If you love drinks with a local touch, you’ll find yourself perfectly at home at Hopscotch. Hidden within the confines of Red Dot Traffic Building, this cocktail bar by bartending solutions company. Mixes From Mars, is named after a childhood game close of our hearts (well mine, anyway).
Helmed by the ever-inventive Kino Soh – formerly of Bar Stories – and other members of the Mixes From Mars team, the cocktails experiment with ingredients familiar to the local palate and consequently, invoking a sense of nostalgia our Singaporean sensibilities embraced.
The Grape Gatsby
For instance, The Grape Gatsby ($23) is a mix of Smirnoff Vodka, Kyoho grape liqueur, Nigori sake, Bols yoghurt liqueur, citrus, and vanilla raised a memory of grape Yakult I looked forward to every other day when I was a lot younger. The combination doesn’t taste as saccharine as it sounds; in fact, it makes quite a refreshing, light drink to start the night.
For those who prefer a refreshing drink that doesn’t quite taste as boozy as it is, Spirit Floward ($25) is your go to. Think Hendricks Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Smirnoff Vodka, and Chrysanthemum-infused Cocchi (an aperitif wine) shaken together and served with a pipette of cucumber juice on the side for flavouring. Frankly, this didn’t really made an impression, with the heavier hitters on the way.
My favourite of the lot is the combination of osmanthus-infused Kakubin whisky with ginger honey and citrus, topped with a float of Lagavulin whisky. Served with a piece of osmanthus jelly on the side, the Osmanthus Penicillin ($23) is smoky, slightly sweet, and floral at the same time. Awesome.
Another cocktail dealing the nostalgia card is the Old Fashng ($21). A simple concoction of Benriach Single Malt Whisky, Sng Muay (sour plum) water, Drambuie; the sour plum candy frozen in the ice cube was the proverbial icing on the cake. I love sour plum and it gave me great pleasure to have my cocktail and eat it too!
The Monkey’s Paycheck
If you’re looking for dessert drinks, the search stops here. Consisting of Angostura Light Rum, vanilla, peanut butter, ice cream, milk, pink salt, The Monkey’s Paycheck ($23) is an extremely fine version of the alcoholic peanut butter milkshake. Not overly thick and creamy, this is one dessert we can certainly slurp up on our own.
That being said, Hopscotch had us at gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) – in their Ondeh Ondeh ($20 for four) shots, that is. Imagine the sweet, delicious filling in the kueh we know and love, with alcohol; ’nuff said.
Last tip – if you’re feeling hangry and want food with your cocktail, the bar crew are more than happy to ring up their favourite zi char joint, Old House for fried noodles and more.