13 June marks World Gin Day, a necessary celebration to pay tribute to a spirit that has undergone one of the greatest renaissances in reputation.
These days, ordering a gin cocktail is the norm. A gin-and-tonic is everyone’s favourite two-ingredient cocktail bar the highball, and negronis, as well as martinis, are the stuff that quarantine dreams are made of. Before the recent gin renaissance and the rise of so-called “new world” gins that have changed the game, the juniper-based spirit was felt dated and lacklustre, given that only a handful of (less-than-well-made) distillers governed the market.
Now that rise of boutique gin distillers has given the spirit its much-needed image overhaul, the possibilities are endless when it comes to the flavour profile a gin can have, and how gin can be enjoyed. Distilleries have also surfaced in the unlikeliest of places, including Singapore, which, thanks to gin, now has its own clan of producers redefining the spirit for the global market.
To celebrate World Gin Day, we ask the folks who run Singapore’s gin scene to share their love for the drink with their personal favourite gin cocktail recipes. These can be easily recreated at home so you can enjoy them too, because there are few better ways to commemorate gin than to drink it.
Brass Lion Distillery’s Passion Southside Fizz
The Southside Fizz is all tropical delights with fresh passionfruit and lime tempering Brass Lion’s signature Singapore Dry Gin. The Alexandra-based distillery is the only one in Singapore that is open to the public and houses a bar where you can visit to sample its gin range beyond the Singapore Dry Gin — to date, the distillery makes three different expressions.
45ml Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin
1/2 fresh passionfruit
3 wedges fresh lime
5 to 7 mint leaves
2 tsp fine sugar
45ml soda water
Scoop the passionfruit pulp into a tall glass and add sugar, mint, and lime juice squeezed from the wedges. Muddle to release the aromatics and combine the flavours. Add the in and stir. Top up with ice and add a sash of soda. Garnish with leftover mint and passionfruit if any.
Tanglin Gin was Singapore’s pioneering gin distillery, with their flagship bottling being an ode to the multiple flavours found across cultures in Singapore. It also uses a type of orchid as the gin’s main botanical alongside juniper, giving Tanglin Gin its very unique, herbaceous character.
The Tanglin Bandung incorporates the gin’s floral character with a classic local drink, bandung, for a rich, almost-dessert-like cocktail.
45ml Tanglin Gin
90ml soy milk
15ml bandung syrup
Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake to combine, strain and serve in a martini glass.
Founded by the man behind meadery Rachelle The Rabbit, Compendium remains the boundary-pusher when it comes to Singapore’s distilleries. Launching with two hyper-localised spirits — a chendol and a rojak gin — Compendium remains the kid on the block that approaches distillation and flavours with “how” and never “why”.
The Breakfast Negroni is a classic play on a negroni from the brand, using the rojak gin, which features torch ginger flowers and honey as some of its main ingredients.
30ml Rojak Gin
30ml coffee vermouth
To make coffee vermouth:
50g coffee beans
1l Rosso vermouth
Make the coffee vermouth the day before by infusing 50g of coffee beans in 1l of rosso vermouth. Let sit for 6 hours, then strain.
For the cocktail, simply put together all three ingredients into a glass and stir with a large ice cube, then serve with orange peel.
Hero and featured image: East Imperial Gin Jubilee / Tanglin Gin