It’s a clever approach. Perched on the 70thfloor of Swissôtel the Stamford, the alcoholic array takes you through the different heights of elevation, from sea level to the Alps. It’s not just puns for names like Oasis for the High Desert range, the respective drinks play into the ingredients typically found at each altitude.
If you’re picturing delicate rims of sea salt, you’re only half right. Buckthorn Cliff, a coastline flowers tipple, is great for beginners. Nori Highball, however, infuses seaweed with sherry and dried apple cider, resulting in a pleasantly salty relish. To bring home the point, it’s topped with a piece of dried nori. Like little reminders of what you’re having, garnishes are amusingly literal but crucial to the taste. The oyster leaf served with Samphire Cocktail (think nautical martini) makes a significant change when taken between sips, and comes with a humorous backstory from beverage manager RustyCerven if you ask.
No points for guessing that this spectrum is fruity. Aptly so, Camu Camuis tropical like its name, carrying velvety berry notes layered with soursop purée. But just when you think you know what to expect, the cordial mixes drop surprise elements like shiitake syrup. You read that right. Perfectly blended with artisanal dark rum, it’s a mushroom element in The Shamanyou can enjoy without getting high. More lush liquid foliage can be found in the saffron-infused cachaca with lemon and orchid in Butterfly Effect.
What is gratifying about Beyond the Sandis not just the cumulative effort that goes into following the concept, but that it’s not a blind stickler to the rules. There’s aged Milagro Silver tequila, but there’s also wheat beer to round it off, because it’s not just about what you find in an arid landscape, but what you’d want to drink when you’re in it.Desert Roseis equally refreshing; Alipus mescal, mesquite with prickly pear smoked underground. Another thirst-quencher is Oasis, cognac shaken with sage, lavender and citrus.
As we work our way to The Summit, the stronger the spirits get. Icelandic vodka meets absinthe with a touch of volcanic rock and wild strawberry. But if you have a soft spot for smoky old-fashioneds like I do, the full-bodied Rolling Stoneis an Austrian amaro deliciously sous vide with fragrant wild thyme and frothed with wild carrots. The Alpines read off the tongue like dark chocolate, bitter until it’s sweet on the aftertaste.
Each an identifiable punch, the cocktails provide a good flight from the diabetic concoctions experimental mixes are prone to. The space, a modest mixing bar and cosy seating, is nothing too lofty. Set against an unrivalled cityline, Skai is worth raising the roof for.