New restaurants, bars, and menus perfect for a fancy date night or casual dining with friends …would be how we start this article off with a slew of SEO-keywords, can you tell? Though that’s still an honest description of these establishments, which maybe didn’t quite make the cut for a full feature (sorry?) but are nonetheless very worthy mentions that have earned their spot on this highlight. Or if you have already been eyeing these places, take this as a lowdown of key dishes to try.


Wagyu Flat Iron. MEADESMOORE

Previously Fat Belly Social, one of the renowned places in town for a feather blade gets a new menu. And you know the steakhouse turns alternative cuts into exceptional ones when the Wagyu Flat Iron significantly outperforms the 65-day aged Cote De Boeuf. Don’t be mistaken; the latter is no weak contender when Australian grain-fed tender and seared with a caramelised crust. Still, having tried a Flat Iron steak elsewhere, this Wagyu cut with a marble score of 9+ had such undeniable flavour each bite you won’t need the sauces.

Mashed potato fans would appreciate the sinful, velvety Ratte Potato Puree that’s whisked with crap ton of milk and butter (do eat it fast before the gluten hardens). The Roasted Honey Saffron Cauliflower is a lighter side, and the florets are served atop a bed of homemade ricotta that has a lovely citrusy tang. A flavour punch would be the Kuju Kushima Oyster Mornay where the fat piece is quite literally blanketed in a luscious reduced cream, grana padano, and wilted spinach (we know how it sounds, but the combination works).

Vibe: That classic, neutral shophouse restaurant that’s safe to bring anyone

Wallet damage: $$$

Meadesmoore is located at 21A Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069620.

NOU Noodle Bar

Shopfront. NOU
Interior. NOU
Umami Noodles. NOU
Cocktail line up (L), G&T (R). NOU

Why yes, this is the one you saw on Instagram. The one with the progressive menu, ambient lights, intimate seating, and ay, glass block feature. Perhaps expectations were high, but it did seem like drinks outperformed their culinary counterparts. For appetisers, Olives come satisfyingly enhanced with citrus and chilli, though at SGD10 before tax for the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, we googled) may look hefty. The Trout Carpaccio and Seafood Spinach dumplings can’t be faulted apart from portion size, but we can’t help but wish the Umami Noodle and Chicken Mazemen packed more of a punch (pairing chillis were chefs kiss though).

Here, the Gin & Tonic is a signature and besides using house-made tonic, the unique frothy beetroot topping tells you why. The Pink Frog is another refreshing gin-based starter, especially for lovers of egg white foam on cocktails. Except you’re probably more up to try the unconventional koji rice fermented tomato brine Tomato, Tomato, or the machetazo duck-fat washed salmiana mezcal-centric Ducktini. The savoury two are undeniably subject to personal preferences, but if you want to double down on the pepper, order the Duck Kut Teh Mee Sua to go with the latter.

Vibe: The contemporary casual bar you want to be caught dead in

Wallet damage: $$

NOU Noodle Bar is located at 45 Craig Road, Singapore 089683.

Puffy Bois

Dawn Chorus (L), Box of Stars (R). PUFFY BOIS

Speakeasies are great, better yet if they are unintentional and serve solid slices. Up the subtly-lit stairway and through a shadowed doorway you find the petite nook away from street buzz. Helmed by veterans, the refreshed tipple menu is concise but has sufficient variety. Two are subjectively polarising—the Pillar to Post (think medicinal aperitivo) and the Ok Go (think boozy ice cream soda). On the other hand, Dawn Chorus is easy to nurse for Old Fashioned regulars, thanks to the comfortable balance of sweet from the cornflake-scented Tennessee Whiskey and housemade salted honey whey. Box of Stars steals the show as a Bellini-inspired, Champagne-dosed hit that is truly complex, with a pleasantly distinct aftertaste.

