You know an idea is so simple yet so great when immediate reactions sum up to, "Why didn't anyone think of this sooner?". Well, they did. Draft Land founder/bartender Angus Zou did, to be specific. Originally launched in ZhongXiao, Taiwan in 2018, the bar led the pioneering concept for cocktails on tap in Asia. The Draft System, created by beverage R&D company Drinks Lab, works by injecting N2 or CO2 into the tipples for a fast, high quality selection.
So why consider this approach clever? Firstly, you save on the wait time. If you can already get cocktails in a can, why not on tap? Sure, you don't get to witness the fancy shakes and distilled pours, but watching the 'draftenders' locate which of the identical taps—which aren't labelled or numbered—dispenses your order is itself a form of entertainment too.
Another undeniable benefit is the establishment's Sample Service, which allows you to try a shot of the cocktail before you commit to a full size. This was, in fact, an essential feedback the founders commonly received about bars that spurred the idea. The venture also comes as a collaboration with Nutmeg & Clove's Shelley Tai, so you can be assured that standards... are there.
With more standing spaces than seating, it's definitely a casual arrangement. There's nothing to complain about the industrial colour palette, cosy pub-style layout and straightforward overhead menu—unproblematic, if not for ingredients in a font size too small.
While accessibility and affordability are key here, going from SGD18 (SGD12 for non-alcoholic) a pop, the cocktails are surprisingly good. Perhaps the only giveaways in a hypothetical blind test would be the extremely smooth texture and lack of garnish. There are currently 20 mainstays, with savoury-sweet Popcorn & Coke marking the highest ABV on the board.
To commemorate The World's 50 Best Bars happening in Singapore for the first time, exclusive creations crafted by internationally-recognised bartenders are available throughout the month of October, highlighted in red on the menu board.
Oolong Tea Collins (Antonio Lai of Quinary, Hong Kong) is the first tea-infused attempt of several personally tried over the years that actually tastes like the perfect ratio of tea to alcohol; where both ingredients harmonised rather than kill each other in the fight for the spotlight. Peach & Coke (Demie Kim of Zest, Seoul) is a dream for those who love the flavours old school cough syrup. A safe choice for the unadventurous would be the Margarita Spritz (Matt Whiley of Re-, Sydney), while Soul of Osaka (Hidetsugu Ueno of High Five, Tokyo) would easily divide the room.
Fret not, you won't be drinking on an empty stomach. Taiwanese-inspired bites like the Braised Pork Arancini, Egg Pancake and duck-fat fries are amongst the yet-to-be expanded list of ideal companions.
Draft Land is located on 24 Purvis Street, Singapore 188601.