To some, bartending is a career. To Sasha Wijidessa, it is a calling. The third of four children, Sasha bucked her parents’ expectations of a career in the pharmaceutical industry, choosing instead the rigours and joys of bartending.
Formerly a waitress, she was headhunted by her mentor and award-winning bartender Luke Whearty. The young talent turned her innate artistry—and her diploma in pharmaceutical science—towards her newfound passion, creating a menu of natural wines through her knowledge of distillation.
Now a veteran of the craft, Sasha dreams of having her own space to create cocktails that fuel new connections, and straddle the boundaries of art and science.
Despite her talent, Sasha’s growth as a bartender was hard-earned. “I would wake up at 7.30 in the morning, intern at a dental clinic until 6.30pm, and then head to the bar where work would end at 3am,” she shares. “I was a bar back for nine months because I was really shy.”
To Sasha, these rigours pay off in a heady blend of creativity and connection. “I’ve a few regular customers who’ve become friends of my own, and I feel like we’ve been on a journey. Being able to put inspiration into a drink, and then sharing that with someone from the States, or Europe, or China? It’s indescribable.”
From buzzing nightlife spaces to bars serving up exquisitely-crafted cocktails, Sasha invites you on a journey that merges the rigours of craft with the joys of newly-forged connections.
More than just a buzzing nightlife district, Ann Siang Hill is home to myriad award-winning cocktail bars similar to the one where Sasha first learned her craft.
“The bartenders who introduced me to this industry and helped me along the way will always be my mentors, no matter what paths we take down the road.”
Inspired by the literature of Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man is a bar along Keong Saik Road that serves Sasha’s favourite cocktail. “Death in the Afternoon is both classic and very easy drinking. It’s not just the drink you make but the service you give, and The Old Man delivers both.”
When it comes to cocktail ideas, Sasha is inspired by the new and nostalgic dishes at The Coconut Club, from fusion fare to the nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk, served with an array of side dishes) and chendol (shaved ice dessert). “The Coconut Club is very traditional,” she says. “Their dishes are what you’d find in hawker centres, which are unique to Singapore.”
Besides bars, Singapore is also home to a wealth of dance clubs. “Our city never sleeps, and is filled with iconic spots that have great music and good vibes,” Sasha shares. “I’m honestly not much of a clubber, but I used to hang out at Kilo Lounge in Tanjong Pagar before it closed... Clarke Quay’s also a great neighbourhood to check out if you like to party.”
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