One primed to be completely up your alley is the customisable Sour What What. It’s your genie drink with freedom of spirit and presentation choice; just tell the trusty duo your profile preference. What makes you return though, will probably be the handmade pizzas literally pulled and toasted before your eyes. We thought ourselves strict fans of thin crust until we had a go. Something about the freshly warm, doughy goodness that’s simultaneously airy and crispy… Where were we? Right. Opt for the creative, non-mainstay options and definitely complement them with the housemade lao gan ma-style chilli that’s hardly spicy but so damn addictive.

Vibe: The super-chill post-dinner/early-supper hangout

Wallet damage: $

Puffy Bois is located at 20A Bali Lane, Singapore 189856.

Gourmet Park Kampong Bugis


Taking over Camp Kilo grounds, this pop-up lands a good spot not only because it’s pet-friendly and around till the end of the year, but also has the capacity to offer a nice multi-concept mix. First of the five homegrown brands is of course, The Goodburger, head honcho behind last year’s Gourmet Park RWS. As you devour their signatures, you kinda forget that they’re plant-based, and you get why their food-truck biz is still around today.

Another burger maestro (Chef Adam Penney of Potato Head Folk, Three Buns) makes a teaser appearance here, but with indulgent British breakfast fare Carnaby, which is set to launch at Roberston Quay later this year. Keeping up the backyard soul of the space is Meatsmith, which iconic char needs no introduction. Our biased favourite is Quattro, specifically the Cacio e Pepe amongst an array of Neapolitan-style pizzas and pastas. Finally, dessert is not left out with Backyard Bakers‘ homemade brownies. And fret not, there will be coffee and cocktails. We’re told to expect kitchen takeovers and more collaborations in coming months, so keep an eye out on their socials.

Vibe: The barbeque party you never got invited to in your late teens

Wallet damage: $$

Gourmet Park Kampong Bugis is located at 66 Kampong Bugis Ground Floor Patio, Singapore 338987.

From the dramatic landscapes of contemporary Scotland, William Grant & Sons proudly introduces WILDMOOR, an exquisite collection of high-aged rare blended Scotch whiskies. Embodying the untamed beauty of Scotland, WILDMOOR invites whisky enthusiasts on a journey through ancient moorlands, rugged coastlines, dense forests, unspoiled mountain ranges, and imposing lochs.

It started 60 years prior when William Grant & Sons went on a quest to acquire a vast reserve of rare, high-aged malt and grain whiskies from every corner of Scotland. WILDMOOR is one such acquisition. Selected for its unique character, much like the ever-evolving Scottish landscape, these whiskies have matured over decades resulting in a phenomenal depth and complexity.

Further honed under the keening eye of Master Blender Brian Kinsman, WILDMOOR's catalogue can be seen as a "flavour map" of Scotland. Within each glass of WILDMOOR, you're transported to the Scottish territories beyond the confines of a single distillery style. WILDMOOR's core range is recognisable by its dark hue—a unique profile to its whiskies—thanks to the sherry cask maturation.

All WILDMOOR bottle exteriors are designed with the rugged, elemental textures and forms of the Scottish landscape. From rural lowlands to unspoiled uplands, coastlines, rivers, and lochs; each bottle acts as a physical panorama of Scotland's epic beauty.

The Collection

WILDMOOR Dark Moorland: 23 Year Old

WILDMOOR Dark Moorland: 23 Year Old

A blend of Highland and Speyside malts combined with Lowland grain whisky. Matured in both American and European oak, this whisky evokes the windswept moorlands of Scotland, its rich flavour further enhanced by an Oloroso Sherry cask finish.

WILDMOOR Rugged Coast: 30 Year Old

WILDMOOR Rugged Coast: 30 Year Old

Drawing inspiration from Scotland's rugged western coastline, you get notes of peat, sea air and crashing waves. This bold whisky blends smoke with rich stone fruit, culminating in a lingering finish. The Oloroso Sherry cask finish adds an extra layer of complexity.

