Dates and time: 16th - 17th March 4pm to 10pm / 19th - 20th March 12noon to 10pm
Admission: Free of charge
The Singapore Cocktails Festival 2017 is back, and this year it is held at 99 Beach Road, the orange building right next to Shaw Towers which was / is an educational campus. Easy to spot.
What to expect? Once you step through the gates, a crew decked in black polo tee and black pants would greet you warmly, and explain the various ongoing functions. The space is huge, like a carnival with rooms and open spaces serving different purposes. The service crew would be around to assist, offer suggestions / recommendations and direct you if you are lost.
There are booths / rooms for spirits tasting, cocktails appreciation, children's playroom if you need come as a family, as well as food street so you grab bites between your drinks. Music and DJs are all lined up to buzz up the event.
We started with the Artisanal Spirits Room (SGD $19.00 per ticket for 4 samplers of 15ml each), where various gin and vodka (mostly) are being showcased, and one could sample the different types of spirits. Coupons were allocated so we'd give one to each booth we wanted a sampler from.
I began with the La Quincinye Vermouth Royal (Le Rogue), sniffing notes of prune, cherries, vanilla and bitter; stocky yet elegant palatial notes of Orchard fruits, spice, and long finish. This was lovely, a red wine-mixed liquor that could be savoured on its own. At the same booth are also some interesting New Zealand Gin and French Gin, tended by some gorgeous blonde.
Next, the Son Tinh, giving us "Vietnam in a glass", Vietnamese spirits with authentic flavors, hand-crafted in small batches and made from 100% natural ingredients, matured over many years. The gentleman manning the booth was very friendly and willing to share information about his drinks. Choose from an array of more robust, spicier spirits, or sweeter ones with fruity flavours. My Apricot Son Tinh smelt and tasted really palatable, redolent with aroma of my favorite fruit. The harmless-looking drink contained 27% alcohol though!
Moving on, the Paper Lantern "Sichuan Pepper Gin", made from dried berries, Szechuan peppers etc, a concoction using natural remedies from Thailand. This drink was strong, so beware if you are going to have a shot at it.
The Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka was interesting; a clear drink with a creamy taste, suitable even for those who are lactose-intolerant, and there was their Deluxe Cheddar to go with. The guy manning the booth was friendly, and the only one who bothered to rinse the tasting glass before we tried his Milk Vodka.
Exit the Artisanal Spirits Room, and you would be at an open arena where 4 counters are set up, with bartenders from renowned cocktail bars showing you how they practice their crafts. Vote for your favorite cocktails among Crackerjack's "Kopi Ol' Fashioned", Mitya's "Shiok Collins", Nutmeg & Clove's "Leo's Flip" and 28 HongKong Street's "Lion City Sour".
Walk further down Cocktails Festival Village and here is the "carnival"-ese space with open-air seating and 9 cocktail rooms for you to explore. They are interestingly-themed, such as "Disco Fitness Studio", "Cuts & Booze", "Room of Illusions", "Asia Bar Battle", "Music Stage", etc. Cocktails are all priced at SGD$12.00 nett.
I enjoyed a delicious Doc Martini Cocktail (Reyka Vodka, Grapefruit Juice & Orange Juice) in "Cuts & Booze" Room, themed as a vintage Barbershop.
Seminars are tours are available as well, if you are keen - details are available on their website here.
Overall, really enjoyed the vibes, activities and drinks at the Singapore Cocktails Festival 2017. If you haven't experienced it for yourselves, this weekend would be a good time to pop by!