Having to pick a drink out of a cocktail menu can be intimidating, even more so from one that says “The Real Art of Drinking”.
Going through the Smoke & Mirrors Volume II cocktail menu is akin to visiting a museum. “The Real Art of Drinking” cocktail menu is not far from the experience of strolling through spaces designed to enjoy art in a setting that sets your mood to be in tune with the artists’ minds.
For this latest rendition at the rooftop bar of Singapore’s National Art Gallery, the team has put their creativity on the idea boards and came up with 16 cocktails that share their interpretations of art to life based on the eight Principles of Art: Proportion, Contrast, Movement, Balance, Unity, Rhythm, Pattern and Focus.
The drinks were concocted by three bartenders: Mel John Chavez (Assistant Bar Manager), Eduardo Zamora (Bar Supervisor) and Wong Wee Siong (Senior Bartender). Their background and personalities can be seen injected into the creations, and subtly through the use of ingredients.
Here is how we tackle the dilemma of picking a drink from this menu, it’s not exhaustive but serves as a guide on how we’d do it.
1. Choose one of the eight principles that pop out at you
This can be a fun game. Out of the eight principles, there is surely one that resonate with you. Pick from Proportion, Contrast, Movement, Balance, Unity, Rhythm, Pattern or Focus, open the page and read up the two cocktails offered. One is also the opposite of the other when it comes to flavour and bound to tickle your fancy. Or make your friend pick out the principle that matches your personality. That will sure tell what they think of you.
2. Look at the pictures
That’s what we’d do, we look at pictures. If you’re a gallery goer, you’ll notice how much work has put into the aesthetic of the menu and the user experience. It’s a well thought out design with elements that are there to impress. Just like the glassware and garnishes used for each cocktail.
3. Let the bartender pick you a drink
This is your last resort. Even though bartenders are great at asking questions to find out what you really feel like drinking, the real fun is telling you why and how they came up with their drinks. So perhaps ask the bartender about his favourite creation and let the conversation flow from there.
While waiting for your drink to be made, here are some things you can do:
1. Order a snack
Smoke & Mirrors’ bar bites are curated to go with your drinks.
2. Admire the view
Overlooking The Padang with a direct view of Marina Bay Sands and The Esplanade, Smoke & Mirrors has the most photogenic balcony. One for the gram is a must here.
3. Read the menu
The menu has many layers, literally (as it is folded symmetrically to show 4 principles on each side) and metaphorically. This is the best time to carefully go through the menu and discover the intricate detail of each cocktail as they are described through taste, ingredients, concept and story.
4. Take a tour to the gallery
Not physically. There is a QR code that link to each drink on the menu. These are the origin of the idea, the art behind the interpretation of the recipes.
Taking a trip to Smoke & Mirrors is a must. With the stunning view, warm hospitality and curated cocktail list, there is no admission fee and the cocktails are priced competitively between $25 - $32.
We didn’t get to try all the 16 drinks but here are some of what we’ve tried during the media tasting and liked:
Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Tempranillo Wine, Blackberries, Lemon Juice, Sugar
Naked Malt, Amaro Montenegro, Burnt Bread Cream, Egg
Man From Manila
Michter’s Bourbon, Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy, Yam Liqueur, Jack Fruit, Lillet Blanc
Havana Club 3 Rum, Jasmine Verte, Acid, Sugar
Cha Cha Duet (Main pic)
- Haku Vodka Matcha Distillate, Roku Gin
- Chivas Mizunara Blended Scotch, Acid
Moves Like Jigger
Bacardi Reserva Ocho, Bacardi Coconut Rum, Orgeat, Pineapple, Citrus, Bitters, Longan
Osmanthus Sencha infused with Brass Lion Gin, Hawthorn infused Vermouth, Oloroso Sherry, Luxurdo Maraschino, Orange Bitters, Ancho Verde
Havana Club 7 Rum, Pink Guava, Plum Sour Mix, Pineapple Liqueur, Campari
Wok’s That Smell
Sambal-infused Espolon Tequila, Cointreau, Mezcal, lime and lap cheong
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