Travel Retail Exclusives

The Travel Retail exclusives

The Travel Retail exclusives include the WILDMOOR Waking Forest: 23 Year Old, WILDMOOR Tropical Coast: 30 Year Old and the WILDMOOR Black Mountain: 40 Year Old (the Black Mountain is also available for domestic sale).

Waking Forest marries virgin oak and sherry oak that results in smooth vanilla flavours with a rich sweetness. While, the Tropical Coast captures the essence of Scotland’s northwestern coastline in summer. Finished in a Caribbean Rum cask, it is smooth, fruity, and sweet with a touch of rum spice. Lastly, the Black Mountain is an extraordinary blend that features rare grain and Highland malts, enriched with Ghosted Distillery stock. Finished in a Pedro Ximenez cask, it delivers an intense, deep, and elegant experience.

WILDMOOR Travel Retail range is available at an exclusive pop-up. Located in Terminal 1 Departures (Transit), this immersive space invites visitors for a multi-sensory adventure through Scotland’s rugged lands. culminating in curated whisky and food pairings at the pop-up bar. Exclusive gifting and complimentary personalisation are available with every purchase.

The WILDMOOR Travel Retail range, including the 23 Year Old Waking Forest and 30 Year Old Tropical Coast, will be available at Singapore Changi Airport Lotte Duty Free shops until 23 May, 2024, and in selected Travel Retail markets from 24 May, 2024. The rest of the WILDMOOR range will be available at selected retailers and online.

Punch Room Singapore

Every EDITION hotel in the world has a Punch Room. As an EDITION staple, each Punch Room has its own identity. Ours is swathed in "Yves Klein blue". The interior hits you like a punch of the whimsy as you stay for the drinks. With a focus on punch (duh), the bar uses spices and teas that are unique to our litte red dot. 

Believed to be the first "modern day cocktail", punch was originally infused with ingredients that were the go-to in 17th century sailors’ trade routes. As a homage, the Punch Room Singapore replicates said ingredients of the Southeast Asian region, which includes starfruit, butterfly pea and betel leaf. 

But aside from alcohol, the bar also offers a unique afternoon tea experience. This tea time offers savoury and sweet delights inspired by the five main ingredients that make up punch—spirits, spices, citrus, teas and sugar. 

The Savouries

Afternoon Tea experience

Upon arrival, guests receive the signature Welcome Punch. Guests will also choose between organic Jing teas or free-flowing punch bowls and Ruinart champagne. Next comes the first course, a savoury marvel of Poached Lobster. Placed atop blackcurrant and hibiscus tea gélee and citrus cream cheese, it is the perfect fusion with the acidic notes of raspberries and vintage balsamic.

Then, the Signature Finger Sandwiches are dished out. They are available in two combinations—roast beef with blueberries and osetra caviar, and smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese and ocean trout roe. The black and white bite-sized sandwiches are accompanied with a hot and fragrant Black Truffle Cheese Donut. Lastly, the savoury courses end off with a Crispy Tart composed of duck foie gras and spiced spirit poached plum. 

The Sweets

Daeng's Punch

Enter the desserts. Firstly, a Frozen Punch is presented, a rendition of Daeng’s Punch from the main menu. It is a great palate cleanser, marking a refreshing transition from the savoury to the sweet courses. Afterwards, we have the Punch Inspired Desserts. These jewel-like pastries comes in the flavours of the various teas and spices found in punch. They include the Chamomile Mascarpone Kochi Yuzu Tart, Piedmont Hazelnut and Milk Chocolate Pleyel, Pink Peppercorn Chocolate Éclair and Matcha Green Tea Namelaka in a hojicha Cone. 

Kusu Island Punch

Following up, Executive Pastry Chef Alex Chong’s Kusu Island Punch Semifreddo is a play on the Kusu Island Punch. No prizes for guessing that this was inspired by the local legend of Kusu Island. Resembling a blue sphere, the dessert is reminiscent of the sculptural blue ceiling pendant in Punch Room.

