Longing for the golden days of air travel — where every meal came with silverware and people dressed in suits and dresses instead of sweatpants and flip-flops? Idlewild promises that in a craft cocktail, and a night out at the art-deco space. Named for the original name of the John F. Kennedy International Airport, the bar offers a menu of 20 signature drinks inspired by 10 popular destinations along the famed Transatlantic Route. Stop by Paris and you’ll find the French Cook, a herbal twist on the French 75, upgraded with bouquet garni cordial, Chartreuse Génépi, and a dash of absinthe. Meanwhile, the New World offers pleasures like the Cuba-inspired Passage to Havana, a rich, spirit-forward mix of a rum blend, sherries, Foro amaro, tobacco bitters, and coffee Angostura bitters. There are also snacks themed after the 10 countries: from cubano sandwiches, and London fish and chips, to a baked filo lamb kofta from Morocco.
As an extension of restaurant JAG’s alpine herb-focused menu, the adjoining Lounge Bar will also be offering a range of cocktails featuring small-batch craft spirits and said herbs. Plants like hyssop have been flown in from the French Alps, and used in a namesake tipple with peaty Smokehead, and an entire array of amari including Branca Mentha, Campari, and Angostura bitters. For something on the other end of the flavour spectrum, head for the Surreau, a potent yet refreshing mix of elderberry, Cognac, Champagne, raspberry puree, and eau de vie.
Level 2, 76 Duxton Rd. Tel: 3138-8477
Madame Fan Bar
The glitzy Madame Fan adds another reason to visit the modern Cantonese restaurant: a fully equipped bar programme anchored by Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition 2017 winner Davide Boncimino. Keeping with the restaurant’s theme, the drinks are inspired by elements of Chinoiserie, backed by a strong craft element where most things — from infusions to syrups and garnishes — are made in-house. There’s the easts-meets-west spin on an old-fashioned, the (Not) Classic PBJ, which combines peanut butter fat-washed Glenfiddich whisky with caramelized kumquat liqueur; and the Moloko Royale, a stunningly-clear take on the white russian made with milk-washed vodka, cold-brew coffee liqueur, chocolate bitters, and macadamia nut syrup, all crowned with a champagne foam meringue.
NCO Club, 32 Beach Rd. Tel: 6818-1921
In what might be a first: the bar programme at the new all-day dining concept 51 Soho places particular focus on Chinese liquors and spirits. In the same vein as punch bowls, the cocktails here are served as communal, fun experiences, in batches of 9 or 12 cups that are inspired by Chinese drinking culture. There’s the Prosperity Cup: a dangerously easy-drinking tipple of rice wine, house-made barley juice, rock melon syrup, and white chocolate liqueur. For something more spirit-forward, there’s the refreshing Dancing in the Moonlight, made with cucumber syrup, kumquat puree, and a base of Zhu Ye Qing jiu — a distilled rice liquor flavoured with bamboo leaves and herbs. The snacks here pair exceedingly well with the rice liquor-based cocktails, with an array of moreish, piquant Xinjiang-style skewers that seem to be designed to make you knock back large amounts of booze.
51 Telok Ayer St, #01-01. Tel: 9755-1058
With private alcoves sequestered behind velvet curtains and arched interiors conjuring the stately elegance of New York’s Grand Central Terminal, Origin Bar’s handsome space sets the stage for its equally elaborate cocktails. Here, 19 new cocktails crafted by bar manager Adam Bursik make their debut on the menu, each one a visual enigma of sorts. Take for example Daring Pairing, which arrives as a clear, translucent drink with a thin, white chocolate eggshell perched on the rim. Have a sip and you’ll find a fiesty combination of wasabi and dark chocolate within the cocktail. The transparent liquid profile is achieved by combining wasabi, chocolate, and a neutral grain spirit before redistilling the mixture through a rotary evaporator to extract the flavours of these foods.
Elsewhere on the menu, other cocktails draw flavour inspiration from various districts in Singapore. The whisky-based Ma Sa La makes bold strides with the heady scent of Indian masala spices while Yiban Yiban combines the botanical richness of gin with osmanthus, mandarin orange and angelica root.