[Singapore Cocktail Week special]: The Vagabond Bar

Singapore Cocktail Week kicks off to a roaring start this weekend with a great many events, workshops and guest bartender shifts to please both the novice drinkers and industry peeps alike. Amidst a flurry of activities and slurred words to ensue, there is Vagabond Hotel, tucked away in the seemingly forgotten part of Jalan Sultan. This ostentatious boutique hotel needs no introductions, it's seductive yet clearly artsy direction scoring points on my staycation chart, earning it a place in the Top 5 Trendiest staycations in the City list. Similarly, the resident bar veers away from the textbook, hotel lobby bar. No tiki cocktails nor cliched alcoholic punches are insight here. Instead, the bartenders dig deep, procuring brands that are hard to find and beyond the comprehension of most common tastebuds, till a sip of the forbidden potion reveals that inner snob in most of us.

Specially for cocktail week this year, Vagabond bar has churned out a grand 5 cocktails for at a reasonable $14++ only. With the usual suspects stripped off from the regular cocktail menu and a few exciting additions to make up the coveted list, you'll be assured a exciting if not gustatory experience at the bar, honed by ostentatious mad men vibes and a 'monkey on your back'.  Unfortunately, only holders of the wrist-bands will reap the rewards, so if you haven't laid hands on the set of 8 bands, you had better jump on the bandwagon soon!

1) Ashes and Snow

This black and white cocktail was inspired by the colors of filmmaker Gregory Colbert's photographic artwork also of the same name. Edible charcoal powder is used in this twist of a pineapple daiquiri, of which plantation dark rum is featured - good news, all you rum lovers! It's beautiful, haunting aesthetics is a tribute to the art form of mixology and photography while it's surprisingly refreshing lilt lingers on the tongue.

2)  A Certain Shade of Green

"If music be the food of love, play on". Just as Ashes & Snow was drawn by art, this green cocktail draws its inspiration from the Incubus song. Absinthe lovers, perk your ears - you will love this botanical gin-based creation. Originally conceived by ex-honcho Mauricio Allende, matcha and kiwi juice jostle for your attention, while the sugar is the perfect foil to the alcohol.

After all, what are you waiting for? A written invitation? A public declaration? you have both.

3) Basil Hallward

Now onwards to literary allusions. In Oscar Wilde's novel The Potrait of Dorian Gray, Basil Hallward was the painter and victim of the moralistic tale of good and evil. One certainly notes the color of the watermelon juice as a clue to his fate. The Basil Lemon syrup plays a wonderful role in balancing the vodka, while the sea salt certainly refreshes the palate.

4)  Carnival

Head Bartender Shah is clearly in his element as he whips out his nifty cellphone and broadcasts Sergio Mendes's Mas Que Nada -  an exclamation that is to follow after the drink breaks out in dance in your mouth. "No Way!", you'll yelp, followed by a widening of eyes as the knock-out combination of Leblon Cachaca and lemon juice, nibbles of passionfruit and blueberry congregate for a party.

5) Hot Rod Red (pictured right at the top of the post)

Hot Rods, apparently an old classic American car with enormously large modified engines do puzzle me, since I'm not particularly a fan of collector cars; however, Shah's whims and fancies spill over into this creation with a smidgen of Alipus San Balthazar Mezcal, modulated with a breathe of agave for a sweet veil. Blood orange juice pushes the drink into hyper drive while the mint and rosemary pulls it back slightly, maintaining a complex edge. My definite favourite of the lot given my biased attitude towards mezcal.

So there you have it, the cocktail list specially curated for Singapore Cocktail Week 2016 at Bar Vagabond. However, if you're feeling the itch for something a little extravagant. We would advice you go halcyon with this Crystal Clear brew. Bar Manager Shahrul Ariffin's submission for round 2 of the Diageo World Class competition materialises as a medley of Tanqueray No. 10 gin, sweet vermouth, clarified range juice and orange bitters for a deceptively spirit-forward yet invigorating tipple. Perhaps one that's more suited to round off the night.

Fundamentally Flawed drank as a guest of The Vagabond Bar.

The Vagabond Bar
39 Syed Alwi Road
t: 6291 6677

Operating Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 12am

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