Don’t you just love reconnecting with friends you meet around the world in different countries?
My friend, mixologist extraordinaire Nick Quattroville
, relocated in Singapore last year to manage Jason Atherton
‘s ventures in the Lion City’s Chinatown: The Study,
a British-inspired tapas bistro and its password-only speakeasy bar next door, The Library
. I hadn’t seen Nick in yonks so I made sure I caught up with him on this trip.
Two days before he shaved his beard nest in time for Movember
I met Nick about four years ago at LAB
on Old Compton Street, one of my all-time favourite bars in London. He’s worked in various places since (including the W Hotel
and La Bodega Negra
) and I enjoyed following him around town because his concoctions reflect an amazing tradition of cocktail drinking and they’re usually very spot on. Like fuzzy slippers on snow day.
I’m always on the lookout for decent cocktail bars when I visit Singapore. I’ve heard about The Library from Plaid Boy before and was keen to try it out with Nick heading the team.
I had a Rye’n’Air to start. It’s a clever drink of rye whisky, campari, absinthe, peach liqueur and their house vermouth blend – essentially a boulevardier except it’s slightly sweeter with the peach liqueur, but not overpoweringly so.
Wordplay inspired by the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair, I loved the presentation: a medicine jar in a “UK-customs paid and passed” Ziploc bag as if it’s all ready for security.
On my visit, bartenders Vik & Joel were mixing up and testing new cocktails they’ve invented, some for the menu and some for a competition. I was happy to taste and give my punter’s POV. My favourite was a nice tequila-based drink with pineapple liqueur and bitters.
Next up was not a cocktail, but a very, very, very special treat: a shot of the rare 25-year old single malt by Brora. Less than 3,000 bottles were released which is why it retails at £600 on average per bottle. It’s truly a great whisky, with a nice balance between peaty, nutty and smoky notes. Needless to say I was very, very, very happy.
An hour and three drinks (and a few sips of those “new cocktails”) later, I was definitely feeling rather fantastic. I could feel my Asian flush coming out in the dark and realised I haven’t eaten all day. They do have bar snacks too (amazing sliders!) but I had my heart set on something else.
Of course, you can’t just leave a bar without having one for the road AND asking yourself this question…
To Pea or Not To Pea! took me by surprise. Brandy, bitters and… green pea syrup?! It sounded like the vegetables your parents force-fed you as a child but actually, it’s refreshing. One for those who like ’em light and tangy.
Overall, I liked The Library. The vibe is very speakeasy, none of those too loud cocktail places where they serve diluted adult drinks. The Rye’n’Air definitely brings enough mileage – not for the faint-hearted but definitely have a lot of heart. Nevermind the password-protected door mallarkey. Go for the cocktails, ask for Nick, enjoy.
47 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089151
Ave price per cocktail: SG$23 (roughly £11)
Visit The Study on Facebook.