Tanglin Gin has won the race to become the first made-in-singapore gin, but this is just the start. Other than Paper Lantern Gin (drinkpaperlantern.com), a Singapore-conceived gin made in Chiang Mai (2016), and Leopold Organic Sloe Gin (leopoldspirits.com) co-created by Klaus Leopold and made in Austria (2017), here’s what else to drink that bears a local twist. Tanglin Gin
The gin: First Batch Orchid Gin (2018)
Highlight: After a year of bureaucratic and operational hurdles, we finally have Singapore’s first gin. The base of neutral grain spirit from Australia is run through their micro-distillery in Mandai, with infusion of amchoor (powdered green mango) for citrus, complemented by whole organic oranges placed under the whole vanilla beans in the still. The other not-so-secret ingredient is the powdered stalk of dendrobium (orchid), a Chinese immortality herb which gives a bitter complexity. A slice of fresh or dehydrated orange activates the gin’s juicy and dry profiles respectively.
What’s next: New flavours are in the works: Mandarin Orange and Chilli, and Cranberry.
Where: $110 from distributor gainbrandsdirect.com or tanglin-gin.com
The gin: Sons of Tippling (2018) Highlight: To specifically complement Tippling Club’s cocktail offerings, chef Ryan Clift, ex-tippling bartender Joe Schofield and master distiller James Young collaborated on this limited edition (300 only) bottling. Made in Swan Valley, the gin is crafted from locally grown Australian sugarcane and uses the one-shot distillation technique to get a more precise flavour profile. Distiller James Young, who was awarded Champion Australia Distiller 2017, hews to small-batch production and it shows in the acute flavours of liquorice, aniseed, lemon myrtle and two kinds of citrus peel.
Where: Have it in the signature Sonic Negroni, where it brings a distinctively softer, rounder profile with more nuances than the usual crisp, woody style. Or buy a bottle ($90) from tipplingclub.com
Rachelle The Rabbit
The gins: Pandan and Torch Ginger (2018) Highlight: The gins are inspired by grandma’s rempah aromatics, and their base spirit is derived from RTR’S in-house fermented honey (mead). Honey is said to enhance the medicinal qualities of plants, and founder Simon Zhao believes that by using honey instead of grainbased spirits, more aromatic notes and nutritional properties are extracted during infusion and distillation. Every process, from fermentation to bottling, is done in Singapore.
When: We sampled the work in progress, and can vouch that these will be excellent sipping gins. The Pandan is smooth with a long aftertaste, while the Torch Ginger along with eight other local herbs and spices has a more rich, complex, spicy palate. Zhao hopes to launch the gins by end 2018. rachelletherabbit.com