In March 2017, I attended Singapore cocktail week, up there with Berlin Bar Convent and Tales of the Cocktails in terms of drinking events and madness. Although I was in Singapore to finish writing the "Glass brain" scientific paper with my NTU PhD student Maria, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to attend several events. Here is my summary of the amazing cocktail week, which I cleverly managed to stretch into 2 weeks so I could attend the ATLAS gala.
Overproof Plantation OFTD, Crackerjack
On a personal level, the most important event of SGCF turned out to be the launch party of 69% Overproof OFTD Plantation rum at Crackerjack. Not only were the tiki-style drinks phenomenal (check out the Cracking Zombie below), I finally met Giancarlo Mancino of the famous Vermouth brand Mancino. Given that I was the only other one who speak Italian at the event, we immediately hit it off. Giancarlo is a rarity in the spirits world. A true gentleman who doesn't compromise his moral values for anyone. Although his product is rarely found in Italian bars, I hope that will change soon. Mr. Mancino also introduced me to another amazing person at the event, Micaela Piccolo, Brand Ambassador of Maison Ferrand for Asia Pacific. Based in Shanghai with her husband Chris Lowder, she is respsonabile for bringing recognition to brands such as Pierre Ferrand cognac, Citadelle gin and Plantation rum. Just like Chris, she's super friendly and down to earth and one of the great people in the liquor game. You can find photos of Giancarlo, Micaela and Chris in my ATLAS gala articles.
Kris du (speak low) guest shift, the other room
A trip to Singapore isn't complete with a stop at The Other Room, the gorgeous speakeasy inside the Marriott Tang Plaza hotel. For one of the many guest shifts during cocktail week at the Other Room, the young talent Kris Du of Speak Low (Shanghai) joined bar manager Dario Knox and bartenders Davide Boncimino and "Cazzo Duro" Yang for a great night of cocktails in this elegant and fun hotel bar. Chloe, look forward to seeing you in Milano!
alex kratena guest shift, atlas
My first visit to ATLAS happened to magically coincide with Alex Kratena's guest shift at the spectacular lobby bar. This was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Alex. Despite his fame, he's a super down to earth guy. Alex prepared three excellent cocktails for the event and blew me away with the exquisite Midnight oil with aquavit, wattleseed, gentian and black olive.
Jack Rose guest shift, Vasco
Although I have no recollection of how this night at Vasco ended, I do remember that Callan Green of Jack Rose Bar (Kuala Lumpur) made an awesome drink for us. However, don't ask me what was in it, because I have absolutely no memories after about 10 PM. One memory I do have is this lovely photo I took of Callan:
Like-minded creatures, Operation Dagger
The most important event of cocktail week was Like-minded creatures, featuring drinks from three of the most creative bartenders in the industry, Alex Kratena of P(our), Matt Whiley of Peg and Patriot and Luke Whearty of Operation Dagger. I was so happy to share this amazing cocktail experience with flygirl Hutch and the adorable Giovanna. For the event at Dagger, each bartender presented one bottled cocktail, one freestyle cocktail and a short serve. My favorite drink on the night was the "Fennel Pollen Sazerac" containing wild fennel pollen, tarragon and white choc. I even brought the drink back to 1930 Milano in bottled form. Another great cocktail was Exp£n$ive $hit by Kratena, featuring caviar, acorn, dill, and white chocolate.
Red, white and booze, Skinny's
Sponsored by Michter's whiskey, the craziest event of cocktail week was surely Red, White and Booze at Skinny's Lounge. Imagine a bar full of bare chested American bartenders singing along to classics from Bon Jovi and you have the general idea. My friend Erica and I stopped in to enjoy a Michter's Old Fashioned before the truly crazy people showed up. It was great to see Michael Callahan after all these years, who popped in before his shift at Employee's Only SG.
Fastest Hands in the East, 28 HongKong St
Chairmane Ann Thio, head barkeep of 28HKS organized Fastest Hands in the East: Return to the 28 Chambers. This event held on the last day of #sgcf2017 was also the craziest, with 8 teams of 4 bartenders competing in this speed contest. My favorite teams were Phillipines with 28HKS bartender Yoma Rivera and the Czech mafia which included speed demon Eduard Ondracek.
Judging was handled by industry heavyweights Celia Schoonraad, Rusty Cerven, Zdenek Kastanek and Ricky Paiva although from my perspective they were simply trying to get everyone drunk with their water guns filled with booze. MC Michael Callahan, founding head bartender of 28, killed it on the mic. Even Micaela Piccolo made a great speech, despite the tiredness from her hectic travel schedule.
A couple hours after this photo below, Charmaine won the speed competition along with her team Powerpuff Girls.
Props to JJ for dealing with the madness of this event.