Gin is one of the most beloved spirits around—it’s popular, and one of the cornerstones of mixology and drinks. It goes great just with tonic, and better yet mixed into an endless variety of cocktails. It’s fragrant, complex, and, thanks to the endless variations of botanical blends from different brands and distillers, got a dizzyingly diverse range of flavour palettes.
Most nights, you’re probably just after a good old gin and tonic. On those other nights, though, you could try these gin bars that offer a more interesting take on the spirit.
All around the world: Atlas
There’s no way you don’t know about Atlas by now. The bar, which placed 8th in the 2018 edition of the World’s 50 Best Bars, is famous for its gin collection. And this is no modest collection: the central feature of its space in the Parkview Square building’s lobby is a three-storey gin tower that houses over a thousand different kinds. The many gins span rare vintages, contemporary craft distillers, and the like from all around the world. You’re almost certainly never going to run out of options if you’re hankering to taste different gins. That aside, Atlas is simply put one of the best places to have a drink in Singapore. The ambience helps, sure, but the cocktail menu – inspired by the old world arts decoratifs from the 1920s – is superb and there is nary a bad drink on it.
Atlas is at Parkview Square at 600 North Bridge Road, t. 6396 4466.
Keeping it in house: Native
A regional and DIY approach has set Native at Amoy Street apart from a lot of cocktail bars in the scene, with a menu that’s known for its innovative use (and reuse) of ingredients. What’s less trumpeted though, is the bar’s very own range of gins infused in-house. The cacao infusion, for one, is a personal favourite that creates an earthier and richer profile than you would normally get with the botanicals from gin. Try also the chrysanthemum infusion, which introduces a dimension of honeyed floral sweetness.
Native is at 52A Amoy Street, t. 8869 6520.
The best G&T in town: Anti:Dote
If there’s a drink everyone can safely say they can make, it’s a gin and tonic. The recipe is right there in the name! To master the art of it, therefore, is to display true skill and talent. Enter Bannie Kang, the head craftsman at Anti:Dote who won the prize of best gin and tonic in 2018’s East Imperial Gin Jubilee celebrations. Her version was called “Mae:Sil”, perhaps a reflection of her South Korean identity – maesil are citric green plums from Korea – and the bar’s own stylings. Made with Ford’s gin, East Imperial Burma tonic, berry cordial and citrus.
Anti:Dote is at Level 1 of the Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road, t. 6431 6156.
A perfected classic: Gibson
A gin martini is that most classic of gin cocktails, and probably the best version of it can be found at Gibson on Bukit Pasoh. The bar is named for the classic cocktail, which uses a pickled onion as a garnish to add briny dimension to the martini. This bar’s version draws from Japan, using Roku gin and a sake vermouth, served alongside a trio of garnishes that include a smoked quail egg, pickled wasabi leaves, and the all important pickled onion. They add some delicious texture and complexity to the otherwise quite straightforward drink. It’s potent, smooth and an absolute pleasure to drink.
Gibson, Level 2, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road. 9114 8385.