Bar Review: Hopscotch at Red Dot Traffic Building, Tanjong Pagar

Looking for unique cocktails in the CBD? Taste creative Singapore-inspired concoctions at this laid back, industrial-themed bar by bartending group Mixes From Mars

Sure, there are times when you want to stick to the comfortable classics, like an Old Fashioned or a Martini (just so we can say “shaken, not stirred”), but the world of mixology is so much more than that! Just for a night, what say you toss aside that IBA Cocktail handbook and try something a little out of the ordinary?

Enter Hopscotch, a cosy industrial chic bar brought to being by the craft cocktail gurus at Mixes From Mars. Step in, and you’ll be greeted by a hodgepodge selection of old school accoutrements and friendly staff. Holding court behind the bar are mixology mavens, Joel Ne Win and Jaslynn Looi, the creative driving force behind Hopscotch’s creative concoctions. Expect cocktails that reference nostalgia in spades. Think drinks inspired by local fare like ice kachang (shaved ice) and Horlicks. Now if their cocktails are anything like the décor (we might have gotten a little too distracted by the foosball table), we’d be in for a quite a treat.

We started off the tasting with what was perhaps one of the strangest offerings on the menu, the Thyme Me Up & Pep Me Down. The cocktail, a rendition of the classic Martini, was a decidedly savoury interpretation; the gin backbone of the drink is infused with fresh shiitake mushrooms. But if the thought of alcoholic cream of mushroom soup puts you off, don’t worry; the mushrooms add just enough earthiness without making the drink taste muddy. Noilly Prat provides the vermouth element and minced garlic, while Bigalet Thym and cracked peppercorns add a unique bit of spice and flavour to this unusual drink.

The Jewel of Maxwell is presented in a flacon reminiscent of perfume bottles

By now, we were looking forward to something a little sweeter, and Hopscotch delivered in the form of the Liu Sha Jiu (salted egg yolk) cocktail. If you’ve read our round up on all that is salted egg, you know we’re pretty big on this creamy, sweet-salty concoction, so we were delighted when we were presented our drink. The cocktail came served in a standard Martini glass, but was supplemented with a little paper bowl filled with cream cheese, cookie bits and… caviar. The included side dish was as strange as it was delicious. The occasional sphere of caviar would burst, cutting through the creamy cheese and the cookie dough to lend a salty element. The drink itself is thick, creamy, but never felt cloyingly sweet or heavy. Bols Advocaat and butter-infused Plantation Original Dark Rum come together to create a drink strongly reminiscent of eggnog. Christmas definitely felt like it came early!

The creativity isn’t limited to just cocktail offerings. Hold the tequila shots, and instead opt for a couple of rounds of the ondeh-ondeh shot – Hopscotch’s boozy rendition of the sweet Malay kueh. It tastes exactly like liquid ondeh-ondeh, and comes served in a shot glass lined with coconut shavings, just like the real rice cake. Prefer another local sweet treat? Opt for the bright pink bandung shots instead.

The comic-like menu and the selection of wacky cocktails are proof enough of the bar’s carefree, unpretentious approach to mixology. What we like most about Hopscotch is that they revel in being creative with their drinks, completely unbound by any preconceptions of what a classic drink should be. And after all, if they’re having this much fun behind the counter, you can be pretty sure you’ll have just a good time sipping on their unique concoctions.

Hopscotch, 28 Maxwell Road, #01-04 Red Dot Traffic Building, Singapore 069120. p. 6327 4820. Open daily 4pm-1am.

Written By:
Dinesh Ajith

Published on:
The Honey Combers

Date of publication:
24th February 2016

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