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16 Jun 2022 By

There’s a Revamped Cocktail Menu at This Waterfront Bar Based on the (Drinking) Hours of The Day. It’s, Literally, About Time.

There’s no stigma to drinking at any hour in Italy. Why should there be? Drinking is life, is la dolce vita, is sine qua non. And so, from the country where aperitivo was cultivated, now we have Caffe Fernet’s version of drinking at any hour you want.

The cocktail menu by the bar’s new Principal Bartender Silvio Daniele is split across six time periods in a day with tongue-in-cheek categories like “Clear my schedule” and “It’s always 5 pm in Italy”. There’s a selection of 17 cocktails, each a robust and refined take on the classics. And if you’re looking for something familiar, spring for a pitcher of the Raspberry Margarita (S$88).

But time is ticking, and we gotta get started.

Breakfast Martini

I jumped right into the Breakfast Martini ($22)

Lo adoro! I love it when the first order perfectly sets you up for the rest of the session. Silvio’s take on the ‘breakfast’ classic has clarified milk, a sweet complement to Haku Vodka, orange marmalade, English Breakfast tea and lemon juice. Breakfast at 5pm feels righteously decadent.

(My own take on the Breakfast Martini is a bit less sophis: when there’s that little bit left in the jam jar I can’t scrap out, I pour gin, Cointreau and lemon juice into the jar, close the lid, shake it and then serve it. It works.)

Naked & Famous

Let’s get Naked & Famous ($22)

French liqueur Chartreuse finds its spiritual home here with its agave mates. Divisive mezcal is tamed with tequila, add Aperol and lime juice, and you (I) get a sublime cocktail that’s like a spiky fruit juice — full of natural goodness. It’s maybe my favourite cocktail of the hour already.

 Mirko's Negroni

Something different > Mirko’s Negroni ($21)

This leans closer to a sbagliato than a classic N. where Four Pillar’s Bloody Shiraz Gin is blended with vermouth, rinomato (a type of aperitivi), plus Prosecco. This blushing bride is a welcome break between any other cocktails and wines you are enjoying, as it is refreshing, bittersweet and true to form.

Caffe Fernet

Speaking of breaks, we did take a time out for food. This is a delicious Charred Kng Fish with compressed cucumber, buttermilk and sturgeon roe ($28).

Hazelnut Manhattan

Get close to the Hazelnut Manhattan ($25)

This is a winner in many ways, not just because it’s a two-ingredient classic given a nutty Frangelico boost, but that the cocktail yields many layers of flavours than is obvious at first sip. I snagged the recipe from Silvio, and it turns out there’s more than meet the eye here — the game is afoot, Watson! (For one thing, there are two types of bourbons here… and a splash of a fortified wine.) To paraphrase that Spice Girls song, “tonight, two become five” ingredients. If you crave something spirit forward, this will do the job.

King Cole Old Fashioned

All hail the King Cole Old Fashioned ($23)

The King gets its moment on the throne. Instead of sugar syrup, you get a full-on cocktail with a touch of — what else — Fernet!
And that’s pretty much all the time we had. Time flies when you’re having drinks, and the view from the historic Customs House really can’t be bettered when the sun is setting. The cocktails (and food) deserve your full attention. Godere!

Caffe Fernet, 70 Collyer Quay, #01-05 Customs House, Singapore 049323.

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