The Singapore Cocktail Festival is coming soon, and one of its most exciting elements is the search for Singapore’s Next Top Cocktail- a cocktail that can stand proudly next to the Singapore Sling on the global stage.
It’s not a simple search for existing drinks, however. To participate, Singaporean bars had to first create cocktails that pay tribute to both our heritage and our progress as a young, cosmopolitan city. They then compete in a gruelling 3-round contest- before one winner will be bestowed with the title of Singapore’s Next Top Cocktail.
What’s happened so far
For the first round last month, submissions were made by various bars in Singapore. These were then winnowed down to a short list of ten based on how well they scored on cocktail name, story, presentation, originality, and potential replicability at an international level.
Here are the 10 shortlisted cocktails that made it to round 2, in no particular order:
- Lion City Sour (28 HongKong Street)
- Hujung (Pulau Bob’s Bar)
- Yesteryear (Cin Cin)
- Kopi ’Ol Fashioned (Crackerjack)
- The Red Dot (Hopscotch)
- Çerates (Manhattan Bar)
- Shiok Lah (Mitzo Restaurant & Bar)
- Leo’s Flip (Nutmeg & Clove)
- One Man Punch (The Other Room)
- SatayPura (Tiger’s Milk)
A second round of evaluation was carried out by a team of independent judges this week (a torturous task, we’re sure). From what we know, the drinks were judged based on taste (balance and texture), crowd experience (thematic design across menu, venue, etc.) and consumer sentiments (interviews with three consumers). The judges will announce which four drinks made it to the next, and final, stage next week.
While we awaited the verdict with bated breath, we also had a chance to try out some of the shortlisted creations. We’re not quite sure which ones will eventually ascend to mixology Valhalla, but we took the chance to form our own impressions of the drinks anyway.
Leo’s Flip (by Nutmeg and Clove)
Fans of Nutmeg and Clove will no doubt be aware of the bar’s Singaporean orientation. From the traditional Straits decor, a cocktail menu themed around Singapore’s history, and drinks bursting with local flavours, natives of our sunny island will feel right at home at the bar. Their entry to the Cocktail Festival is a number that we first saw traces of during Chinese New Year– the Prosperity Flip.
We described the Flip as drinking a liquid pineapple tart then, and bartender Pan has since made a few tweaks since that have (unbelievably!) enhanced the distinctive flavours. The updated drink retains the homemade spiced Pineapple puree, Ron Zacapa 23, Egg yolk, Ameretto and spice garnish. On top of that, with the addition of Wild Turkey American Honey Liqueur, the drink now has a honeyed richness that adds strength, complexity, and depth.
Sataypura (by Tiger’s Milk)
Satay fat washed-bourbon, mixed with peanut butter and a syrup of tumeric, lemongrass and other satay spices make for a decadently rich cocktail. To complete the package, the folks at Tiger’s Milk garnished the cocktail with a chunk of actual satay, onions and cucumber.
Sweet, savoury and spicy flavours dominate the cocktail; if Leo’s Flip was pineapple tarts in liquid form, then Sataypura would be Satay in a glass (or bowl, in this case). It does an exceptional job of capturing the flavours of our favourite local barbecued meat-on-a-stick, but we do think that a touch more bourbon would lend the drink greater strength and depth. It is certainly unique; we don’t recall ever having tasted a cocktail with this particular flavour combination before.
The names of the final four contestants will be made public in a matter of days, and we’re eagerly anticipating the verdict. The four contending bars will go on to round 3: serving the cocktails at pop-up bars within the the Festival Village.
Here’s the fun part- you get to help decide who wins round 3! The victor will be determined based on the number of cocktails sold over the four days and a tally of consumer votes. To lend your support, simply upload images on social media with the hashtags #SingaporesNextTopCocktail and #NameofParticipatingBar during the festival.
In the end, the final scores will be totalled from all three rounds, and the winning cocktail will be declared Singapore’s Next Top Cocktail 2017.
We’re a little giddy with anticipation. Stay tuned for more coverage.
The #SGCF2017 Festival Village is located on 99 Beach Road and open on 16 and 17 March (Thursday and Friday) from 4pm to 10pm, and 18 and 19 March (Saturday and Sunday) from 12noon to 10pm. Entry to the village is free and all cocktails will be retailed at $12 nett.