The Singapore Cocktail Festival (SGCF) is back for its 9th year and better than ever. From 5 to 21 May 2023, dozens of bars and restaurants across the city will come together to offer innovative cocktails, as well as exciting food and entertainment events that showcase the best of Singapore’s mixology scene. With so much to sip and see, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

From Pei Pa Kao to Smoky Scotch, we’ve got you covered with our top five picks for the most unique cocktails of the SGCF 2023. 

1. Back to the Roots from Republic

Back to the Roots ($26) from Republic is a cocktail that takes you on a journey to the bustling hawker centres of 1960s Singapore. It’s a tribute to our beloved hawker culture, an integral part of Singapore’s social fabric for decades, making it the perfect speciality cocktail to celebrate the Singapore Cocktail Festival. The cocktail pairs the familiar flavours of soy milk, gula melaka, and kopi with the smooth notes of Monkey Shoulder Premium Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, creating a unique and delightful blend that captures the essence of Singapore’s food and drink scene.

What sets Back to the Roots apart is its ability to elevate the quintessential kopitiam experience to the level of a premium cocktail bar. The cocktail is crafted with care and precision, with each ingredient carefully chosen to create a harmonious blend of flavours that pay homage to Singapore’s rich cultural heritage. It is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the mixologists at Republic, who have taken inspiration from the past to create something new and exciting for the present.

At Republic, Back to the Roots is just one of many cocktails on an extensive menu devoted to historical anecdotes inspired by the influential hallmarks of pop culture in the 1960s. The bar offers an immersive experience that transports you to a bygone era of sophistication and glamour, where style icons, legends of rock music, and the international jet set were all part of the cultural landscape. With its unique blend of old-world charm and contemporary innovation, Republic is a bar that is sure to delight and inspire anyone who appreciates the art of mixology.

While sipping on cocktails, diners at Republic can also indulge in some of their popular dishes. The menu features a selection of modern International small plates, such as Mini Kueh Pie Tee ($22), Mini Chicken Corn Dog ($22) and Gin Cured Salmon ($22). Diners can also try the unique Republic Fries ($16), which is an Asian twist on the classic french fry, featuring a Mala Aioli dip.

Present your City SGCF Takeover wristband to enjoy the Back to the Roots at $18

Republic Bar Singapore

Location: Level 3, 7 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039799
Tel: +65 6434 5289
Opening hours:
Mon-Thu: 9-12am
Fri-Sat: 9-1am
Sunday: 9-12am

2. Paper Crane by Hopscotch

Paper Crane ($25) from Hopscotch is a unique cocktail that combines unexpected flavours and techniques, resulting in a truly one-of-a-kind drinking experience. Inspired by legends and the popular cough remedy “Pei Pa Kao”, this unconventional cocktail is a combination of Roku Gin, mangosteen juice, sour plum, white chocolate, and homemade empress bitters. What makes it stand out is its garnish of loquat ‘hot ice cream’ over popping candy and flamed orange zest, which adds an element of drama to the drink. The combination of flavours and textures in Paper Crane is sure to surprise and delight any adventurous cocktail enthusiast.

Founded in 2014 by former Bar Stories bartenders Roger, Louis, Kino, and Joe, Hopscotch is a popular spot for whimsical local-themed craft cocktails. With three locations across town, each with its own unique setting, Hopscotch offers an ever-evolving menu that keeps its staunch regulars coming back for more. 

While you’re there, be sure to try some of their other popular drinks and delicious dishes. Diners can indulge in exciting local fusion dishes such as the Chilli Crab Cakes ($22), Chilli Lobster Linguine($29). and Katong Lobster Roll ($30).Present your City SGCF Takeover wristband to enjoy the Paper Crane at $18

Hopscotch Bar – Gardens by the Bay

Location: 18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-21, Gardens by the Bay (Bayfront Pavillion), Singapore 018953
Tel: +65 6539 9653
Opening hours:
Mon-Thu: 12-2:30pm, 5-10pm
Fri-Sat: 12-2:30pm, 5pm-12am
Sunday: 12-2:30pm, 5-10pm

3. Smokes & Chicks from Sago House

Smokes & Chicks ($25) from Sago House is a daring combination of smoky Scotch whisky, green apple, and chicken cordial soda. The creative geniuses at Double Chicken Please NY inspired the drink, bringing together the unexpected pairing of smoky Scotch whisky and succulent chicken flavours for a one-of-a-kind taste sensation. At Sago House, it’s all about simple yet mind-blowing ideas, and the Smokes & Chicks cocktail is no exception.

