Could you use a cocktail, mama? Take a sensorial sojourn with Tippling Club’s new cocktail menu…
Already ranked among the World’s 50 Best Bars, destination diner Tippling Club is apparently not content to rest on its laurels. Head Bartender Joe Schofield, who joined the restaurant earlier this year, has devised a new cocktail programme, “Sensorium” that’s at once whimsical and thoughtful.
When’s the last time a cocktail made you think of summer camp, mama? Or walking through the streets of Italy in the rain? Based off the figure that 80% of the flavors we taste actually come from our sense of smell, the concept is a clever way to better highlight the many flavors and elements that go into a sophisticated cocktail.
With an emphasis on “scent over spirit”, Sensorium was created in collaboration with International Flavors and Fragrances Inc. (IFF) to engender an olfactory drinking experience as elegant and complex as Chef-Owner Ryan Clift’s avant-garde cuisine. From a “Sonic Negroni” (made with a high-tech gizmo that can apparently break down molecules to help replicate the taste of a year’s worth of barrel aging) to “edible stones” made from dehydrated yogurt and charcoal, each $22 cocktail is carefully conceived as a mini work of art (and fantastic conversation starter).
The unconventionality begins with the “menu”, which is not some plain old piece of paper, but 12 individual droppers, each listing out a drink’s name and ingredients, and spritzed with a distinctive scent specially created by IFF. It’s a truly hands-on way to explore the offerings with your dining (or drinking) companions, and also breaks down the experience between server and guest.
Among my favorites was “Campfire”, a creamy concoction of marshmallow milk, “campfire” spirit, burnt syrup, “edible ash” and gin. The menu scent didn’t quite match my own campfire memories, but I was so intrigued by the ingredients I have to give it a try – and I’m not normally a gin person at all! The flavor was more citrusy than I expected, but made toastier by the perfectly roasted marshmallow resting on a small twig atop the glass. Taking a small nibble of marshmallow with each sip truly did transport me back to childhood campfires, even if gin didn’t figure in to the original equation. According to Schofield Campfire has been among the most popular new additions so far.
I also went kind of crazy for the “Early Grey” made with citrus, cream, soda and gin (again with the gin! I was shocked!). With a 90s-style flat-top and a savory milk shard on top, it’s less visually precise than some of the other concoctions, appearing almost like an out of control latte, but I was so intrigued by the menu’s intoxicating scent that I had to give it a try. The thing I would most liken it to is an alcoholic egg cream (an old New York diner staple with milk, carbonated water and chocolate syrup). It’s light and slightly fizzy, and was pleasingly less heavy than I expected, which is always nice for a potential pre-dinner drink.
I’ve clearly tippled (ha!) my hand to show that I tend to prefer sweeter, lighter drinks, but Sensorium is certainly not afraid to go bolder with drinks like the smoky “Leather” (pairing surprising notes of raising, orange and vanilla with whisky and Pedro Ximenez) or zany “Gin &? &? &? &?”, a gin martini in which each quadrant of the glass is lined with a different flavor of invisible paint (including grapefruit, lemon, olive and orange).
Traditionalists will appreciate the aforementioned Negroni, and margarita lovers will find a kindred spirit in “Grass”, which marries dill, anise and citrus with tequila. “Pear” and “Caramel” tend toward the sweeter end of the spectrum, while I’m still turning over “Rain” in my head: with an almost buttery scent and earthy notes of beetroot and a stone spirit made from cowling clay, its chalky opaqueness and edible stone give it a truly complex air of mystery. I’m quite sure I’ll have to revisit to give it another try.
The cool cocktail bar mixology trend is by now firmly entrenched in Singapore. While Tippling Club certainly has its share of bells and whistles – the aforementioned molecule machine, delicately hammering away at ice cubes, etc. – there’s also a certain simplicity to the menu that I quite enjoyed and appreciated. The prices are also reasonable, not to mention you’ll happen to find yourself at one of Singapore’s most ambitious restaurants, should hunger suddenly overtake you. Be sure to give it a try, mama!
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 12-3pm (Lunch); Mon-Sat, 6-11pm (Dinner); Bar is open Mon-Sat, 12pm – Midnight.
Tippling Club, 38 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088461, Tel: (+65) 6475 2217, www.tipplingclub.com