Finally, the menu ends with an afternoon tea classic, soft buttery scones. Served with house-made strawberry jam and yuzu lemon curd instead of the usual butter or cream, the yuzu's tangy notes gives a satisfying finish to the whole set.

Reserve a table for the Afternoon Tea experience is available from SGD75 per person, from 2pm to 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

The sea speaks of salt tang and stories, of siren calls and shanties about sea-faring lovers lost to the briny depths. The Psalms talk about revelation, where ”the secret sources of ocean are exposed”. And over 20 years, hidden along Scotland’s northeast coastline, a Glenglassaugh warehouse accommodated numerous rare casks.

Laid down back in the 1970s, these casks were left nigh forgotten and left to mature through the years with the coastal environment shaping their contents. They were uncovered in 2008 and the rest of the maturation was overseen by Glenglassaugh’s master blender, Dr Rachel Barrie.

Dr Rachel Barrie.

“It is extremely rare to find casks that have been left to mature in coastal locations for such a long period of time,” Dr Barrie says, “and our warehouses, perched on cliffs overlooking Sandend Bay, have acted as the custodians of this old and rare liquid for over five decades.

“These casks give a unique insight into the nature of whisky making at the distillery before it was closed and capture a moment in time like few other expressions can.”

Glenglassaugh’s 49 Year Old Bourbon Barrel and 48 YO Aleatico Red Wine Barrique.
Glenglassaugh’s 51 Year Old Oloroso Puncheon.

The Serpentine Coastal Cask Collection

Termed as the Serpentine Coastal Cask Collection, the range takes its name from the serpentine marble found in the surrounding cliffs of the distillery. For this collection, only three expressions were bottled. They are the 48 YO Aleatico Red Wine Barrique (distilled in 1974); the 49 YO Bourbon Barrel (distilled in 1973) and the 51 YO Oloroso Puncheon (distilled in 1972).

This liquid gold is contained in glass bottles inspired by the sand of Sandend Bay and sealed with a serpentine marble closure. The 48 YO has a pleasing blueberry and peach scent and tastes of blackberry, lychee and raspberry and a hint of sea salt. Whiffs of exotic fruit, like guava, emanate from the 49 YO, with dried fruit enveloping the palate. Finally, the 51 YO has blood orange preserve, spiced vetiver on the nose and tastes of salted treacle infused with a tempting orange and balsamic raisin.

Dr Rachel Barrie signing a Glenglassaugh Sandend bottle.

Limited to a few hundred bottles worldwide, their scarcity is another reason to indulge in this serendipitous find of the year. Prices are available on request.

There's a certain responsibility saddled to the superlatives of the world. With Martell—the oldest of the great cognac houses—that onus requires the Maison to maintain its legacy while honouring its past. Since its inception in 1715, Maison Martell decided to set its sights back to where its heart is: home base. More specifically Martell’s historic family estate, the Château de Chanteloup, where creation of the new L'Or begins.

It's a tribute to Martell’s evocation of art de vivre (the art of living). The idea of just "letting things be" and there's no better example than the ageing of Martell's spirits. This time the process is in a partnership with a prestigious French château. With the blends of more than 1,400 eaux-de-vie from the four terroirs in the Cognac region, when it comes to the ageing stage, the liquid is usually aged in 300-year-old oak barrels at a dedicated cellar in Cognac. For this occasion, after the maturation process takes place at a dedicated cellar, it's completed at the aforementioned Château de Chanteloup.

The Cellar Master

Talking with Martell’s Cellar Master, Christophe Valtaud, we were told that a year into maturation, the flavour profile comes to fore. “The next château,” Valtaud adds, “will be completely different, in terms of the cellar’s condition, so the tastes would be unique.”

Only 1,000 individually numbered decanters are available worldwide, with less than 100 available in Singapore. Three more châteaux are planned for the next edition of L’Or de Jean Martell. On the palate, there are notes of iris and wild carnation that blithely coil around aromas of cherry and blackcurrant. A hint of spice lingers.

