We’ve written about Gibson before. Since its launch in 2015, this Bukit Pasoh cocktail bar has been steadily ascending the ranks of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, climbing up seven spots to a very impressive No. 15 this year. But it’s not one to rest on its laurels: their latest cocktail lineup takes their exploration into Asian flavours even further, weaving Southeast Asian and Japanese ingredients into a sophisticated journey.
Like the other watering holes in the Jigger & Pony Group, Gibson has a lot of personality on its own, oozing with sustained inventiveness and vintage charm. Bartenders walk around in bermudas to the backdrop of sultry jazz and and shelves backed by stained glass, and it’s a spot that does elegance in a nonchalant style.
The result, needless to say, is some truly memorable creations priced at S$23++ across the board. Case in point: the Don Don Old Fashioned, a twist on the whisky classic inspired by – you guessed it – Don Don Donki’s famous baked sweet potatoes. The earthy sweet potato is paired with oaky Bulleit Bourbon, then spiced up with fig and cinnamon bitters. Bizarre, bittersweet, and brilliant. More carbs are transformed into unexpected treats in Grain Is Gold. Inspired by Chef Massimo Bottura’s dish ‘Bread Is Gold’ – a recipe which turns waste ingredients like leftover bread into a lovely dessert – the cocktail combines simple staples like oat milk, cereal, and burnt bread with whisky and rice liqueur. A creamy, comforting tipple results, reminiscent of a breakfast drink.
We travel further into the Far East with Silk Road, a tantalising blend of European spirits and Asian fruits. Cold brew cacao gives a nutty flavour to the Nikka Coffey Vodka and Sandeman Ruby Port – perfect if you like your booze with a caffeine kick. Bits of papaya pulp float within, adding sweetness and texture.
Deliciously light, Always Summer and Guava Highball bring with them the tropical whiff of sun and sea. The Guava Highball is a more savoury number of tequila and Malaysian white guava, well seasoned with salt and ulam raja.
Meanwhile, Always Summer makes for a sweet beachside companion, featuring coconut gin sorbet, Bijofu sake, and finger lime. Switching out coconut for the usual cucumber gives the drink a lovely milkiness, so that the sorbet slips smooth and fresh down the throat.
If you’ve already tried Gibson’s signature Mango PX, Honey PX is a newcomer which might pique your fancy. Whereas the former features a house-fermented sherry made from Philippine mangoes, the latter uses mead fermented from local stingless Trigona bee honey for two months. It sounds saccharine, but it’s not – a splash of Ketel One Vodka and lemon brings out the distinctive tangy notes of stingless bee honey.
For a more floral take on Asian flavours, Breaking The Twig does the trick. Inspired by Chinese osmanthus jelly dessert, this golden concoction wafts heady fumes – a potent mix of Christian Drouin gin infused with osmanthus, Noah’s Mill Bourbon, Merlet apricot brandy, and granny smith apple. We capped off with another dessert-like tipple, the ingenious Wisdom Cup – my favourite of the night. Crème de menthe and Fernet Branca conspire to produce a creamy, intense mint-iness cleverly balanced with tequila. The inside of the cup is further coated with Balinese cacao butter and pandan, lacing each sip with aromatic sweetness.
That’s a lot of drinks to go through, so you’ll want to head back for a few sittings (in other words, don’t stumble home drunk like us.) We’re not sure it made us any wiser – except, perhaps, to Gibson’s bartending genius – but at least, it was never short of surprises.
Gibson is located at L2, 20 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089834, p. +65 9114 8385. Open Mon-Thu 6pm − 1am, Fri-Sat 6pm − 2am. Closed Sun.