Sago House is a hidden gem of a bar that was conceived during Singapore’s 2020 lockdown by three industry veterans. This bar is a true labour of love, just like their handcrafted cocktails. The bar’s ‘handmade’ interior is a testament to its commitment to sustainability, with 80% of materials upcycled for a cool, laid-back vibe. The cocktail menu boasts six classic styles that change with the seasons and local harvests and availability, ensuring a unique and constantly evolving experience for guests. The scrumptious bar bites are the perfect reward after scaling the three flights to find this hidden gem. Come for the drinks, stay for the experience.

Present your City SGCF Takeover wristband to enjoy the Smokes & Chicks at $18. 

Sago House

Location: 40B Sago St, Singapore 059029
Tel: +65 8874 9936
Opening hour:
Monday: Closed
Tue-Sun: 6pm-12am

4. Schrodinger’s Cocktail from Writers Bar

Schrodinger’s Cocktail ($25) from Writers Bar is a bold and imaginative creation that pushes the limits of what a cocktail can be. Infinite possibilities are made a reality with a complex combination of Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky, Gin or Vodka with a variety of tropical fruits and jasmine green tea, this drink offers a bold and unexpected flavour profile that is both refreshing and unique. The addition of milk and Bianco vermouth adds a creamy texture and a touch of sweetness, making it a perfect choice for anyone looking to try something new.

The Writers Bar at Raffles Singapore is a fitting location for this inventive cocktail. As a space that pays homage to the many famous authors who have stayed at the hotel over the years, it is a place where creativity and innovation are celebrated. The bar’s expert mixologists use their skill and expertise to create bespoke artisanal and classic cocktails that are sure to impress even the most discerning drinkers. In addition to cocktails, the bar also offers a curated selection of fine Champagnes, spirits, and wines.

While at Writers Bar, guests can indulge in some of their other popular cocktails and dishes. The bar offers a wide range of classic and seasonal cocktails that are made with the freshest ingredients and a deft hand. Some of their popular dishes include Irish Oysters ($37/ half dozen), Parmesan Truffle Fries ($12) and Beef Tartare Toast ($22). With its luxurious ambience and expertly crafted drinks and dishes, Writers Bar is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Singapore’s cocktail scene.

Present your City SGCF Takeover wristband to enjoy the Smokes & Chicks at $18. 

Writers Bar

Location: 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673
Tel: +65 6412 1816
Opening hours:

5. The Proposal from Jekyll and Hyde (Closed)

The Proposal ($25) from Jekyll and Hyde is a unique and intriguing blend of bold and unexpected flavours. It features a combination of miso, ginger, and citrus, which are perfectly mixed with Hendrick’s Gin and Absinthe, resulting in a bold and flavorful punch that tantalizes the taste buds. 

What makes this cocktail special is the playful inspiration behind it, which came from the barkeep duo Rachele and Danial at Jekyll and Hyde. The unusual combination of ingredients and the expert mixing skills of the bartenders have resulted in a truly unique and unforgettable cocktail experience. If you’re looking for a drink that’s a little out of the ordinary and packs a serious punch of flavour, The Proposal at Jekyll & Hyde is definitely worth a try.

Beyond their whimsical cocktails, Jekyll & Hyde also have a range of elevated Singapore soul food. Diners can indulge in their specials, including the Dry Tobiko Laksa ($21), a unique take on the traditional laksa, featuring sweet ebi prawns, tobiko, dried beancurd, and laksa pesto. Freshly shucked oysters and tapioca flour come together in the Fresh Orh Lua ($22), while the Uni Gluti ($32)  is a decadent dish of uni, ikura, and dried scallop glutinous rice. With a combination of playful and elevated flavours, Jekyll & Hyde offers a dining experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Present your City SGCF Takeover wristband to enjoy The Proposal at $18++

Location: 74 Neil Rd, Singapore 088839
Tel: +65 8940 2450
Opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 6pm-12am
Sunday: Closed

*Photos: Singapore Cocktail Festival

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