[dropcap size=small]A[/dropcap]lthough gin has taken a back seat to spirits like vodka over the decades, the recent wave of speciality gin bars and gin-based cocktails in Singapore suggests that drinkers are increasingly embracing this versatile spirit. According to Joshua Baxter, group beverage manager at The Lo & Behold Group that owns gin-focused garden bar The Rabbit Hole, gin’s renaissance can be attributed to Spain, which spearheaded the craft gin movement (about a decade ago) that later swept across the globe. “It introduced a fashionable new style of enjoying gin and tonic,” he says. Christoph Duker, director of operations at Conrad Centennial Singapore, sees the rose- and cucumber-infused Hendricks Gin as the pioneer in this gin revolution. “Seeing that piece of cucumber in a glass and then tasting the fl avour in the gin opened our eyes to the world of botanicals,” he says. The hotel launched its “Gin Experience” to encourage guests to customise their drink by choosing from a wide selection of premium gins, craft tonics and bitters.

Cin Cin Bar

(RELATED: Singapore’s Best Wines were announced at the recent G Wine Awards 2016.)

The play on botanicals seems to be what’s got the world so excited about gin. At its heart, the neutral alcohol is flavoured with juniper berries, but there is infinite possibility in terms of the botanicals it can be infused with, from fruit and flowers to spices. On top of that, consumers are now more adventurous and better educated, thanks to Singapore’s burgeoning cocktail scene, as well as popular regional events like Gin Jubilee. Head bartender Fadly Sujebto of Cin Cin, one of the newest speciality gin bars, feels that consumers are indeed a lot more discerning now. “They are interested to learn more about the botanicals used, the differing flavour profiles and history of where and how it is made,” he explains. Cin Cin offers almost 80 gins, of which small batch Finnish labels top its list of bestsellers.