Unlike most alcoholic spirits, gin has undergone a long renaissance. Initially used as a form of herbal medicine, it is now one of the most remixed beverages in the world.
The juniper-based spirit has been endlessly reimagined and incorporated into all sorts of cocktails. And with International Gin and Tonic Day celebrated on 19 October, it’s high time we rounded up seven of the best gin bars in Singapore.
Gin has a long history. It can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where juniper distillates were prescribed as medicinal aids. During the 1500s, the Dutch were producing genever, a juniper-flavoured liquor, which made its way to England and became the basis for what we now recognise as gin.
Today, distillers have to follow certain rules before they can label their product as gin. In Europe, gin has to be “a juniper-flavoured spirit drink” with a minimum alcohol content of 37.5 percent. In the US, it has to be a distilled product of at least 80 degree proof “with or over juniper berries and other aromatics.”
Neither of these regulations dictate how much juniper a gin should have, which is why there are so many modern interpretations of gin. From the assertive London Dry to more floral styles, knowing what you like and how you’ll drink your gin is crucial when picking one.
Alternatively, turn to these seven gin bars in Singapore for help. There’s Atlas, which boasts one of the world’s most diverse gin libraries, while Cin Cin focuses on the best from around the globe. Artemis Grill combines Mediterranean flavours with sky high views, and Gin Parlour serves G&Ts alongside an impressive backdrop.
Here are the best gin bars in Singapore:
The Spiffy Dapper is a cocktail bar with a reverse mullet. It’s a party in the front – they call themselves Singapore’s worst bar and revel in bad reviews – but gets serious at the back, especially when it comes to their extensive selection of craft gins. You get your classic London Dry to examples that convey a sense of place; Death’s Door Gin, for example, uses red winter wheat and fennel to capture the flavours of Washington Island.
The Spiffy Dapper is open from 5pm to 10.30pm on Mondays to Fridays and 6pm to 10.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Savour your gin in grand surroundings at the Gin Parlour. Housed in the historic Clifford Pier with the Singapore Bay on one side and the monumental Fullerton Bay Hotel on the other, the bar has over 200 gin labels comprising of international brands to local distilleries.
If you’re there for Happy Hour, they have deals such as S$11++ G&Ts with Singaporean gins or S$16++ pours of premium styles such as Kinobi Kyoto Dry, Gin Mare, Bergslagen Organic, and Plymouth Sloe Gin.
Gin Parlour is open from 5pm to 10.30pm every day.
Happy Hour goes from 5pm to 8pm daily.
Above the British pub Penny Black on Boat Quay is another ode to a quintessentially English tipple. BeGin is where you can find your London dry styles from both big and craft distillers. Take Sorgin, for example, which blends grape and juniper distillates with citrus, violet, and blackcurrant then aged in sauvignon blanc barrels. During Happy Hour, they serve G&Ts with Broker’s or Gordon’s Pink Gin for S$6++.
BeGin is open from 3pm to 10.30pm on Wednesdays to Saturdays. Happy Hour is between 3pm to 8pm.
Perched on the 40th floor in one of Singapore’s tallest building, Artemis Grill is a restaurant and bar that takes cues from the Mediterranean. The food is based around fresh produce, seafood, and grilled meats, and they even have a 100-year-old olive tree in the terrace.
At their Sky Bar, the G&Ts get a similar touch, with different fruits, herbs, and spices paired with your choice of gin. Four Pillars Changing Seasons from Australia, for example, comes with shiso and lemon zest, while the Indian Stranger & Sons gets lime and coriander. If you fancy other gin cocktails, there is the Guns N’ Roses, a concoction of Aviation gin, red wine, and verjus.
Artemis Grill is open from 11.30am to 2pm and 5.30pm to 10pm from Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays, they open from 5.30pm to 10pm.
Drink gin where it’s made at the Brass Lion Distillery Tasting Room. The Singapore company distil their gins in Pasir Panjang and have a bar upstairs serving drinks and food. There are G&Ts like a curry leaf-infused dry gin with yuzu tonic and lemongrass, or try a flight of three different styles.
They also have cocktails such as Nangka; jackfruit-infused Brass Lion Pahit Pink Gin is stirred with sweet vermouth for a twist on the martinez. Dishes like pizzas, skewers, and other bar bites are available when you feel peckish.
Brass Lion Distillery Tasting Room is open from 4pm to 10.30pm on Tuesdays to Fridays, 1pm to 10.30pm on Saturdays, and 1pm to 7pm on Sundays. Call or email to book.
Cin Cin is a rabbit hole to some of the world’s best gins. They prefer fox’s den, but whatever the burrowing animal, the bar has enough labels to build a gin and tonic in 500 different ways.
There are several tricks to perusing their selection: the first is through gin flights that cover various parts of the world, the second is through cocktails like the Kopi Kaki’s: Kyro’s Dark Gin, sweet vermouth, Campari, and coffee foam for a caffeinated twist on the negroni. For the G&T, Cin Cin breaks their gins in sections: exclusive bottles, aged styles, or genever, among others, which you can pair with nine different tonics.
Cin Cin also has a Happy Hour with selected cocktails for S$16++, plus a gin buffet with 50 different gins.
Cin Cin is open from 5pm to 10.30pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 3pm to 10.30pm on Saturdays. Happy Hour goes from 5pm to 8pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 3pm to 8pm on Saturdays.
The gin buffet happens every Saturday over two seatings:
First seating – 3 pm to 6.30 pm
Second seating – 6.45 pm to 10.30 pm
From the best gins in the world to one of the planet’s most diverse gin collections — a claim Atlas can truly hold. Boasting over 1,300 labels, you can taste examples from the early 1900s or gins from far flung locations like Guatemala. Many of them are also directly sourced from the distillers and are exclusive to the bar.
The menu reads like a encyclopaedia to the spirit, covering styles, ingredient, and flavours, plus a section dedicated to tonics and how to create the perfect pairing. For the geeky, it’s godsend. If it gets overwhelming, we recommend picking a gin you like then leave it up to the professionals.
Atlas is open from 10am to 10.30pm on Mondays to Fridays and 12pm to 10.30pm on Saturdays. Sundays are reservations only.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.