To contain such a complex cognac, it must be contained by a decanter of fine complexity. That’s where Baccarat, renowned for its crystal craftsmanship, comes in. The crystal decanter is shaped to look like a single drop of cognac. The decanter is topped with a 19-carat gold-painted neck that details the château the cognac is aged in as well as the limited edition number. A crafted wooden box is made for The decante. Housed within are also two stoppers, one is for transportation and one for display.

As the interview comes to an end, we can’t help but ask Valtaud, if Martell’s goal was to reintroduce art de vivre to the world, is there consideration to age the blend outside of France? 

“We want to spend a little bit more time in France for now,” Valtaud says smiling, “because we wanted to create a strong product... but in the future, we might head outside France. Who knows? When it comes to art de vivre, it’s not relegated to the borders of France; it is a mindset.”

The L’Or de Jean Martell – Réserve du Château de Chanteloup retails for SGD9,888


Coffee has a rep. And it's a well-earned rep, especially in a society that practically reveres as something to kickstart the rest of the day. But you can give that dark brew a little more edge like alcohol. And one Australian company has run with that and made it their forte.

Mr Black—the brainchild of Philip Moore, one of Australia’s foremost distillers, and Tom Baker, coffee-fiend and designer—made its Singapore appearance at the 2019 Asia's 50 Best Bars awards ceremony. Bearing a range consisting of Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur and Coffee Amaro, it can be poured over ice and enjoyed during that morning meeting as you quietly sip with a cryptic smile on your face—some might say, a "shit-eating grin".

ESQUIRE: Do you find any correlation between your past industrial design work to what you do now?

TOM BAKER: Once a designer, always a designer. While my day-to-day job now is very different from what it was, the approach is the same: thinking, iteration, and craft. Our goal is to make products that both taste great and speak to people and their desires. That’s what being a designer is, and I still do that every day at Mr Black.

ESQ: What’s the trickiest part of the cold brew-making process?

TOM: Consistency. The production of Mr Black is as much a science as it is a craft. Our head of coffee has a PhD in Chemistry—we’re that serious about it. We’ve made over 1,400 individual batches of Mr Black now, and we have an encyclopaedic knowledge on the impact of coffee varietal, seasonality, roast, and ambient temperature to name just a few variables. All of this rigour is in service of creating an exceptional and consistent bottle of coffee liquor each and every time.

ESQ: There’s as much thought that goes into the packaging as well as with its contents.

TOM: The goal of our packaging is simple: reflect our religious worship of the miracle of coffee, and do justice to the craft and care that goes into the divine liquid inside each Mr Black bottle.

ESQ: Is there any botanical you want to marry with the coffee in the future that you’re unable
to do so now?

TOM: The biggest challenge we have is not with botanicals, but rather coffees. We’re always looking to explore the flavour of coffee through our spirits. By way of example, recently we’ve been working with naturally processed coffees which are subject to a light fermentation before processing. They make delicious hot brews, but their intricate flavour can be lost in a cold-brew technique. There are more isolated flavours in coffee than red wine—Mr Black’s goal is to take that world into the night.

ESQ: What is the worst thing you can do with a Mr Black cold brew or an Amaro?

TOM: People never believe me, but coffee genuinely works well in most drinks. It’s delicious with tonic, soda and ginger beer. With whiskey (to make a Cold Fashioned), it becomes boozy and nuanced. From a craft coffee cocktail before dinner to a neat Mr Black after, there is genuinely no right or wrong way to drink it. The worst thing people can do is not give it a try—Mr Black is truly delicious and has to be tried to be believed. Coffee works with everything—except fish. That’s a strange pairing—don’t do that!


ESQ: I don’t suppose the Mr Black line would have a decaf liqueur in the future? Or is decaf just anathema to the very idea of coffee?

TOM: Death before decaf! Mr Black has the perfect amount of caffeine in it. It’s low enough that it allows you to have one drink before bed without keeping you up all night. Equally, if you want to turn it up, have a few and you’ll start to experience the caffeine a little more.

