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#582

THE ORIGIN OF SPICES

06 Mar 2018 By

In Shangri-La’s Origin Bar, the Past and the Future Are All Present.

Here’s a familiar joke: Past, Present and Future walked into a bar, it was tense. But it wasn’t tense at all in Origin Bar, where the past and future were all present. Let me explain.

Shangri-La’s new flagship cocktail bar creates cocktails using ingredients that pay homage to Singapore’s various districts, but the approach is more holistic and forward-thinking. Yes, there are other bars that use local spices (lord spare me another token kaya or kalamansi drink, please).

The peeps at Origin Bar though, led by bar manager Adam Bursik, have brought some rigor to their research, and it showed it the depth of the menu and the cocktails. 

Origin Bar -cocktails

The cocktails are inspired by five heritage districts in Singapore, namely Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay, Marina Bay and, to kick things off, Orchard, represented by the namesake cocktail The Origin (S$22). Orchard Road which was home to pepper and nutmeg plantations in 1880 (there was no Body Shop back then, peoples), thus this spicy, gin-based cocktail is made with sugar cane honey, nutmeg, pepper and lime husk wine. The chunky charred pineapple garnish is a killer treat, and the drink is a fresh kick to the palate, with a delicious depth from the homemade marmalade jam.

Origin Bar - bar

Safari Tea ($22) is a likable drink that represents Chinatown, apparent from the chrysanthemum. It’s a blend of jackfruit marmalade, bamboo and osmanthus fortified wine, citrus and Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. Slovakian Adam Bursik used to head up Nutmeg & Clove, and Library, and for an ang moh, he’s got a real love for jackfruit.

To create bar’s cocktail menu, Bursik took a deep dive to immerse himself in local produce, selecting fresh fruit and vegetables, spices and herbs that represented each district’s history and flavours.

Origin Bar - cocktail

No, they didn’t forget to wash the flute, that’s coconut shavings on the side of this Million Dollar Fee ($26). to represent Little India. Also representing – saffron, at one time the most expensive spice in the world. Somehow, the spice, champagne and coconut distillate work to give this a nutty fizziness.

You can see how the menu pans out now; each of the five section has a selection of cocktails that takes guests on a journey inspired by Singapore’s illustrious history of bountiful trade.

[ Here’s Another Take on Origin’s Cocktails, By Spirited Singapore ]

sanic origin bar cocktail

Boat Quay is a melting pot and the ingress for new ingredients into Singapore. So Sanic ($22) here is a gorgeous drink with sake, kumquat, yuzu and tonic. Of the signatures, this is one of the best, a zesty delight with layers of flavours – love the citrusy sparkle on the palate.

[ This Bar’s Spiced-Up Cocktails Will Pair Well With Indian Food ]

Origin Bar - cocktail

The Pearl ($26) looks like a Botticelli prop, except Venus doesn’t leapt out. What greets you instead is a cocktail combining land and sea. (Land and sea = Marina Bay, geddit?). This experimental drink (here’s the Future part) uses silken tofu to enhance the texture to the floral blend of elderflower; Black Forest Gin and barley Shochu adds a botanical bite, refined by the natural brine of the sea grapes. Minus points for drinking a cocktail you can’t see, but total Plus points for using potato starch straws and not plastic ones. Origin Bar has eschewed all plastic straws (respect!), and we will be calling out bars that don’t. You can buy these straws at The Proof Flat at EC Proof.

Origin Bar - cocktail

And then there are the classics, which one always returns to. Here the bar really show their verve, and avoid the gimmicks – don’t mess with a classic, we always say, just make it better. The Crystal Russian is a White Russian that has undergone nine hours of distillation, and it is a supremely rounded drink. My favourite is the Martinez (above), a savoury delight enhanced by Bursik’s blend of three different types of vermouth. Three! (Two were Cocchi, since you asked).

Quite quite Origin-al.

Origin Bar, Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, tel: 6213-4599.

Like this? Here’s a Cocktail Menu Inspired by History… Outside Singapore.

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