Shaken And Stirred

Photography courtesy of Sugarhall and Jigger & Pony

Though it seems there are five new cocktail bars opening every month, it’s safe to say Guo Yi doesn’t have much to worry about, thanks to her trustworthy palate, well-balanced blend of amazing drinks and impeccable hospitality.

Hi Guo Yi, please introduce yourself and your role in your establishments.

There are four pillars in Jigger & Pony: bar, kitchen, hospitality and business. I ensure the hospitality pillar is well maintained.

Why did you and your partners decide to start Jigger & Pony and now Sugarhall?

I spent six years flying with Singapore Airlines, and have always loved the service and hospitality industry. I feel a bar can be that great place where people come in as strangers and walk out as friends.

It all started when we picked up a book on classic cocktails by Dale DeGroff, the father of the classic cocktail revival in NYC. A trip to Japan shortly after showed us how good cocktails could be. I was hooked and have since been learning about cocktails daily, from watching YouTube videos to learning from pros in the industry.

Jigger & Pony shaken and stirred sugarhall

Sugarhall

What challenges did you face in the beginning and how did you overcome them?

Renovation and construction were new areas for me. As the project manager, I had to deal with various contractors to put the place together. I had to learn a lot on the fly to make sure the venue finished on time and on budget.

One big hiccup happened when the truck delivering our custom-ordered furniture from Indonesia literally fell off a cliff on the way to the port. Luckily, no one was injured, but the furniture had to be re-made, and we had to open our doors with some furniture missing!

Jigger & Pony shaken and stirred sugarhall

Can you explain the thought process behind your menu?

Classics form the foundation of our menu, so we always start with making them to the highest possible standard. We also have a section on vintage cocktails; lesser-known classics our team dug up from historical texts and books. Finally, the team has also developed a number of original signature cocktails, which we hope will be classics in the future! Every cocktail on the 24-drinks menu is priced the same, so that customers can feel comfortable choosing cocktails based on what interest them, not on the basis of price.

Our bar programme is led by Aki Eguchi, a highly creative and experienced bartender who won the Diageo World Class Singapore bartender competition in 2011 and 2012. He is in charge of putting together the quarterly changing menu and training the bar team.

Read more in The U Press N˚7 (Singapore edition).