Mr Black is available online

Originally posted on 6 June, 2019

The move to Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa marked a new milestone for Maduro. Formerly located at Dempsey, the move to the luxury resort on Sentosa Island aligns with Maduro’s vision. Keeping to its goal as a lifestyle destination, providing an unparalleled experience for whisky and music enthusiasts in the region.

The beautiful new venue is filled with globally sourced artwork. Curated by Maduro’s culture-loving founder Peter Ng, the pieces add to its eclectic interior. Guests may spot a Banksy or two when exploring their new space. It is a haven of the arts for patrons looking for a respite from the relentless buzz of city life.

Live Jazz Music

Since its opening, Maduro has managed to build an identity and brand with patrons and the community through the gift of music, cementing itself within the local live music scene. Live music is held on most Friday and Saturday evenings, and it sure does know how to attract a crowd. Music takes precedence at Maduro, whether it's classical music, contemporary, fusion, pop or jazz. Unlike in other bars, when the music starts playing, the crowd goes silent as they listen attentively. No one talks over the music.


(Editor: Look, we really wanna to highlight the negative effects of smoking. We don't endorse smoking but you're an adult with excellent reading comprehension so you can make your own decision, natch.)

With a special private room meant for cigar smoking, Maduro provides a wide selection of Cuban, Dominican and Nicaraguan blends. There is a 24-hour temperature and humidity-controlled walk-in humidor, creating a sublime smoking experience. Additionally, a cosy retail corner offers a range of Davidoff accessories including humidors, cases, cutters, and Maduro merch.


At the whisky bar, a key highlight is Maduro’s focus in sourcing non-mainstream labels for their bespoke whisky selection, presenting a curated range of premium whiskies from Independent Bottlers (IBs). Regular masterclasses and tasting sessions are organised to unpack these gems, where guests are taken on a sensorial journey of smell, taste and storytelling led by a whisky connoisseur. Unlike mainstream whiskies, IB whiskies are bottled at cask strength, displaying the full flavour of the barrel and elements of the environment they were produced in.

Exclusive bottles include: Cask of Distinction Lagavulin 200th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition Aged 15 years, Isabella’s Islay Aged 30 years, and Eidolon Port Ellen 1983 Aged 36 years Sherry Butt, to name a few. Besides whisky, Maduro offers a range of other beverages such as rum, cocktails, champagne and wines.

“We are excited to present these new and choice selections and experiences to our clientele, many of whom are our loyal regulars who have grown with us since our early beginnings,” said Ng. “We look forward to welcoming new guests to Maduro and hope that they too will find comfort, inspiration and joy in our space.”

Maduro is located at 2 Bukit Manis Rd, Singapore 099891 Lower Lobby of Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa

For its latest promotional effort, Martell has brought Hong Kong’s finest together: the iconic Tony Leung and the charismatic Eddie Peng. To celebrate the Martell Cordon Bleu and the Martell XXO, Leung and Peng appear in two films by Wing Shya and Ryan Hopkins.

The Shya-directed short film, featuring the Martell Cordon Bleu, sees Peng leading Leung in a chase over Parisian rooftops. The Hopkins-directed piece featuring the Martell XXO has the two men outrunning an avalanche as they snowboard down the snow-covered slopes.

Together, Tony Leung, a veteran actor and recent Lion d’Or recipient in Venice, and Eddie Peng, a sought-after lead in over 30 box-office hits, mirror the prestige of the two cognacs. And how fitting that these intergenerational titans of the acting world represents Martell’s enduring legacy.

While this isn’t the first time that Martell has dabbled in the world of cinema, it showcases the maison’s audacious spirit in elevating a sensorial journey—one that goes beyond the discerning palates into the untamed imaginations of cognac connoisseurs.

Brands do this all the time. Collaborate with a fellow renowned brand or commission a notable person of interest. Nonetheless, if the brief here is not so much novelty but an apt fit for the occasion: Johnnie Walker clearly understood the assignment.

