We're sure tipplers often concoct classic cocktails at home. Recipes are not complex and ingredients are also easily available. All you need is a few shakes or stirs and you'll be ready to imbibe with your pals. However, at specialised bar establishments, cocktails are not run-of-the-mill. The brainchild behind these cocktails assembles premium ingredients to conjure one-of-a-kind drinks that require expertise to blend.
Rising Cantonese restaurant Madame Fan expands into liquor realm through cocktails with an oriental twist. Instead of adding obvious dashes of ready-made Asian-flavoured extracts, this 40-seater bar extension at The NCO Club imports the brand's kitchen ethos to the bar which unites both culinary and mixology techniques. Simply known as Madam Fan Bar, the plush interior and unobstructed layout ensure that all eyes witness the handiwork of each craft cocktail made at the bar.
Award-winning head mixologist Davide Boncimino (previously from The Other Room and Bago by Lime house) spearheads this banding of bar and kitchen with a philosophy to create drinks that are 'good enough to eat'. For example, garnishes are entirely edible and not used for aesthetic purposes only.
Boncimino explains, "We don't search for a sherbet, we find the best strawberries and cherry tomatoes and then make them into a sherbet just like chefs fo. We make our own liqueurs which add flavour, depth, and complexity through experimenting with kitchen techniques to create specific flavours or infusions that transcend the usual familiar notes."
Each of the 13 cocktails on the menu involves the element of 'drink-eat-drink' where one takes a sip of their cocktail first, followed by a bite of the house-made edible garnish, and finally back to the drink. This practice allows gourmands to understand how it empowers the drink palette in layered complexity, balance, and finish. So don't gulp them down too eagerly.
Below are some highlights of the signature oriental-based cocktails. And yes, Boncimino's award-winning Marshall from Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2017 is part of the menu too.
(Not) Classic PBJ
An east-meets-west creation that interprets the popular 'peanut butter and jelly' combo in beverage form. The savoury properties of the peanut butter fat-washed Glenfiddich whisky fused harmoniously with the piquant caramelized kumquat liqueur, both made in-house. On the side, chocolate-coated macadamia nuts are housed in a mini bamboo steamer ala dim sum. So where's the jello? It appears in the form of chilli and peppers puree condiment to the crunchy garnish.
Inspired by the classic White Russian, Boncimino utilized the milk-washed technique on vodka to create an infusion with a house-made cold-brew coffee liqueur and chocolate bitters. Drops of macadamia syrup provide a nutty depth and the appearance of champagne foam gives a textured contrast to the intense concoction.
No oriental inspired menu will be realized without a tea-based beverage. Slow-roasted Iron Goddess Tea (Tie Guan Yin) was chosen as the core for Yù Cha, along with a mix of Beefeater 24 gin and whisky. Sounds like a soothing variation of the classic Martinez. We're hooked on the savoury shiso vermouth that provides both herbal and bittersweet notes.
Sweet-tooths will be pleased with this candied gin-based layered medley that features a house-made crushed ripe cherry tomatoes and strawberries sorbet. Taking cues from the idyllic Italian summer along the namesake's coast, light hints from the zest of lemon and the cheekily garnished frozen strawberry lollipop will brighten your mood and induce a verocious appetite.
This smooth tropical-spirited drink draws a South-East Asian influence with its house-made toffee-edge gula melaka ice cream and supported by plantation pineapple rum. Furthermore, citrus tartness from the lime zest and fragrant coconut wafer freshly made at the restaurant's pastry kitchen to keep cloy at bay.
Madame Fan Bar is located on the 2nd floor at The NCO Club, 32 Beach Rd, Singapore 189764