For one, it’s remarkably handsome—mahogany on white with Peranakan tiles and art deco-esque lattices. You get a bonus history lesson too: that Singapore had a short-lived dalliance with rum-making in the 1830s, led by US consul Joseph Balestier who ran a sugarcane plantation and rum distillery; the site of the hotel was once home to the Balestiers.
Aptly, The Bar has even worked with Plantation Rum to launch their own bottling—a Sauternes cask-finished Guadeloupe rum that’s rather beginnersfriendly, with treacle notes and an easy finish. With over 160 rums (from $12 for a 45ml shot), The Bar carries one of the city’s largest selections. There are tasting flights too (from $27 for three samplers), including a trio of navy strength rums to showcase the big and bold, and an aged agrichole series to encourage reconsideration of those famously hard-to-love herbaceous sips.
Naturally, rum dominates the cocktails list. Darker Than Stormy ($22) makes a good refreshing starting point. Cocktails with local elements often exaggerate sweet and/or spicy elements, but thankfully, the Peranakan Old Fashion ($22) bucks the trend, using house-made falernum to register subtle pandan notes and gula melaka complexity. Alternatively, pick a rum and have Lim fix that into a cocktail for a supplementary $6 over the shot price. Lobby level, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, 15 Stamford Road. Tel: 6715 6871.
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September - October 2019