Singapore Cocktail Festival 2017


Art of Mixology

It’s amazing how creative a person can be when concocting a cocktail. At the Singapore Cocktail Festival (SGCF) 2017, I saw the use of ingredients like chili padi infused gin or chicken rice chili in cocktails. Yes, you read correctly. Spicy cocktails, anyone??

The SGCF2017 was held at the Festival Village (old police station) next to Shaw Tower Beach Road from 16-21 March. Visitors could sample a multitude of cocktails at the price of 12 dollars each. That’s an amazingly low price. And did I mention it was a free-entry event?

After being very impressed by Alex Cratena’s NO B1G D€AL at the Library on 17 March (also a part of the SGCF), I didn’t hesitate to say ‘YES’ when my friends asked me if I wanted to go to the SGCF the following day.

The Venue

We arrived at the Festival Village in the afternoon just after our lunch. The event was still quite empty so we got a table for our group of 5 pretty fast. I suppose it was the afternoon sun that people were hiding from. Anyway, that was good for us because more crowd started coming in later in the day. Most tables became occupied in the evening.

Cheap drinks but…

Compared to the fancy cocktails in a nice bar in Singapore which cost double or more, the cocktails in this event are, unfortunately, not up to snuff. First of all, the drinks were served in plastic glasses or cups instead of beautifully decorated glasses. OK, I think it’s easier for the organizer to clean up later and hence, the use of plastic cups.

Singapore Cocktail Festival Paloma Presto with grapefruit

Secondly, not all the cocktails sold were great. The first drink I tried was Paloma Presto (Milagro Silver Tequila, Pink Grapefruit Juice, Sugar Syrup, Perrier and Grapefruit Juice) by Room of Illusion was a disappointment. The drink was diluted and not flavorful, despite being served without ice.

Singapore Inspired Cocktails

Singapore Cocktail Festival Leo's Flip with a local twist

My second drink was Leo’s Flip (Ron Zacapa 23, Wild Turkey Honey, Amaretto, Spiced Pineapple and Egg Yolk) by Nutmeg and Clove. This drink saved the day for me because it was a clear improvement over my first one.

Nutmeg and Clove drew inspiration and created this drink from a pineapple tart. This drink was part of the Singapore inspired cocktails presented by the top 4 local bars: Crackerjack, Mitzo, Nutmeg and Clove and 28 Hong Kong Street. Because of the hot weather, the ice in the drink melted quite fast and the drink became diluted in the end.

Singapore Cocktail Festival Unusual Negroni, a strong drink

Not Your Usual Negroni

My third and last drink of the day was a glass of Unusual Negroni (Hendrink’s Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Fernet Branca). The bartender asked me whether I would want my drink weak, normal or strong. Due to my earlier experience of weak drink and ice melting, I told him I wanted a strong drink. The bartender generously added more gin as per my request. However, Negroni is anything but a sweet drink. It turned out too strong for me to enjoy.

Verdict – You get what you pay for!

Overall, I think this year’s SGCF was a good one especially if you want cheap alcoholic drinks. It was not very crowded like most free events in Singapore, the music was cool and there were a plethora of drinks to try. I did not grab any bites there though so I could not comment on the food.

However, the drink quality and the experience is not the same as when you go to a nice bar with your friends. But hey, you get what you pay for, right??