While you won’t be able to bask in the endless buzz of Singapore’s thrilling bar scene with the COVID-19 travel restrictions, you may want to ignite your passion for cocktail-making in the comfort of your own home by creating some Singapore-inspired cocktails.
Our guide to creating your own home bar will help you put together the fundamentals you’ll need to begin your journey into the craft of mixology. Be sure to raise a glass to the Lion City when you’ve concocted your first cocktail. Cheers!
What’s a home bar without an ample stock of alcohol? When it comes to picking your poison, your best bet is to go with what you and your guests prefer to drink.
That being said, there are certain staples that you should keep stocked. Here’s a rundown of liquors to keep in mind:
Made from juniper berries, gin was originally thought to have medicinal properties, and was used to mask the taste of quinine during the colonial era, when malaria was rampant in the region.
If gin is your preferred poison when it comes to cocktails, you may want to drop by Atlas Bar the next time you’re in Singapore. Besides its dazzling décor, this swanky watering hole is home to the world’s largest collection of gin.
Whether you’re a purist who drinks it neat or a cocktail connoisseur, your bar shelf just isn’t complete without a few bottles of whisky. Timeless concoctions that use this spirit include the Old Fashioned and the Highball.
Debates continue to rage on which country produces the best whisky. To cultivate your own palette, drop The Grande Whisky Collection or Manhattan the next time you’re in our city. The former offers an enlightening tour into the world of Scottish and Japanese whisky, while the latter stocks over 200 bottles of whisky from Kentucky.
While the word ‘rum’ may bring to mind swashbucklers and seafarers, you don’t have to be a pirate to enjoy this liquor, made from fermented sugarcane molasses. This spirit is used in classic cocktails like the pina colada and the mojito, making it a must-have for any home bar.
Rum lovers visiting Singapore in the near future may want to check out Origin Bar, which boasts over 350 bottles of rum from 40 countries around the globe.
You may have heard the joke about tequila’s potency, “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor…” but this distilled beverage isn’t just great for getting you sozzled. Hailing from Mexico, tequila is made from blue agave, and used in cocktails like the Bloody Mary and the Margarita.
Lower-quality tequila has a bad rep of being harsh on the throat—so make sure you stock up on a quality brand, or visit a bar with a reputation for having a good stock. The Other Room is notable for having over 150 spirits that they mature in-house, including a range of fine tequilas.
Mixers quite simply refer to non-alcoholic ingredients used in cocktails. These can range from basics like fruit juice and citrus to more exotic ingredients.
Native—one of Singapore’s most beloved bars—uses regionally-foraged ingredients like laksa leaves and candlenut, while the award-winning Nutmeg and Clove has a cocktail that uses crab stock to evoke the taste of our city’s national seafood dish—chilli crab.
If you’re just starting out, you may want to make sure that you have the essentials stocked, before venturing into more creative ingredients. Some staples to keep in mind include:
- Club soda
- Lemons and limes
- Fresh juice: cranberry, orange and tomato are safe bets
Bar Tools and Glassware
One of the most essential tools of bartending, a jigger is a measuring tool used in bars all around the world to get the perfect ratio of spirit to mixer in their cocktails.
A bartender’s pestle, used to mash—or ‘muddle’ in proper bartending lingo— ingredients like fruit, herbs and spices.
James Bond fans are probably already familiar with the phrase “shaken, not stirred”. This quintessential bartending tool is necessary for any aspiring bartender looking to mix drinks in a jiffy.
If you’re looking to up your bartending street cred with your guests, opt for a long-handled bartending spoon instead of a regular tablespoon.
Use this to strain out ice, bits of fruit and herbs from your cocktails.