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Bartenders’ secrets

SINGAPORE — Bartenders have secrets. But all you have to do is say the secret name, and you’ll be served up a specially concocted beverage.

SINGAPORE — Bartenders have secrets. But all you have to do is say the secret name, and you’ll be served up a specially concocted beverage.

Cocktails are regaining popularity in Singapore, with more cocktail bars sprouting around town offering mixtures of any conceivable combination complete with quirky names such as ‘Chicken Soup For The Alcoholic Soul’.

The bartenders at some of these joints have in their pockets a few drink recipes that are not listed on the menu.

To gain entry into the secret drinks club, you need to know the right bars and cocktail names. TODAY went scouting around some cocktail bars on the island to find a few such secret drinks you can try the next time you head out for happy hour.

Here are six bars with off-menu cocktails you can ask for:


This secret drink is sweet-sour on the first sip, but leaves a distinctly sweet aftertaste. This effect is achieved with the ingredients used — Sherry Creme wine, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice and Cruzan dark rum. Curated by bar manager Joseba Madina, 28, it was a drink he concocted when he was based in London. He later decided to include it as a secret drink and gave it a name.

Price: S$22

52 Boat Quay. Opens from 5pm to 12am. Closed on Sunday.


As its name implies, this aquamarine-hued concoction is made with Pinnacle vodka, triple sec, pineapple and lime juice, and topped with a pineapple. It is smooth and fruity, and a perfect tropical drink.

This cocktail was created as a perk-me-up tipple, bar operations manager at Acid Bar Yap Wai Chian said. It was created specifically to appeal to customers who are more adventurous at heart.

Price: S$25++

180 Orchard Road, Peranakan Place. Opens from 5pm to 2am (Monday to Thursday, and Sunday) and 5pm to 3am (Friday and Saturday).


In Spanish, “vencer” means “overcome” or “win”. The centrepiece of this beautiful concoction is lavender. Ironically, the bartender who created it is allergic to lavender, but attracted to its flavour, Jaslynn Looi, 23, kept on experimenting with it till she came up with Vencer — a drink that reflects her burning spirit.

This drink entered the semi-finals of the Bacardi Legacy contest, and Looi hopes it will raise people’s spirits when they drink it (pun intended).

Vencer comprises lavender syrup, a balsamic vinegar reduction, Bacardi light rum, lemon juice and egg white, and is finished by torching. The torched effect adds to the drink’s floral yet slightly sour flavour, giving it a well-rounded profile, according to Looi.

Price: S$20

28 Maxwell Road. Opens from 4pm to 1am daily.


Even cocktails can be cute. This cocktail resembles a dainty plant in a pot with mint leaves topping the drink.

188394 is actually the postal code of the bar’s location. Created by head bartender Steve Leong, 39, it is a dessert cocktail mixed with Mount Gay rum, a shot of espresso, caramel and vanilla syrup, hazelnut bitters, vanilla ice cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon powder. It is finished with a few chunks of rainbow marshmallow, and the cup is decorated with chocolate fondue and rainbow sprinkles.

Price: S$20

38 Seah Street. Opens from 12pm to 1am (Monday to Thursday), 12pm to 2am (Friday) and 5pm to 2am (Saturday). Closed on Sunday.


The bartender behind this cocktail took his inspiration from a Bramble cocktail he had in a bar in Scotland, Edinburgh. An internationally known drink, head bartender Jerrold Khoo, 26, liked the Bramble cocktail so much that he tried to recreate it, then added his own personal spin to it. The result is Flagship Bramble — containing gin, blackberry liqueur and lemon juice. The drink has the sourness, depth and the potency of a well-mixed cocktail.

Price: S$ 22++

18/20 Bukit Pasoh Rd. Opens from 6pm to 1am (Monday to Thursday) and 6pm to 2am (Friday and Saturday). Closed on Sunday.


This secret drink’s Finnish name translates to “forest”, and it was named as such because of its use of Koskue Gin, which contains botanicals that are handpicked from forests in Finland. It also contains Cin Cin shrub and cardamom bitters. Created by the bar’s assistant manager Fadly Sujebto, 30, the drink has a spicy yet earthy flavour, garnished with rosemary and cranberries. While it might be a drink targeted at gin lovers, this drink also has a little bit of a whiskey profile.

Price: S$15++

100 Peck Seah Street. Opens from 5pm to 11.59am (Monday to Thursday), 5pm to 1am (Friday and Saturday). Closed on Sunday.

All these drinks are, of course, merely a sampling of the secret tipples that are available out there. We have learned, too, that all you need to do is ask, and bartenders will usually share their secrets with you.

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