Give them a shot

Rub shoulders with some of the world's best barmen, enjoy signature cocktails by Singapore's finest bartenders, visit pop-up bars and go on themed bar-hopping tours around town in March.

These are just some of the activities lined up for the inaugural Singapore Cocktail Week from March 7 to 14. Close to 30 cocktail bars here will be taking part in the eight-day drinks festival.

Ten international barmen, including American Steve Schneider of Employees Only in New York; Irish barman Dean Callan, brand ambassador for Scotch label Monkey Shoulder; and Roman Foltan of award-winning bar Artesian in London, will be in town for guest bartending stints.

About 2,000 people are expected to attend Singapore Cocktail Week, which is organised by Curated Events, a lifestyle events company co-founded by Singaporeans Pauline Wee, 34, and Ivy Woo, 39.

The event aims to establish the city as a leading cocktail destination and showcase the growing pool of bartending talent here, say its organisers, who hope to make it an annual affair. As far as they know, only South Korea holds a similar event in Asia.

Ms Wee, who says the event was inspired by the burgeoning community of world-class bar talents here, tells Life!: "We've enjoyed seeing the cocktail scene evolve with a wide selection of cocktail bars and related cocktail events.

"The slew of international awards won by bars and bartenders based here in recent years is also a testament to the rapidly growing industry and an indication of its potential and popularity."

Indeed, there are more than 30 cocktail bars specialising in craft mixology, with many more restaurants that each run a bar helmed by a trained mixologist.

Singapore Cocktail Week will see the return of the Singapore Bar Awards, started last year by Australian food and beverage veteran Tron Young.

The awards honour the best bartenders, service crew and bar food in town, based on votes by Singapore-based barmen, spirits importers, journalists and other industry folk.

Cocktail enthusiasts who visit participating bars during Cocktail Week can enjoy signature cocktails at discounted prices, starting from $14.

Some of the bars will also host visiting bartenders. More details will be released over the next few weeks.

Participating bars include established players such as 28 Hong Kong Street, Jigger & Pony in Amoy Street, Manhattan bar at Regent Singapore hotel, The Cufflink Club in Jiak Chuan Road and Operation Dagger in Ann Siang Hill.

Mr Joel Fraser of The Cufflink Club, who took part in a similar event - Sydney Cocktail Week - late last year, says: "It's a really wonderful thing. I've been in Singapore for 51/2 years, mixing drinks when I first arrived at (restaurant-bar) the Tippling Club... to owning and operating my own bar.

"It's probably long overdue that Singapore gets its own cocktail week, with local bartenders like Peter Chua doing great things, such as at Diageo Reserve World Class... we're excited to be a part of it."

Book it


When: March 7 to 14

Where: Various venues

Admission: $28 (500 tickets on a first-come, first-served basis from Monday to Feb 15), $38 (standard).

Ticket holders will get a 10 per cent discount on cocktail tours and workshops, signature cocktails from $14 at participating bars and free cocktails at pop-up bars.

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This article was first published on January 17, 2015.
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