Prepare for a wild ride at Jungle Ballroom, the new bar at recently opened hotel Mondrian Duxton. The fun starts before stepping foot in the venue which you can reach via a ‘secret’ lush canopied tunnel wrapped in vines. Step inside and you’ll find the welcoming smile and award-winning skills of head bartender, Adrian Besa, whose track record of clinching the prestigious ‘Art of Hospitality’ award at Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2020 sets the stage for adventure.
Besa and his team have conjured up an electrifying cocktail menu that blends cutting-edge mixology, zesty Asian ingredients, and the untamed spirit of the jungle. Cocktails are colourful, refreshing, come in quirky glasses, and are infused with punchy Southeast Asian flavours. Brace yourself for beverages that don’t just surprise and satiate, but also light up your senses – in some cases, literally!
Indeed, the menu at Jungle Ballroom features captivating ingredients such as longan, banana leaf, young mango, turmeric, black sesame, ginger, and cacao. According to Besa, Jungle Ballroom has the most extensive Southeast Asian spirits collection of any bar in Singapore.
“The Shrub” offers a twist on the classic Negroni, infusing it with nashi pear, anise-fennel, and a touch of sneaky vinegar. “The Lost Ruins” is a daring Martini with a splash of racilla, a dash of fennel, bitters, and a cheeky splash of champagne vinegar. Our favourite, “The Queen of the Jungle” is a journey in itself, comprising herbaceous and nutty rye whisky, Barolo Chinato, walnut, New Orleans bitters, and innovative presentation (see above!). There’s also a non-alcoholic Faux ABV selection for those who are off the sauce, but fancy a fruity and spicy concoction.
With a license to operate until 2am, Jungle Ballroom is an epic night out just waiting to happen. Prop up the bar, soak up the spirit of the tropics and indulge in some of the most innovative drinks in town. Watch this space for the announcement of DJs to keep you swinging into the small hours.
16A Duxton Hill, #03-03, 089970. book.ennismore.com
Smoke & Mirrors
It’s hard to pip the skyline views at Smoke & Mirrors at the National Gallery Singapore, but this bar’s third menu release The Real Art of Drinking Volume III appears to do so. With cocktails that bring the world of mixology and creativity together, wow-moments are many as the offerings become a work of art in themselves.
Taking inspiration from the likes of tattooing, performance art, culinary arts, and installation pieces, the entire drinking experience becomes an interactive journey in itself. “Let’s Get Inked” is presented visually on monochrome rice paper. “License to Kill”, pays tribute to fictional spy James Bond and serves up oolong tea notes with hints of smoke and mildly peated whisky.
Our favourite, “Kiss of Revival” is both super-spirited with its VSOP cognac, tequila and Cointreau base as well as being an optical illusion. Paying reference to the fairy tale Snow White, this complex concoction comes served in a mini smoky cauldron. Was it the drink playing magical tricks with our senses? Try it yourself to confirm!
1 St. Andrew’s Road, #06-01 National Gallery Singapore, 178957. smokeandmirrors.com.sg
Over 10 new concoctions await at Sugarhall on the new playful Not Too Sweet menu. Taking inspiration from the team’s favourite non-alcoholic beverages, you’ll find the likes of on the updated “Rose, Rosé I Love You”, an inventive number which plays homage to Bandung, the bright pink hued drink popular across Southeast Asia. Ingredients are mixed together with oat milk, and it oozes subtle floral aromas from cherry blossom tea.
Champion Highball, in honour of the classic Milo drink, offers warm biscuity and citrusy flavours infused with Bacardi Reserva Ocho Rum. For fans of bubble tea, “Boba Razzi” is a creamy and milky gin-based concoction that even packs in Grenadine caviar for extra pops of flavour.
The new snacks menu at Sugarhall is also a crowd pleaser with elevated bar bite versions of supper favourites. We loved the Pepper Fry Chicken Ribs and Vegetable Momos but the ultimate showstopper was good ol’ Indomie noodles – the perfect partner to a boozy session.
19 Cecil St, Level 2, 049704. sugarhall.sg
Raffles Writers Bar
This iconic bar welcomes a new chapter with a refreshed menu of bespoke cocktails inspired by the poems of new Writer-in-Residence Madeleine Lee. “Spinoza’s Toast” is a warm, earthy concoction of gin, vodka, chestnut and sencha, while “Rob Roy” is a blend of Writers Reserve 18-Year Scotch, elevated with Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters for a fragrant, spicy edge. Sip in the elegant bar, or give the newly-opened alfresco space, Palm Terrace by Writers Bar, a whirl.
1 Beach Rd, 6337 1886. raffles.com/singapore
White Shades is less of a bar, more of a cocktail playground! This brand new and unique concept by JiaWei Bai, co-founder of one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023, Stay Gold Flamingo, is spread over four floors, and guests can explore spirits in all their possible forms.
Craving an alcohol-tinged gelato? Walk this way to the ice cream parlor featuring 12 snazzy flavours, including four alcoholic concoctions and two sorbets. Looking for something boozy and bespoke? The second floor is ‘Cocktail’, a sophisticated bar with outdoor tables and bespoke cocktail menu, ‘unRAW’. The “Bomber J” is a lively mix of Suntory World Whisky AO, toasted rice syrup and Hinkoi bitters. Our stand-out, “Savi Galloping” is inspired by Hermès scarves and horse gallops, and marries Codigo Blanco tequila, paprika, lime, fire water and smoked chips.
Draft cocktails float your boat? Follow us to the rooftop where you’ll also find live music and Asian fusion cuisine by Chef Hosni (previously from Employees Only), all set against the stunning backdrop of Singapore’s skyline.
25 Boon Tat St, 069622