When you see the work of Taiwanese-American artist James Jean, you can’t think of a better mind to conceptualise what the Year of the Dragon could look like as a Blue Label skin. The vibrant, sinewy, yet altogether modern aesthetic wraps around the bottle in a playful, textural imprint.

According to Jean, the natural motifs prevalent in his work takes on the form of flowers and organic tendrils. These floral traits evoke the idea of roots; a connection. These are the bridges between respect for the past and looking ahead to the future with hope.

Celebrated artist James Jean and his designed Johnnie Walker bottle

Plus, the most powerful creature in the Chinese Zodiac and the highest-grade whisky in the JW collection? Insert Epic Handshake meme. If you're familiar with the Blue Label, you'd know that the blend is made from unparalleled—a term not lightly used here—Johnnie Walker reserves of Scotch maturation.

How Many Makes the Cut?

Chiefly because only one in 10,000 make the cut. It's selected from 10 million casks; of which some irreplaceable ones are sourced from long-closed ‘ghost’ distilleries (Cambus, Pittyvaich, Brora, Port Ellen, for the whisky experts among you). A 12-strong blending team infuses these rarities from across all four regions of Scotland, and it’s these very complexities that the visual artist was inspired to interpret.

“There are hidden elements in the picture as well—layers to be discovered, just like the layers in this incredible whisky,” he says, “I want the viewer to peel back the layers and discover more about the image. I want my work to function from far away but reveal more details the more closely you explore the imagery.”

Now where better to witness it up close than in Depth of Blue Room. The brand’s first flagship bar in Southeast Asia sits at the Park Hyatt Bangkok penthouse. It enhances the launch experience with a multi-sensory tasting complete with dedicated cocktails, an immersive room and scented touches. It presented a truly extravagant, thematic dive into what makes Blue Label a big deal.

It’s far from the first time a brand has pulled out all the stops. But such a celebration is certainly a worthy altar for a release as limited edition as this.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label (James Jean edition) is out now.

Martina Bonci, Gucci Giardino 25's bar manager

As the birthplace of Renaissance art and culture, even after the rolling decades, Florence still retains its ancient beauty. The creative place is made livelier with the presence of Gucci Giardino 25, the latest addition to the Gucci House.

In a nod to the flower shop that used to occupy the spot and Gucci’s former CD’s favourite number, the venue embodies the House’s codes while luxuriating in Florence’s vivacity. From dawn till dusk, it offers an all-day menu created according to the ever-changing seasons and inspired by Tuscany’s verdant lands. But it is the cocktails that are the focus here. Bar manager of Gucci Giardino 25, Martina Bonci, hails from the picturesque Umbria. Having taken up the position during the pandemic, Bonci has steered the ship towards safe harbour buoyed by her signature cocktails. We pulled Bonci over for a quick chat about mixology and Gucci Giardino 25.

ESQUIRE SINGAPORE: We have yet to get to Gucci Giardino 25. What can we expect when we visit?

MARTINA BONCI: You’ll be welcomed by a young and smiley team. Expect to have a unique experience in a unique location. It’s not just about having a good cocktail but rather you’ll have an experience you will remember fondly.

ESQ: When people visit Gucci Giardino 25, what should they order?

MB: Our best seller Mémoire di Negroni, of course. It’s the first signature drink I’ve ever made, which also became a bottled drink. I’d recommend the Mémoire di Negroni if they like a ‘dry’ drink. Or if they prefer a sour, [I can point to the] Chi si Ferma è Perduto, which is a twist on Margarita with tequila mint bergamot and spirulina salt.

The signature Mémoire di Negroni

ESQ: How did the Mémoire di Negroni come to be?

MB: I had just joined the Gucci Giardino 25 team. The bar was about to open and I was so nervous and so excited at the same time. I was walking the streets of Florence and I saw a shop selling Fiorentina (the Associazione Calcio Firenze Fiorentina, Florence’s football team) T-shirt merch in its official colour: purple. That’s where I got the inspiration. And since Negroni started in Florence as well, the drink is also a tribute to the city.

