Down the Watering Hole

Text by Elodie Bellegarde
Illustration by Amaris Chen

Waking up this morning, my recollection of last evening is slightly hazy. I’m unsure if this is due to the dim light of the cocktail bar I visited, the alcohol consumed or some half-awake imaginings embellishing my memories. I remember entering a bookshelf to a passage lit with red lights. Trying to make sense of my surroundings, I discreetly scanned the room, trying to catch a glimpse of the facial expressions of my fellow guests, but to no avail. It seemed as if I had just stepped into a world of wittily designed cocktails shrouded in molecular fog, served by bow-tied alchemists.

Resembling a Prohibition Era American speakeasy, this most surreptitious of venues made one feel like a special guest entering a world of its own with hidden doors, vintage artefacts, whimsicality and, most importantly, finely crafted cocktails. The glassware paraphernalia seemed to announce their presence and beckoned me towards my seat. Not one item was the same; each unique piece had been thoughtfully collected by a charming man with thick-rimmed glasses.

I took a seat by the lavish bar—an elaborate mishmash of painstakingly polished pieces of nailed-together copper. In my mind, this could have been a prototype of one found at the Moulin Rouge during its heyday. My host took notice of my presence, welcoming me with a warm smile and a menu of the most fabulous creations.

Clearly knowledgeable and passionate about his craft, the charming man presented me with a “cartoonish” (as they described it) concoction entitled Sewer Shark, served in a quirky cubic container. I leaned forward, hoping to see the cocktail come to life. To my great surprise, it somewhat did! Cleverly served on an Islay and orange blossom fog, my very first sip of this black rum, whole egg, cacao and root beer infusion—with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg—transported me elsewhere. I imagined myself in a boathouse in the backwaters of Kerala drinking Masala Chai. Perhaps my imaginings were influenced by the powerful effects of alcohol or even the hallucinogenic properties of nutmeg. As I sipped on the drink, my host regaled me with the origins of the venue whilst mixing me a second. Conversation and drinks flowed as I was introduced to American craft spirits and Italian liquors known only to the most fervent mixologists.

Be password ready to visit 47 Keong Saik Road, Singapore.

Read more in The U Press N˚2 (Singapore edition).