Keen to try local craft spirits like coconut pandan or butterfly pea gin?
We all know that Singapore boasts a thriving F&B scene that’s hit cult status over the years. Award-winning bars aside, our local creators have taken it up a notch by crafting spirits right here in the +65. Using familiar Asian-inspired flavours and innovative techniques, these microdistilleries are pushing drinks to greater heights with fascinating bottles of gin, vodka and other local craft spirits.
Raise a glass to local craft spirits in Singapore
1. Singapore Distillery
Meet Singapore Distillery, one of the newer local distilleries to foray into the spirits scene. Head distiller Ashwin Sekaran and his team have been fine-tuning gin concoctions for the last three years at their distillery in Ang Mo Kio. Mirroring the technique used to create whisky, a custom-designed 500-litre copper still churns out a smooth and balanced finish in each gin.
The result? Eight gin flavours (and counting) that encapsulate Asia’s diversity. The Stolen Roses Gin caught our eye immediately, thanks to its alluring flush of red. A take on bundung (a local rose milk beverage), the mix of rose, gin and natural cane sugar botanicals is fragrant yet perfectly balanced. Another pick? The creamy Coconut Pandan Gin steeped with fresh coconut hearts, freshly grated coconut and pandan leaves (a great dessert tipple). The team have also expanded their repertoire with vodka. The ‘smooth as silk’ Merlion Vodka is distilled five times to create a crisp flavour profile of European Winter Wheat. So smooth, you can have it neat.
Singapore Distillery, available online and at selected bars and restaurants including Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall and Atlas
2. Tanglin Gin
Ah, the OG. The first locally distilled gin brand, Tanglin Gin is all about Singapore pride. How? Aside from using the usual list of juniper, angelica roots and the like, the team also incorporates botanicals that are uniquely Singaporean. You’ll find Vanilla Planifolia Orchid, Indian Amchoor (unripe mango in powder form), young ginger, dried chilli seeds and orange peels in the mix. These flavours will definitely set your tastebuds abuzz. You can’t go wrong with the Orchid Gin and Singapore Gin.
Tanglin Gin, available online
3. Compendium Spirits
You’ve probably heard of or tried the wildly-popular Rojak Gin and Chendol Gin. You’ll have to thank Compendium Spirits for that. When the team realised that distilling mead (fermented honey) opened doors for new flavours, they turned their meadery into an avant-garde distillery. And the rest is history. Today, the local distillers are behind various gin, liqueur, rum, vodka and soju iterations spotlighting Asian ingredients. All batches undergo an arduous brewing, fermentation, distillation and selective ageing process so you can expect a refined flavour profile with every sip.
Compendium Spirits, available online
4. Brass Lion Distillery
Founder Jamie Koh embarked on a six-year journey when she noticed the absence of Singaporean spirits. That, along with her interest in gin and experimentation, is what brought Brass Lion Distillery to life. A cool number of 22 botanicals (including Asian flavours like ginger flowers and lemongrass) are distilled in a copper still right here in Singapore. Keen to meet Nala – yup they’ve named the copper still after The Lion King character. Book a tour to visit the distillery or try your hand at creating your own creation at the gin school. It goes without saying that The Singapore Dry Gin is the one to try with a balanced mix of citrus, sweet and spicy notes. We’re also looking at the Navy Strength Gin. With a hefty ABV of 57%, the full bodied and complex gin surely packs a punch.
Brass Lion Distillery, 40 Alexandra Terrace, Singapore 119933
5. The Orientalist Spirits
We’ve already established that using Asian ingredients yields outstanding flavours. So it goes without saying that this pan-Asian spirits company has a spot in our drinks cabinet. Using cold fermented longan honey mead as the base and ingredients sourced from Tibet, Taiwan and South Korea, the Orientalist is behind creations like Gunpowder Gin, Origins Vodka and Dragon Whisky. Don’t be alarmed by its moniker – Gunpowder Gin actually has a crisp and clean taste with hints of Kampot peppercorn, Korean Omija berries and orris root among the 23 botanicals used.
The Orientalist Spirits, available online
6. Soulsister Spirits Gin
Born out of the pandemic, Soulsister Spirits is the latest gin to foray into the local craft sprits market. Hey, we ain’t complaining! Concocted by Singapore-based alcohol distributor Gain Brands International and Simon Zhao (who’s also the founder of Compendium Spirits), this spice-laden spirit is a take on a London-style dry gin with a Southeast Asian twist. Ceylon cinnamon, tamarind, kaffir lime leaf, galangal and other botanicals are distilled in a copper and stainless-steel still for a more refined and lightly citrusy taste.
Soulsister Spirits Gin, available online
Whether you’re looking for a gift or just keen to treat your taste buds to new flavours, these local craft spirits will do the trick.