ga­pore are head over heels for gin. World­wide bou­tiquescale pro­duc­tion and the use of in­ter­est­ing botan­i­cals mean you can now love a dif­fer­ent style of gin ev­ery night.

The grand dame of all gin bars is AT­LAS, high on wow fac­tor. AT­LAS in­vokes 1920s op­u­lence, with dark leather, gilded bal­conies, rich red car­pets, and deer mu­rals on the ceil­ing.

With a stag­ger­ing 1010 bot­tles, the bar boasts one of the big­gest gin col­lec­tions in the world, all housed in a three-storey gin tower.

Gin master Jason Wil­liams ex­plains that, as with food, peo­ple are be­com­ing in­ter­ested in the ori­gin of their drinks and seek­ing more in­ter­est­ing tastes. “It’s be­cause of all these beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral herbs, spices, fruit, barks and roots that make up the botan­i­cals in gin,” he says. Try the At­las Mar­tini, with Lon­don dry gin, Ital­ian bianco ver­mouth, or­ange bit­ters and a splash of cham­pagne vine­gar. For a ca­sual gin en­counter, visit the Spiffy Dap­per. Old-school nau­ti­cal lanterns pro­vide dim light­ing, and you may be of­fered a ham­mer to bash your own dent into the brass bar-top, just for fun.

Man­ager, Pavel Zdarsky, rec­om­mends the Spif­fli­cated Beet, with Lon­don dry gin, dry cu­ra­cao, home­made beet­root syrup, lime, and black wal­nut bit­ters. Served with a basil leaf and le­mon bis­cuit, this drink is an earthy and sour taste sen­sa­tion. If you’re look­ing for a bud­get-con­scious gin, visit Bri­tish

themed gas­tropub Oxwell & Co, lo­cated on trendy Ann Siang Hill be­side Chi­na­town.

There are sev­eral lev­els in this his­toric shop­house, but do climb the three floors to the leafy rooftop for the cool­ing breeze.

While be­spoke gin creations are avail­able, their sig­na­ture gin cock­tail is the Gin and Chronic and it’s avail­able on tap, mak­ing it cheaper. Or if it’s vol­ume you’re af­ter, Bath­time is a mini-bath­tub of Hen­drick’s gin and tonic, serv­ing four.

For a colo­nial feel, head to the only gin gar­den in town, the Rab­bit Hole.

En­ter through a lush tun­nel of trop­i­cal plants lined with fairy lights and sink into a ro­man­tic wrought­iron swing or wicker gar­den chairs. The bar is sit­u­ated at leafy Dempsey Hill and at­tached to a 1930s church-turned-restau­rant, the White Rab­bit.

Try a G’vine Flo­rai­son, an aro­matic French gin made from grapes in the Co­gnac re­gion, and quirk­ily topped with a de­hy­drated or­ange basket of dried camomile flow­ers, served with house-made tonic and homegrown herbs.

Drinks men­tioned in this story range from $SG16 to $SG26 (about PGK65), plus seven per cent tax and usu­ally a 10 per cent ser­vice charge. Air Ni­ug­ini flies from Port Moresby to Sin­ga­pore five times weekly. See airni­ug­ini.com.pg.

With a stag­ger­ing 1010 bot­tles, the bar boasts one of the big­gest gin col­lec­tions in the world, all housed in a three-storey gin tower.

Just the tonic ... AT­LAS, the grand dame of all gin bars in­vokes a 1920s op­u­lence (left); the Rab­bit Hole (right).

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