The fifth annual Singapore Cocktail Festival (SGCF) returns this May, and it clearly doesn’t need any introduction. Taking place over a week from 10 to 18 May 2019, our favourite boozy shindig returns with the Festival Village at Empress Lawn and other hard-to-miss events across some of the best cocktail bars in town. You’ll need some proper preparation to get the most of the week, so let’s dive right in, shall we?
A true social gathering of bibulous folk, the Festival Village will run from 10 to 12 May, 4pm to 11pm daily. Empress Lawn will be playing host to the likes of Jesse Vida from Atlas, Singapore (No. 4 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018), Danny Yeung from Smalls (Bangkok), and Giovanni Graziadei from Jigger & Pony. It’s almost blasphemous to turn down a chance to sample some of the best from the best. The best part? Their cocktails are going for $12 nett!
If you’re still thirsty, there’s a myriad of bar and brand pop-ups featuring The Monarchy Cocktail Bar and La Maison du Whisky, a Four Pillars Gin putting green, and Jameson’s JJ Vinyl Store. Keep your eyes peeled for debut brands at the Artisanal Spirits Tasting Room. We also recommend lining your stomach with a quick bite courtesy of local restaurants COMO Cuisine, Ding Dong, and Neon Pigeon.
The Festival Village will also host the competition grounds for the Barstylez International Bartender Championship Finals, as more than more than 60 competing bartenders from over 25 countries compete in ‘Cocktail’ and ‘Flairing’ contests. Adding to the entertainment value is the plethora of DJ sets throughout the day, including Instigator Afrobeat Orchestra, Ya5th, and Ollie Des.
Festival Village tickets are priced from $35 for a one-day pass, inclusive of one welcome drink. For more information, visit the Festival website here.
‘50 Minutes with 50 Best’ Masterclasses
Presented by the folks behind The World’s 50 Best Bars, get into the mad minds of our top mixologists and the backstories behind their bars and cocktails (yes, you’ll get to drink them, too.) Guest speakers include Maxim Schulte from American Bar at The Savoy, London (No.2 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2018) and Renato Giovannoni and Aline Vargas from Floreria Atlántico, Argentina (No. 14 on The World’s 50 Best Bars 2018).
Entry to these classes are limited to Festival Village ticket holders through contest giveaways on the SGCF Facebook and Instagram. A limited number of tickets can also be purchased here.
Cocktail Experiences Around Town
From 10 to 18 May 2019, expect a diverse round-up of cocktail experiences around the city, from thematic bar tours to guest bartender appearances and attractive cocktail deals across 45 participating venues.
Thematic Bar Tours
Missed out on the Game of Thrones Bar Crawl earlier this month? Check out the thematic bar tours happening around town. For starters, update your Rolodex of cocktail haunts with New Kids on the Block for the latest cocktail hotspots, or cruise through high-end tipples on the Luxury Escape Tour. The theme for an all-whiskey cocktail showcase may be Whisky Business, but you don’t have to show up in your tighty whities.
All bar tours are available for booking here.
Guest Shifts Galore
If the thought of shimmying through crowds at the Festival Village sends you into throes of agony, don’t sweat it — guest shifts abound across the island, and with things stretching out a week, you’ll have plenty of cocktail parties to choose from.
Nutmeg & Clove
Nutmeg & Clove is in for a flurry of activity, bringing mixology majors from all over the world. The week kicks off with their 5th Anniversary Homecoming Party featuring seasonal cocktails from Kae Yin, founding owner of AHA Saloon Taipei, and Origin Bar‘s Adam Bursik. Then mark your calendars for the 11th, where Bar Awards winners will be gracing the stage, including Ann Pinsuda, head bartender of Bangkok’s Bar of the Year, Bamboo Bar Bangkok, and Bartender of the Year Supawit Palm from Vesper.
Jigger & Pony
A 7th Anniversary calls for 7 cocktail nights from 7 award-winning personalities, and that’s exactly what you get at Jigger & Pony’s SEVEN. The Unofficial Singapore Cocktail Festival Welcome Party starts 8 May 2019 with an appearance by none other than James Irvine of Four Pillars Gin. Then come prepared for guest shifts by Shingo Gokan of Speak Low Shanghai, ranked 3rd on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018. And here for their only stop in Singapore, don’t miss out on Tony Pescatori and Sebastian Cristofanon from Nightjar, second only to Dandelyan London on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018.
Joining in later in the week, Manila-based talents Jay Natividad from The Spirits Library and Ian Libang from NoKal take over for ‘One Thousand and One Drunken Nights’, on 16 and 17 May 2019 from 7pm. The two bring with them four cocktails, priced at $20++ each, inspirited with unique Southeast Asian ingredients: Pandan Sweet Vermouth, Curry Leaves and Jackfruit syrup. Try The Craft and The Malice Woman, a gin-based cocktail with notes of pandan, strawberry rinomato and smoked rosemary salt, or 40 Thieves, made with sesame honey, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, with a touch of tarragon.
Created specially for the festival, Fat Prince’s Shallum Recto’s Rosa ($18++, Passport Price) is a spicy tipple of Hendrick’s Gin, Spiced Wine, Agave Spirit and Lillet Blanc, and will be available all month long.
A third option to kick off the festivities on 8 May 2019, Mario Frulla of Baccano takes over MO BAR from 8pm until late. Then take a night off for a masterclass by Cocchi Vermouth with distinguished wine producer Roberto Bava from 2pm to 4pm on 9 May. Friday, 10 May 2019 then sees Head Bartender Aldrin Ancheta of speakeasy The Back Room (Manila) behind the bar from 8pm onwards, and sit down for a creative cocktail by Sydney’s PS40 and contemporary Paris bar, Danico from 8pm till late on the 12th.
Get into the mad mind of guest bartender Simone Caporale, one-third of the trifecta behind Marque d’Amour bar at Seoul’s L’Escape Hotel on 13 May 2019 at SKAI Bar; and finish up your boozy week with a revelrous night at The Monarchy Cocktail Bar with Shah Dillion, owner and operator of Bali’s 40 Thieves, for a night aptly named ‘The Monarchy is Overthrown’.