I've being talking lots about taking advantage of the beautiful fruits we stumble upon haven't I? Only because I love how seasons bring about different produce and being located right in the centre of the globe, it's sometimes real nice to be able to obtain summer fruits from down under when it's winter in the states or Europe, and vice versa.
So, pomegranates/grenadines. I found some ruby red ones that were incredibly sweet and juicy it was just gorgeous! I could sprinkle it over my breakfast yoghurt-granola bowl or juice it with other fruits and have it as a breakfast smoothie except I'm not so much of a healthy clean eating person. Just occasionally when I feel like I've consumed too much guilty pleasures.
But drinks. Cocktails. Grendines are stunning in beverages. It's refreshing, and adds flavour and a real pretty colour to it. And it's Christmas!! It's all about the drunken fruit cakes, minced pies and booze.
Since I decided on doing several christmas cocktails for you readers out there, I thought I'd seek out some more experienced and practiced hands on the art of bartendering. I don't have bar tools or ice at home anyway so I figured I'd head over to this lovely artisanal bespoke cocktail bar called Bitters & Love, who's team so graciously allowed me to do this for my blog. Run by owner-barkeeper Din Hassan, this bar space tucked away at a back of a café in Clarke Quay is well worth visiting. If that is not enough to convince you, perhaps the following photos might.
The bar is not my forté for sure. But I have done it once upon a time in my lifetime and it was a great learning experience for me. I came out with some knowledge on cocktail mixing (because I literally had none before Bar Stories), but more importantly I made some amazing and wonderful friends who are spontaneous, always willing to teach, lovable and absolutely hilarious you know you can count on them to make you happy. It is part of their jobs after all; interacting and forming bonds with people they hardly ever know to concoct a cocktail suited just for them which indirectly translates to happiness.
Based on my experience, bartendering isn't a piece of cake. It requires a good palate, creativity, speed and an especially good public relations skill. Try talking to people from all different walks of life and country who enter your bar; I don't think I would excel at it.
Bars impress me somehow. I love how their entire range of pretty alcohols bottles are displayed on shelves or hung on the ceilings. Let's not forgot all that beautiful glassware and fresh fruits they have.
I lugged my two pomegranates over to the bar and we started off with a stunning pomegranate syrup. Why? Because it's a good base for anything! Cocktails aside, it could be used as a sweetener for pastries or if you're into clean eating stuff, granola, yoghurt etc.
Because it's Christmas season and I wanted several cocktails in line with it, the crew (or rather Steeeeeeeve) of Bitters & Love decided on a christmas classic but with a twist. It's never ordinary or plain jane over here. It was a Spiced (Homemade Cinnamon + Orange syrup) Grenadine Egg Nog and if I may say so myself, I was so smitten that I think I might just make it for myself again this 25th of December! The flavours were absolutely fantastic and so well balanced that I could taste every single component of it; from the cinnamon, to the slight hints of orange, the mild refreshing taste of the grenadine as well as the cognac. It was perfection to me. But then again I haven't tried lots of cocktails in my life but so far, mmhmm yum.
As for the second drink, it was a light and refreshing Christmas drink incorporating gin, grenadine syrup, vanilla syrup, lemon and egg white. If you come from a family who's always too full after every christmas meal, this might just be the cocktail for you! Steve didn't know what to call this. He's always had trouble naming his drinks.
Spiced Cinnamon + Orange Grenadine Egg Nog
Steve's nameless but real pretty Grenadine Christmas Cocktail
I was lucky enough to be the guinea pig as these cocktails were divine. I have to say I was stuffed and my stomach was slightly ablaze. I guess I'm not a cocktails in broad daylight kind of girl.
What I love about Bitters & Love is their simplicity. They understand the fundamentals well and from there elevate it using their creativity and amazing palate. They don't over complicate their drinks but yet it still tastes incredible. Wonderful thing about coming here is Steve always knows what I like and don't like. I guess it's safe to say he's made me loads of drinks before. Most of the time they're mocktails cause I'm a loser like that. If it's a cocktail, he knows I don't like it too strong. And if I happen to dislike the drink (which is quite rare), his itchy hands has to keep making one till I get a drink I really like or he won't be able to sleep at night.
It's always nice to see such dedication and passion others have for their works. It is true to say that the entire team at Bitters & Love are like this too and whichever bartender you get, you won't expect any less from them.
I am a sucker for frosted tins and glasses.
Give these Christmas cocktails a go and you'll understand what I mean when I say they're remarkable. Straight from creative minds of the bartenders at Bitters & Love, the recipes for your drinks this 25th.
And if you're one who loves cocktails and would like to have one specially crafted to your liking, head on down to this little hideout at Clarke Quay. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Bitters & Love
36 North Canal Road
+65 6438 1836
Mondays - Thursdays, 6pm - 12am
Fridays & Saturdays, 4pm - 2am
Simple Grenadine Syrup:
Juice of Grenadine/Pomegranate
Juice your grenadines using a juice presser. Alternatively, place it into a cheese cloth and juice using your hands, reserving the liquid and discarding the little seeds.
With the amount of juice yielded, add equal part of sugar to it and stir till dissolved. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Steve's Cinnamon-Orange Syrup:
sugar - 300g
water - 300g
cinnamon sticks - 3 no.
orange peel - the peel of 1 whole orange
Combine the sugar, water and cinnamon sticks and bring to a gentle boil and cook till all the sugar has dissolved. Add in your orange peel and leave to infuse. Strain out and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Spiced Cinnamon + Orange Grenadine Egg Nog:
whole egg - 1 no.
cognac - 45ml
grenadine syrup - 15ml
cinnamon orange syrup - 30ml
In a mixing glass, combine all the ingredients. Top it up with cubed ice and secure it with a metal shaker tin. Shake for about 10-15 seconds. Using a hawthorne strainer, strain it into a chilled glass. Garnish it however you'd like and serve immediately.
Steve's Refreshing Grenadine Christmas Cocktail:
gin - 45ml
grenadine syrup - 30ml
lemon juice - juice of 1/2 a lemon
vanilla liqueur - 15ml
egg white - 22ml
angostura bitters - 2 dashes
In a mixing glass, combine all the ingredients except the nutmeg. Top it up with cubed ice and secure it with a metal shaker tin. Shake for about 15 seconds. Using a hawthorne strainer and regular strainer, double strain it into a chilled glass. Garnish it, sprinkle some nutmeg on top and serve immediately.