Be­hind the bar­rel

We speak to Zouk’s F&B man­ager, Caryn Cheah, about Cap­i­tal’s new bar­rel-aged cock­tails. By Ni­cole-Marie Ng

Time Out Singapore - - Food & Drink -


COCK­TAILS: good things hap­pen when al­co­hol meets a bar­rel. Some of Sin­ga­pore’s best bars like Man­hat­tan and 28HKS have been bar­rel-age­ing cock­tails for year – but at Zouk? That’s not some­thing we thought we’d ever see.

Or­der­ing a bar­rel-aged cock­tail at the club makes sense. In­stead of a drink shaken up by a bar­tender strug­gling to meet or­ders, you’ll get a well­crafted cock­tail pre-batched by Caryn Cheah, the su­per club’s F&B man­ager. Cheah has been shak­ing up cock­tails for over ten years: she’s opened up her own bar, Barkode, been the brand am­bas­sador for Bac­ardiMar­tini and won nu­mer­ous bar­tend­ing awards. Work­ing with in­dus­try stal­warts like Ricky Paiva, Jay Gray, Stu­art Danker and Ti­mothy Barnes, Cheah has cre­ated eight bar­relaged cock­tails that you can now find at Cap­i­tal.


You’ll be sur­prised to learn that the first batch of bar­rel-aged cock­tails was made with­out any taste tests. ‘It’s hard to ex­per­i­ment when we’re dump­ing 5 litres of pure spirit in a bar­rel – and we’re not us­ing the cheap stuff,’ Cheah ex­plains. ‘It doesn’t take a ge­nius. We know the taste of the spirit and we know what kind of flavours the oak will im­part. We keep tast­ing af­ter the sev­enth week to make sure it reaches that sweet spot and doesn’t over-age.’

While the oak bar­rel im­parts notes of wood and vanilla, the process also mel­lows out the harsh­ness of the spir­its, har­mon­is­ing the flavours be­fore they reach your glass. You can have the cock­tails neat, but Cheah rec­om­mends them over ice for a smoother fin­ish.

Each cock­tail is aged for up to three months, so if it sells out, you’ll have to wait a long time for the next batch – you best hurry down be­fore they’re gone. ‘One bar­rel fills 40 glasses, and some­times we sell one bar­rel a night. We’ll also be putting some­thing dif­fer­ent in the bar­rels soon for next year, so you’ll re­ally have to be quick to catch your favourites.’

#02-05 Zouk, The Can­nery, 3C River Val­ley Rd (zouk­ Clarke Quay. Thu-Sun 9pm-late.

Good things hap­pen when al­co­hol meets a bar­rel

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