A bit of history on my cocktail journey.
I frequented hotel bars, because at that time, those were the only places to get decent cocktails. Mezza9, Axis Bar, 10 Scotts, Bar on 5, Post Bar – these were my happy places. I drink pretty much everything except drinks with muddled cucumber, cherry liquor (it’s like cough syrup) and Lychee Martini. Vodka and lychee syrup, seriously? I just don’t think it does justice to the word ‘cocktail’.
Then I went in search of the best Mojito and found it at Post Bar. I believe Din Hassan was bar-tending there at that time, which explains why Post Bar had the best mojito. Other than that, my favourite cocktail was the Tokyo Iced Tea, which was introduced to me at a now defunct “bar” called Helipad. I loved that cocktail so much Darren & I actually made our own sweet & sour mix, just to shake up a glass of Tokyo Iced Tea. We were pretty much making our own cocktails at home because nothing outside excites us anymore.
Then in 2012, cocktail bars started popping outta nowhere in Singapore. Enter Jigger & Pony, and my perception of cocktails changed forever.
I actually bugged Darren to visit Jigger and Pony for almost a year until he relented. He just didn’t see the appeal of stepping into a cocktail bar anymore since we started making drinks at home.
This was the very first cocktail I ordered at Jigger & Pony. The Bitter Gimlet, made by Jing Heng. Of course I didn’t know his name at that time, but after a few more visits, chats, and the #LastChanceGary episode, Darren & I got to know him better.
That night while sipping on my cocktail and occasionally dipping the charred lime garnish into the magic gin concoction and sucking on it, I thought to myself this is the damn best cocktail I’ve ever tasted in so many years. Why haven’t I tasted something like that before?
Then Jing Heng asked, “do you like bitter cocktails?” I didn’t know what to answer, because I never knew one could describe a cocktail as bitter.
Anyway, I said yes, and added “I also like tequila.” (FYI you can go to Sugarhall for that.)
(Side note: Darren actually heard it as Real Courage. Hilarious!)
Jing Heng explained that he was flipping through a book and discovered this cocktail from the 1930s. He wanted to do some market research to see whether it could be accepted by the general public.
Darren gave the thumbs up and he’s been ordering it from Jing Heng ever since. Even after it got taken off the menu.
Jing Heng went on to explain that Jigger & Pony does classic cocktails and they want to bring these classics back so people living in the modern era could taste it again.
It was that night that we got introduced to classic cocktails, and it was magical.
Needless to say Jigger & Pony is still one of our favourite bars in Singapore.