ere's seven easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing tipples that are great for last-minute gifts, and for bringing to your festive parties
1. All Night
Quality cocktails, anytime, anywhere - that's the brilliant idea behind Sunday Punch. The homegrown outfit works with local mixologists to design a series of pre-made, small-batched cocktails that are unfussy - just pour over ice and serve - yet taste just like any well-crafted tipple at a proper bar. All Day, part of their Christmas collection, is their interpretation of a white wine sangria with Asian accents.
It's light and refreshing, structured around Extra Dry French Vermouth and infused with fresh rosemary and kaffir lime leaves ─ and we hear it doubles well as a champagner topper too. These wax-sealed bottles with their understated sophistication make for dapper gifts, and each 500ml flask is good for six to eight servings.
$70, from www.drinksundaypunch.com (delivery within three days). Also stocked at Temple Cellars, #01-12 UE Square, 81 Clemenceau Avenue, tel: 6262-2191.
2. Whitley Neill Quince Gin
Blurring the line between spirit and liqueur, this craft gin acquires its sunny look and ambrosial profile from Persian quince - a bright yellow, pear-like fruit that boasts a heady fragrance of vanilla and citrus. Whitley Neill is also noteworthy for its use of African botanicals, such as baobab and cape gooseberry.
The quince gin is refreshing as a G&T, but its full-bodied, bergamot-laced sweetness makes a fine case for having it as a dessert wine. It's a great bookender for festivities: Serve it as a breezy G&T as part of pre-dinner cocktails, on the rocks with foie gras and rillettes, and finally, serve it neat with a bountiful platter of cheese.
Pro tip: Get the Christmas hamper ($130). It's only $7 more but comes with four bottles of Double Dutch craft tonics, and a bottle opener.
$123, from gainbrandsdirect.com (delivery within 24 hours).
3. Plantation Pineapple Stiggin's Fancy Rum
Big, bold and beautiful ─ this Caribbean number is sassy and vibrant with the aroma and flavours of honeyed pineapples, vanilla, and freshly cracked pepper. The pineapple rum is sultry on the palate too, with a satiny sweetness that keeps you craving for more. Give this to anyone in need of a beach holiday. And forget about mixers, we recommend having this just on the rocks, or unless you're in the mood for some bartending action - as a rum old fashioned.
$85, from The Proof Flat by EC Proof, 43A Hongkong Street, tel: 8228-0113 / www.ecproof.com.
4. Dag Sitrus Pale Ale
The newly opened Fish is waving the flag high for Norwegian produce and flavours, and its cavernous restaurant-and-retail space (within the grounds of Novotel at Stevens Road) is a treasure trove for curious gourmands. Among our favourite finds is the Dag Sitrus Pale Ale.
This craft brew is every bit as sunshine-y as it looks, with the aroma of ripe oranges and refreshing notes of grapefruit, orange peel, and peach. It's crisp without being too hoppy and segues into a malty finish - a sessionable, all-weather beer, really. And if you're thinking of bringing this to parties, it'll pair well with shellfish, with spicy food, and with milder cheeses.
$11, from Fisk Seafoodbar & Market, 30 Stevens Road, #01-01, tel: 6732-0711 / www.fisk.com.sg.
5. Patrick Sullivan New World Wine
Natural wines are the biggest wine trend in Singapore now, and for good reason. They're fun, they're unpredictable, they're juicy and fruit-forward, and they've got hippie, feel-good vibes because the underlying winemaking philosophy is all about serendipity and trusting Mother Nature. Among the winemakers leading the charge is Patrick Sullivan, whose wines have quite the cult status and tend to fly off the shelves.
Luckily for us, there's Wine RVLT - Singapore's biggest shrine to the movement with more than 100 natural wines in the ever-evolving collection at its gastrobar-and-retail front. We suggest you make a beeline for his cheekily named New World Wine - a spunky blend of pinot noir and gamay with vivid notes of fresh cherries and raspberries. It's super quaffable with loads of bright acidity, and easy-going with everything from spicy food to chicken to red meat.
$86, from Wine RVLT, 38 Carpenter Street, tel: 9388-1436.
6. Rachelle's Upper Cut
We're just brimming with pride to see that Singapore's burgeoning brewing and distilling scene now has a meadery of our own: Rachelle The Rabbit Meadery. Their take on mead - an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey - is rich and silky, more along the lines of dessert wine than fizzy like beers and ciders, and the ambrosial character of honey is evident from the get go.
There are four expressions, made from co-fermenting wildflower honey with different flowers, fruits and spices; all are excellent but if we must choose, we prefer Upper Cut a teeny bit more for its citrusy aroma and subtle gingery spiciness. Rachelle the Rabbit is a really young startup, so show them some love!
$48, from rachelletherabbit.com (delivery within 24 hours). Also stocked at Wild Barley, 25 Yong Siak Street, tel: 6221-9028.
To the uninitiated, whiskies are often misunderstood - too strong, too peaty, too high-brow... just too intimidating. But it's really about finding the right "gateway", and we reckon that Japanese whiskies with their more milder, smoother countenance, are a good way to get acquainted. Enter the Chita. It's produced by Suntory, the grand-daddy of Japanese whisky-making, but it's much, much more wallet-friendly than its more famous Hibiki and Yamazaki siblings.
As a single grain whisky derived from corn, it has a lighter texture with faint hints of spice and oak, and a sheer perfume of creme brulee and honey. There's just enough complexity - achieved by blending three different corn distillates - to complete its quiet elegance. It's a very approachable whisky for newbies; it's a versatile wild card that can pair with just about any food; and it's an easy-drinking social lubricant that doesn't distract from conversation.
$115, from 1855 The Bottle Shop, six stores island-wide including #01-643 Suntec City Mall Tower 4, 3 Temasek Boulevard, 6735-1855.
This article was first published in Her World Online