Sunday, March 06, 2016

Singapore Cocktail Week Returns!

After last year's wildly successful inaugural edition, Singapore Cocktail Week returns in 2016 from 12 to 19 March. And this time, Asia's biggest cocktail festival gets even bigger. Celebrating all things cocktail, this week-long festival will feature over 60 participating bars and, for the first time, restaurants, plus close to 200 cocktail themed events! I've a friend who might exclaim "fuyoh!" Moohehe.   
 
I had the opportunity to go on a bar tour to check out some of this year's shaken, stirred and poured offerings. Regurgitating for your benefit, here we go!
 
Stop number one brought us to Tanuki Raw at the National Design Centre where we sampled the Tanuki Garden, a refreshing concoction of vodka, celery juice, green apple, lime, absinthe, basil and coriander. It tasted pretty healthy! Light, delicious and defo something I could have for breakfast. Moohehe. Equally breakfast-apt was the Bakon and Espresso a very good perk-me-up which was creamy with coffee and chai spices notes though the bacon flavour was hardly discernible. 

One should head to Tanuki Raw early because of this awesome katsu-crust beef sliders. FREE during happy hours from 5pm to 7pm with purchase of a cocktail or mocktail.

Also not to be missed here is the Truffle Yakiniku Beef Donburi, a bowl of seasoned Japanese rice topped with slices of US Black Angus beef short ribs, pickles and an onsen egg. Sure, it might be a little rough around the edges but considering its wallet-friendly $18 price tag, it's a yummy way to line the stomach before hitting the cocktails.

Oh and by the way, Tanuki Raw will be presenting a cocktail brunch named Brunch Designed ($80) on 19 March featuring its signature melding of playful American street food with Japanese cuisine, two cocktails and the use of its Bloody Mary Bar.   

Mooving on, we headed to the boisterous Mexican bar Lucha Loco. Its Singapore Cocktail Week line up of five cocktails are based on tequila, mescal, pisco and gin. While I find the Pisco Sour a tad too sweet, I love their El Megroni, a smooth, rich and balanced concoction of mescal, Italian aperitif and vermouth. 

Also delicious is the Margarita Ultimo, a fresh, enjoyable sip with tequila, rinomato, lime, agave, egg white, orange zest and flamed bitters.
 
All of Lucha Loco's cocktails are made using agave instead of simple syrup. Agave syrup, which is derived from the same cactus as tequila, is sweet but has a deeper flavour profile than being just one-dimensionally sweet.

For something really refreshing, opt for Tippling Club's Tanaka Collins. Built using yuzu, vodka, lemon, gomme (actually means simple syrup. moohehe) and soda, this cleansed and teased the palate with its zesty flavours and gentle bubbles.

To accompany the cocktails, Tippling Club offers several delightful nibbles like the jet black Charred Peppers, Croquetas, scrumptious Manchego Bread Puffs and Curried Lamb Cigars. 
 
As part of Singapore Cocktail Week, don't miss out on a special 5-course dinner collaboration with renowned Parisan bar Candelaria on 17 March at $155 per person, featuring Latin American cuisine paired with signature cocktails.

We reached our final stop at the energetic space of modern izakaya Neon Pigeon where bartenders Symphony Loo and Sam Wong hold court. Expect Japanese ingredients like yuzu, matcha, shiso and even wasabi in the cocktails here. Those who enjoy the botanical flourish of gin with a fruity tone can try the Kyuri Jin, a sakura tea infused gin-based tipple mixed with apricot syrup, yuzu lime and Tonka beans.  

For something heavier yet rounded and balanced, go for the Hato Kuro. Cognac, coffee infused vermouth, amaro and black walnut bitters. Perfect nightcap to a fun cocktail-filled night.
 
Each participating bar and restaurant will have their own line up of Singapore Cocktail Week cocktails which will be made available from 12 to 19 March at just $14 each for wristband holders! So the best way to enjoy the festival is to purchase a set of 8 wristbands (one different coloured band for each day) at $38 from Singapore Cocktail Week. These wristbands will give the wearer full access to all Singapore Cocktail Week parties and bar pop-ups, 10% discount off workshops, brunches and supper clubs and $14 cocktails at over 60 participating bars! See the festival's website for full details.
 
Thank you Singapore Cocktail Week and Food News PR for hosting me.

12-19 March
 
Chew On This: Kick off your Singapore Cocktail Week escapade by attending the Opening Party on 12 March from 4pm to 9pm. Held at Zouk, the biggest cocktail party of the year will present exciting experiences by Absolut Elyx, Diageo Reserve World Class, Hendrick's Gin and Monkey Shoulder Whisky plus signature beats by guest DJ Kenneth Francis and percussionist Mohamed Noor. Also get a chance to meet top bartenders from Singapore and around the world in one setting. All cocktails will be priced at $14 each. Entry is only for wristband holders! 

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