A gin and tonic is a simple mix that bears timeless appeal. Like a favourite movie or your most reliable carry-all, a G&T’s position on any bar’s menu invites a lapse into a familiarity that never disappoints. It warrants no fancy foam heads or the introduction of molecular ingredients that feel more like superfluous acts of showmanship. Raise your hands for a glass, and you’ll always get a splash of gin, a dash of tonic, and a squeeze of lime if you fancy.
Its simplicity is not a bane, but something that allows lovers of gin to experiment with different renditions of the botanical spirit and the fizzy mixer. Aside from splurging exorbitant amounts on bottles of boutique gin in the name of discovery, another way to learn about the complexities of the spirit is to hit a gin bar and get to drinking. Branch out from recognised expressions like Hendricks, Tanqueray or Gordon’s, and swap out your Schwepps for unique tonics. As you grow familiar with the nuances of different gins, delve into gin cocktails. The world is full of magical gins patiently waiting.
Here are all of the best gin bars in Singapore to begin your foray.
This article was first published on 30 December 2016.
Framed like a Wonerlandic expedition into the realm of gins, The White Rabbit’s garden bar promises around 20 premium gins for your exploration, including the marzipan-esque Sipsmith Sloe Gin and the spicy Junípero. Their menu proffers gin and tonics created with the various gins on display, coupled with house-grown botanical garnishes and homemade tonic to complement the complexities of each gin.
The Rabbit Hole is located at 39C Harding Rd, Singapore 249541, +65 6473 9965
A tavern-like bar guised from the shophouse fronts of Amoy Street sounds enchanting enough, but couple that with a 130 gin labels dotting the shelves, seemingly one from every spirit-making city in the world. If you’re a full-fledged gin enthusiast, The Spiffy Dapper is a place to get your hands on some Pierdre Almas mezcal gin. For those less initiated, the folks behind the joint have a detailed catalogue of their gins, should you wish to peruse before settling on a glass. A must-try for cocktail lovers is Shiekh On The Level, a black Turkish tea-infused gin cocktail with fresh cardamon.
The Spiffy Dapper is located at 73 Amoy Street, 2nd floor, Singapore 069892, +65 8742 8908
Right off the bat, we’re down to drink anywhere reminiscent of Baz Luhrmann’s set for The Great Gatsby, especially when said place allows for making your own martinis and G&Ts. At Cin Cin, you’ll be spoiled for choice to choose from over 100 gin labels, including infused spirits and unique bitters. If you’ve ever wondered how many renditions of G&Ts can possibly exist, Cin Cin asserts that its over 500 — definitely a bar for those who hold firm to trying everything before settling.
Cin Cin is located at #01-02 Oasia Hotel Downtown, 100 Peck Seah St, Singapore 079333, +65 6385 2604
What do we say to a bathtub full of gin? Yes, please. At Oxwell & Co.’s rooftop bar, you get to order the cheekily-named Bathtub, a Hendrick’s gin-based punch bowl, as well as cocktails. In 2017, the bar is launched the GINuary initiative which proffers over 24 labels of gin, tonics and various herbs to let guests concoct their G&Ts of choice. All the herbs come straight from the garden next to the bar, ensuring that everything in your drink is delightfully au naturel.
Oxwell & Co. located at 5 Ann Siang Rd, Singapore 069688, +65 6438 7036
If we could inaugurate a bar as one of the wonders of the world, that bar would be Atlas. This awe-inspiring bar looks like it materialised from fantasies of the Gilded Age, but it exists as far more than a pretty visage. Currently reigning as the fifth best bar in Asia, Atlas is also a global landmark for spirit aficionados as it is home to the largest collection of the spirit in the world. Guests can opt to sample tasting portions of gins unknown or peruse its tome of a drinks menu for cocktails that all pay homage to the junipery liquor.
Atlas is located at Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778, +65 6396 4466
Begin (pronounced “be-gin”, because puns) is a secret temple to all things gin located on the second floor of The Penny Black pub in Boat Quay. You won’t find signs on the street advertising this eclectic neon-lit bar, so just head up the stairs and past the curtains to find yourself lost amidst Begin’s extensive collection of New World gins. As a plus, Begin serves up British-Indian bites to accompany its pours, so you can shovel down crab curry as you take sips from your Tom Collins.
Begin is located at 27A Boat Quay, Singapore 049817, +65 6538 0584
New to the local gin circuit is 6Grey Bar & Gin that plans to take you on a tasting tour of gins from every continent — it currently has 52 bottles and counting behind its bar. Besides a staggering amount of choices for the right G in your G&T, 6Grey Bar & Gin also offers customers a novel site to party come Friday nights, when DJs take over the flow.
6Grey Bar & Gin is located at 6 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089262, +65 8228 5112
Local gin makers Brass Lion have a bar open to the public within the premises of its Alexandra-based distillery. The bar serves up all three renditions of the spirit made by Brass Lion — the Pahit Gin, the Butterfly Pea Gin and the Singapore Dry Gin — in their house cocktails or with a serve of tonic.
Brass Lion Distillery is located at 40 Alexandra Terrace, Singapore 119933, +65 6954 0602
JW Marriott at South Beach’s lobby bar is an open letter of love to all things gin. With 100 different expressions sourced from around the world, the aptly-named Tonic is where you need to be if you’re in the city centre looking for a quick refresher.
Tonic is located at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, 30 Beach Rd, Singapore 189763, +65 6818 1888
Native is known for being a champion to all ingredients and spirits indigenous to Southeast Asia, but it is a little known fact that the establishment offers house-infused gins you can order. It might not be a traditional “gin bar” in the sense of the classification, but Native’s wide array of infusions that span chrysanthemum to cacao gives discerning drinkers a new avenue for gin exploration beyond trying expressions from different distillers.
Native is located at 52A Amoy St, Singapore 069878, +65 8869 6520