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#524

NEW FAV BAR – JUNIOR

08 Aug 2017 By

Everything you’ve always want to know about agave, tequila, raicilla, mezcal but was afraid to ask. Call it a pocket bar or a concept bar, Proof & Co’s new offering Junior is here to serve you, school you, surprise you and set your spirit free.

Just to clarify, Junior is not an agave bar, but it is an agave bar… for now. It’s a concept bar only in the sense that the ‘concept’ changes every six months. It seats 10 people (no standing room) and takes no reservations – good luck with those Friday night peak hour plans!

But Junior’s most ambitious and appealing part is its spirits program. As mentioned, for this first six months it’ll only serve agave spirits, flights and cocktails. “The program will change, and it may not necessarily be a different spirit, we might do tiki for instance, and not just tiki cocktails, but the culture behind it,” explains Zachary de Git, one of the two main bartenders here. (The other fella is Peter Chua. Yes, it’s those two scallywags from Crackerjack.) No coincidence that Junior is conveniently sited behind it, as you’ll see them both swapping shifts here. This might be Singapore’s first pocket bar.

Paloma cocktail Junior bar

Ease yourself into the space with an agave cocktail, a Tequila Paloma is a great start.

The first program here is NORMA (Norma Oficial Mexicana, the series of compulsory standards for Mexican spirits), and the aim is to celebrate the craft and tradition of the agave spirit.

raicilla Junior agave bar

There are flights on the menu, but order any agave flight off-menu and wait to be surprised (and schooled).

The flights (currently Aged Tequila $55, Lost Spirits $46) will change every few weeks, but the barkeeps are happy to make one up upon request. I requested a raicilla flight (each is 30ml). Raicilla is closer in spirit(!) to mezcal than it is to tequila, as it’s made in small batches and are usually pit-roasted or clay-roasted.

The flights – in fact all pours – are accompanied by small bites to complement the drink. Through the session we had pickled cucumbers, bak kwa, manjo/taijin, and orange/cinnamon. At some point in the night Alan Lee, the sous chef from Crackerjack, came in to make us some fresh guag, and have a shot of mezcal. It’s that kind of joint. You gotta order the tacos, you do.

raicilla Junior agave bar

This might be the funkiest raicilla yet: It has cheesy notes and the taste is strongly herbaceous and pungent. Sweet olives were matched with it. Impresionante!

We’ve written before about top-shelf tequila and mezcal, and Junior has it all. In fact, the menu has listed so many varieties that you can’t even read the tiny print!

Your best bet is to ask the fellas there, who have hard-earned knowledge from their travels in Mexico when researching this project. Also, this is part of Proof & Co, and they know how to create concepts and execute ideas. (Go visit the Proof Flat.)

raicilla when i see ya junior bar

A few more worthy cocktails to order: Raicilla When I See Ya (above, $22), Remember The Maine ($23), and Grasshopper ($24).

We recently read about the demise of Mayahuel, the pioneering tequila and mezcal bar in New York. Junior hay have inherited some of its spirit, but it is a smaller version of that influential bar, and its cloistered vibe and unique sensibility is a measure of its winning potential. The sheer amount of agave spirits (sotol included) is dizzyling. I’ve only been once, have no doubt I will return to fight for seats, and it’s already one of my favourite bars. And if all I see in here are bad hombres, all the better.

Like this? Screw that stupid wall – check out these Mexican bars

Like this? 11 tequila truths every drinker already knows

 

Junior (behind Crackerjack), 43 Tanjong Pagar Road.

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