If you need a reason to visit two of Singapore’s best bars, both Jigger & Pony and Atlas have recently launched new cocktail menus.
While the drinks are wildly different, the latest offerings represent an introspective turn for both bars. At Jigger & Pony, they look back at its past while musing about the future, while Atlas returns to its 1920s roots, which feels fresh after taking on more obscure topics previously.
Jigger & Pony
A pioneer of Singapore’s cocktail scene, Jigger & Pony marks its 11th anniversary with a new menu titled Identity and an updated logo. Rather than create a concept, cofounder Indra Kantono said they wanted chart the bar’s growth and contemplate its direction. “It represents our dreams, our aspirations, our fears. Thinking about what kind of bar do we want to be.”
The magazine-styled menu is divided into two parts: the first featuring classic cocktails that Jigger & Pony has staked its reputation on, as well as variations of the classics that the bar has tweaked further. One of them is the Dirty Martini. which replaces the olive brine with a their own olive distillate. The change makes it silky and integrated, made even more umami by a cream cheese- and miso-stuffed green olive garnish.
The second part tackles modern themes like sustainability and community. Honey Magnum, for instance, features honey sourced from local beekeeper Xavier Tan, and Super Lemon Highball seeks to be a drink that everyone can enjoy.
The standout cocktail, however, is Ugly Tomatoes. It celebrates imperfections by using Genting Highlands-grown heirloom beefsteak tomatoes deemed too oddly shaped for sale, which are combined with Hapusa Himalayan Gin and a homemade caraway liqueur called kummel. It is wonderfully affable, creamy and gently spicy with a savoury finish, but dangerous in the way it challenges the way we think about beauty.
As Jigger & Pony ponders the future, Atlas gets nostalgic about the golden age of drinking. Their new Simple Pleasures cocktail menu explores the purity of classic cocktails through four styles: the Martini, Sour, Old Fashioned, and Champagne Cocktail.
Led by head bartender Lidiyanah ‘Yana’ K, the new drinks are markedly different from the previous menu. Gone are the esoteric delve into Art Deco architecture and waffle garnish, substituted by recognisable, even elementary ingredients that almost seem out of place in a bar as grand as Atlas. Also new is the inclusion of the drinks’ alcohol content, which is meant to give consumers the power to make informed choices.
“We want to make the new menu user-friendly and functional,” Yana said. “It’s something I find lacking in today’s industry.”
This is personified by The Occidental. The Martini-style drink showcases limoncello, an ingredient as common as olive oil in an Italian restaurant, which injects a touch of richness and bitter finish to the otherwise austere palette. Valley of the Ashes is a rum and bourbon Old Fashioned that is slightly grassy with a hint of ripe apple, as a garnish of chocolate and sea salt brittle tempers the cocktail’s lushness.
The Ode to Odyssey is Atlas’ rendition of a Ramos Gin Fizz. With six ingredients including toasted raisin and sherry, it is also one of the more complicated orders on the menu. Yet the typically heavy drink is pared back here: clean, light, with an intriguing nutty undertone.
While Atlas is heavily invested in the glided age, it also looks boldly ahead by putting non-alcoholic cocktails before its boozy serves. One of them is Hope on the Horizon, a sparkling cocktail with yuzu lavender kombucha and pomegranate. It is floral, mouth-puckering, and more importantly, a marker for what more cocktail bars should be doing.
Jigger & Pony is located at 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Amara Hotel, Singapore 088539.
Atlas is located at 600 North Bridge Rd, Ground floor, Parkview Square, 188778.
(Hero and feature images credits: Jigger & Pony; Atlas)