Gin and Jellyfish? You Might Be at a Bar in Singapore.
In the cocktail world, Singapore almost inevitably evokes the pink, gin-based, grenadine-spiked Singapore Sling, a drink born in 1915 at the stylish Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel. In those strait-laced colonial days, it was improper for women to imbibe in public, so a bartender formulated a cocktail that looked like fruit juice. Today, the creative minds at idiosyncratic bars across the city are putting the same spirit of ingenuity to work, driven by eco-consciousness and the island’s diverse heritage, and highlighting some unexpected ingredients. Here are six standout spots.
“The fun thing about gin is that the possibilities are endless,” said Atlas’s head bartender, Lidiyanah K, ticking off some of the many directions I could take: “Floral, citrus, spicy, herbaceous.” Gin, while defined by the flavor of juniper, is hardly homogeneous. And if ever there was a place to learn about the diversity of gins produced with local botanicals, Atlas is it. Yes, it’s in the lobby of Parkview Square, a grand Art Deco-style office building that houses several embassies, but calling it a lobby bar feels a bit like calling the Beatles a rock ’n’ roll band or Georges Seurat a landscape painter. Think of it as a gin museum: It offers more than 1,300 varieties of the spirit, many displayed in a soaring, 26-foot gilt tower. The collection includes a veritable archive of historic bottles, pulled from one of the tower’s high shelves when someone orders a selection from the “vintage martini” section. You can choose your own gin from any decade of the 20th century (60 to 275 Singapore dollars, or about $45 to $205).
The Gilded Age-inspired space also features a room with an epic Champagne collection. Renovated in 2017 as a paean to