Ori­gin bar

Go­ing back to the start with Ori­gin Bar.

Esquire (Singapore) - - Contents -

On this tiny is­land, our crown­ing lo­cal drinks are lim­ited to the Sin­ga­pore Sling, Tiger beer and the many vari­a­tions of kopi and teh. I’m not go­ing to of­fend any­one by stat­ing that it goes in that re­spec­tive or­der, but I dare say I’ve found con­tenders wor­thy of the list.

Lo­cated at the tower wing of lux­ury ho­tel Shangri-La, Ori­gin bar serves a cock­tail ar­ray that re­counts Sin­ga­pore’s past as a trad­ing port, pos­si­bly mak­ing our fore­fa­thers very proud. The cock­tails carry the le­gacy of five key dis­tricts that played a ma­jor role: Or­chard Road, Chi­na­town, Lit­tle In­dia, Boat Quay and Ma­rina Bay.

Each ode is an anec­dote dis­tilled in a glass. Take for ex­am­ple, the Or­chard Road-in­spired cock­tail, Ori­gin. You prob­a­bly didn’t know that the shop­ping par­adise was once home to pep­per and nut­meg plan­ta­tions in 1880, but bar man­ager Adam Bur­sik does. His gin-based mas­ter­piece is a spicy mix of sugar cane honey, nut­meg, pep­per, charred pineap­ple and lime husk wine. Other bit­ter­sweet cre­ations of­fer you ex­cit­ing el­e­ments like car­damom and tamarind, aro­matic fruits like fig and jack­fruit, and de­li­cious woody un­der­tones of aged rum or os­man­thus-for­ti­fied wine.

A visual stand­out of the mix is clearly The Pearl. Its seashell pre­sen­ta­tion is hard to miss, and so is the un­usual in­gre­di­ent used to en­hance the smooth tex­ture of the blend—silken tofu. It’s fas­ci­nat­ing how the land and sea trib­ute to Ma­rina Bay gives a flo­ral flavour from the mix of Black For­est gin, bar­ley shochu and sea grapes. Tee­to­tallers are not left out of this trop­i­cal voy­age down Sin­ga­pore’s il­lus­tri­ous his­tory. Each dis­trict comes with a non-al­co­holic op­tion that cel­e­brates lo­cal pro­duce in equal parts.

So drink up; there’s no bet­ter way to raise a glass to our na­tional her­itage.

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