Ask the average salaryman in Tokyo about mizuwari, and they’ll tell you about the can of watered down whisky that you get from the konbini (convenience store) for around 200 yen — maybe even cheaper during a sale. Is it a classy way to get blasted? Not really. But it’s a cold can of relief that’s easy to find.
The version we tried at Live Twice, the Jigger & Pony Group’s newest cocktail establishment, is in another league altogether, so there’s hardly a competition at all. Soft water from Hokkaido is blended with two whiskies, Nikka Coffey Grain and Nikka Coffey Malt, and steeped in an earthen pot for three days to marry the flavours. It’s the kind of drink that eases you into a bigger night ahead, and trust us, this is a bar that keeps you wanting more.
From the get go, Live Twice is very much an experience. The grungy dive bar digs of The Flagship, one of the group’s earlier ventures, have now been replaced with a mid-century modern decor. The seating here is as varied as what you might see in a co-working space — it’s difficult to ascertain whether the vintage Falcon chairs (acquired for three grand apiece) or the Giancarlo Piretti Alky designer chairs are more coveted. We’d go on about the interior, but we reckon you want to read about the drinks.
The idea is simple: no ingredient, even the garnish, should be unnecessary. The minimalist menu features just 14 cocktails (at S$25++ each), developed in the artisanal shokunin style by Principal Bartender Yinying Leow and Group Beverage Director Aki Eguchi. The ‘One Life For Yourself’ category sees a lineup of concoctions inspired by classic Japanese cocktails: a rich Vesper that uses the deep gold Kina L’Avion d’Or for a robust bitterness and buttery finish, and a nutty sweet Almond Mimosa that sees Prosecco blended with almond milk and toasty marzipan.
As one dreams, one lives. Or so goes the sentiment for Live Twice’s second category, ‘And One For You Dreams’. These cocktails are free-form and minimalist, each containing a maximum of four ingredients. The names are poetic too, inspired by geimei (professional geisha names). Cue the Little Bell, a simultaneously sweet and savoury tipple with Calvados, lemon, and a tantalising zing of yellow bell pepper honey. Even if you don’t usually like the pepper, this might change your mind.
Then there’s Spring Riot, a crowd-favourite for the night and a low-ABV blend of Roku Gin, Merlet Creme de Peche, and house-distilled sakura soda. Grated cooked daikon is tossed in to interact with the bubbles, adding a crispy and juicy texture and reminding us of a snow globe at the same time. If you’re one for umeshu, try Quiet Inlet, a tantalising tangy drink with Kayuki Ume spirit, granny smith apple, and the ester-rich Kill Devil Long Pond rum from Jamaica (ask to see the fantastic looking bottle!)
Live Twice has a fun selection of yōshuku, or Western-influenced izakaya food, that turn out to be quite as eclectic as its drinks. A cube of Wasabi Cheese Terrine (S$8) toes the line between spiciness and savouriness, with a hint of brine and sweet notes from sake and bonito dashi. The Tuna Katsu (S$22), seared tataki-style and encrusted in panko, is also very pleasant. Unexpectedly, this is where we find what we think are the best Japanese sandos (sandwich) in town. Fried to order, the classic Beef Katsu Sando (S$32) comes tender with the tang of tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. It’s a safe option, but we prefer the dastardly tasty Five-Cheese Sando (S$20), which sees mimolette, aged feta, port salut, and cranberry jam, among other things. Which reminds us: there’s a viral article going around Facebook that claims that cheese can cure any ailment. So, eat five of this and you’ll able to live twice.
Live Twice is located at 20 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089834, p. +65 9011 8304. Open Mon-Thu 6pm – 1am, Fri-Sat 6pm – 2am.