Singapore Cocktail Festival (previously branded Singapore Cocktail Week) looms ahead. From 16 to 21 March, the country will be turned into a wonderland for cocktail lovers.

Selected bars around the island will participate in the festivities with innovative cocktails at special prices, as well as host guest bartender shifts from countries such as London, Tokyo and New York. Workshops and masterclasses will be held throughout for the public, giving visitors the chance to pick the brains of some of the world’s best bartenders, or learn how to make a bloody good cocktail or two. There will also be organised cocktail tours — more appropriately known as bar crawls — each focusing on a specific theme.

The grand highlight of the week manifests in the Festival Village, an immersive experience into cocktail appreciation spanning 5,000 sq ft at the old Beach Road Police Station. You’ve got four days of over 50 unique cocktails to sample, each priced at S$12 flat. Pop-up food stalls dot the space, giving you quality bites to munch on as you sample your cocktails. There’s even a kid’s play area, for all you responsible parents who want to drink unencumbered, and a tasting room that’s a trove of artisanal spirits for more discerning liquor fans.

With a solid week of hedonism ahead, and so many events happening at the same time, we’ve isolated 5 events you can’t miss in order to make the most out of your Singapore Cocktail Festival experience. Cheers to that.

See the full calendar for the week here.

1
Join a cocktail tour

We’ve all fallen into habit, visiting the same handful of bars thanks to being innate creatures of comfort. For some, even if a new and exciting bar pops up and you swear you’re going to give it a try, it takes coercion to actually get there. Get out of your comfort zone during the week and experience some of the bars you’ve never been to by registering for a cocktail tour. Some focus on a spirit, so you’ll hit specialty bars, while others gun for flavours, such as Asian-inspired cocktails. Prices hover around S$98, which gets you four hours of good fun, and four free cocktails. Buy tickets here. Be quick, as slots are limited.

Photo: Crawl Pal

2
Get a drink from Alex Kratena

The man who earned The Langham’s Artesian its top spot — four consecutive times — on the World’s 50 Best Bars list is going to be mixing at the newly opened Atlas bar. He’s been hailed as one of the most influential names helping to shape the global bar industry, particularly through his non-profit organisation, P(OUR). If you’re going to try any guest bartender shifts during the week, put this at the top of your list. After all, there’s nothing like sampling a drink from the best in the business.

The guest shift will be held at Atlas, 18 March, from 9-11 pm. Cocktails start from S$16++.

3
Recover from your hangover at Crackerjack

Going all out during the festival is bound to leave you with an inevitable hangover. The folks at Crackerjack sympathise, and are hosting a Recovery brunch throughout the week. Choose from a naughty or nice option as your cure-all. The former is a hair of the dog and fried food combo, with a mezcal Bloody Mary and chilaquiles. The latter is a rejuvenating superfood spinach shake and nourishing house bone broth, served with a side of coffee. Masseuses will also be on hand for a little massage therapy pre- or post-brunch. We’ll be damned if you don’t leave feeling ready for another night of drinking.

The brunch is available from 16 to 22 March, 8am to 3pm at Crackerjack. S$16++.

4
Vote for Singapore's Next Top Cocktail

Four cocktails, and only one title. The decision rests in your hands. Head down to the Festival village to cast votes on what gets to be the nation’s best cocktail for the year. Nominees are the Kopi Ol’ Fashioned from Crackerjack, the Lion City Sour from 28 HongKong Street, Leo’s Flip by Nutmeg & Clove, and the Shiok Collins by Mitzo Bar & Restaurant. You’ve got to try all four to make an impartial decision, but think of it as civic duty.

The contest will be held at the Singapore’s Next Top Cocktail booth, at the Festival Village on 99 Beach Road.

5
Explore the intricacies of Japanese cocktails

The “Eat Drink Love Japanese Flavours” workshop is one that explores native Japanese ingredients, and the country’s characteristic approach to cocktail making. Experts like Ryu Fuji and Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, Global World Class Runner Ups for 2016 and 2013 respectively, and Master Hidetsugu Ueno, who won Spirited’s international bartender of 2016, will be sharing their expertise, and mixing four cocktails for the patrons. It’s a rare opportunity for an intimate look into another drinks industry not usually associated with cocktails. If Japan isn’t your jam, find another masterclass to glean knowledge from.

The workshop will be held on 17 March, 6-8pm, at Nutmeg & Clove. S$92 nett. Sign up here.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.