ESQ: I’m curious, what was your first drink?

MB: Long Island Iced Tea. It was a bit of a shock, tasting it, to say the least! At the time, I expected it to be more of a tea than an actual alcoholic drink. But I still have it from time to time when I want to have something less “nerdy” than my usual orders.

ESQ: Do you think that there can ever be a “terrible drink”?

MB: One thing I love about mixology is that there’s no such thing as “bad for everyone” or “good for everyone”. There may be some technical errors in [making] a drink, but ultimately, it all boils down to what you’d like to drink. 

Baccarat and MO BAR join forces to create an enchanting celebration for the Year of the Dragon. The partnership, a highlight of Baccarat's Cocktail World Tour, unfolds at MO BAR. Patrons will have an exclusive experience with dragon-inspired cocktails. MO BAR Singapore presents four signature cocktails as part of the "Ripples of Pleasure" collection. Each cocktail is a manifestation of the "joie à vivre," an ode to finding delight in life's little pleasures, symbolised by the elegance of crystal glassware. The cocktails will, of course, be served in Baccarat’s dazzling crystal barware. 

First on the list, the "Blue Manhattan" pays homage to classic New York City vibes, blending Johnnie Walker Blue Label with the oaky finish of Hinoki Bitters.

Next, the "Walker Sour" challenges the line between dessert and cocktail, featuring Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Bourbon Oak Barrel Syrup, and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream in the elegant Baccarat Narcisse Coupe. 

Meanwhile, the "Disaronno Expectations" in Baccarat Harmonie Highball unveils a tropical-meets-smoky fusion with mezcal, Disaronno Amaretto and Verjuice.

Closing the quartet is the "Insomniac" in Baccarat Beluga Tumbler, awakening the senses with Osmanthus Aged Rum, Mr. Black Coffee, and Coconut Water— a cool, sunrise-ready concoction.

Indulge in the artistry of Baccarat's "Ripples of Pleasure" cocktails and savour the harmonious fusion of crystal and creativity at MO BAR. Priced at SGD38++ each, these cocktails will be available until 29 February 2024. The Baccarat collection is also available at its two boutiques, the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Takashimaya Department Store B1.

We don't give rum a fair shake as we do with whisk(e)y. Wade a little further into the world of rum and you'll be surprised—and entranced—by a multitude of flavour profiles. One of the shining stars of this industry is Neisson, overseen by master distiller Grégory Vervant. The man was in town for Whisky Live to reveal a limited edition rum that is destined to redefine the idea of indulgence.

Dating back to 1932, the storied Martinique distillery has been a hotbed of innovation transcending across three generations. Neisson's output of the organic Martinique rum in 2016 was a pivotal milestone. The distillery was also instrumental in popularising brut de colonne rums by pioneering experimental ageing techniques.

Before WhiskyLive, Vervant held a dinner at Restaurant JAG for a first look at the company's latest endeavour: Zetwal (Creole for "star"). Inspired by t h e celestial bodies charted by seafarers of yore; it pays homage to the Neisson family's maritime heritage. Imagine the Neisson merchant vessel, traversing the oceans—this imagery is found as the company's logo.

The Profile

Using a blend of agricole rhum (2000, 2005, 2012 and 2013 vintages), it's distilled in a Savalle Creole still that was installed in 1952. It has an aromatic depth with notes of exotic fruits and chocolate. On the palate, you get a wonderful citrus welcome. That lays the path for a caramel middle before that long finish of honey.

The liquid is contained within a crystal flask made by artisans at Vista Allegre. The box that it comes in teases other future releases. Etched on the lid is Polaris, the pole star, which guides the way for forthcoming expressions.

Zetwal debuts at EUR1,990 in Europe. At the time of writing, a Singapore pricing wasn't provided by La Maison du Whisky, the local distributor of Neisson. But interested parties can reach out to for further details.