What makes the signature Hanumartini from Siam Kempinski so special? And what’s the exact honey that transforms Rosewood Hong Kong’s Bee’s Knees cocktail into liquid magic? All these secrets and more are revealed here, by some of the top bartenders and hotels in Asia. Read on to learn these famous hotel bar cocktails.
1. Million Dollar Cocktail from Writers Bar, Raffles Singapore
Everyone knows the world-renowned Singapore Sling, which was created in 1915 by Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Another heritage classic he concocted was the bittersweet Million Dollar Cocktail, which shot to fame when it was featured in short story The Letter by Somerset Maugham. Maugham was one of the many illustrious authors who resided at the historic Raffles Singapore.
I like that the Million Dollar cocktail is a heritage cocktail with a sense of literary history.”
Nicholas Alexander, Head Bartender of Writers Bar
- 30ml Raffles 1915 gin
- 10ml pineapple juice
- 15ml sweet vermouth
- 10ml grenadine
- 5ml gum arabic
- 15ml lemon juice
- 0.6ml angostura bitters
- 1 egg white
Add the above ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake very hard. Pour into a coupe glass.
2. Aaliya from Mr Stork, Andaz Singapore
Aaliya pays tribute to the toddy tappers of Sri Lanka who tirelessly shimmy up trees over 20 metres tall — while barefoot — to collect the coconut flower sap. This sap is then aged in a Halmilla cask to produce the spirit, also referred to as arrack. To highlight the charms of Sri Lanka, Aaliya is served in an elephant vessel and sports a vibrant garnish.
This cocktail is inspired by my homeland in Sri Lanka and is made using spices and flavours found in Sri Lankan’s dishes.”
Hasith Rathnayaka, Head Bartender of Mr Stork
- Ceylon Arrack
- Spiced pear
- Lemon mist
- Ginger beer
Combine all ingredients together and serve with crushed ice.
3. Plantation 1840 from The Bar at 15 Stamford, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore
Bar manager Edriane Lim created the hotel’s signature Plantation 1840 cocktail as a homage to Joseph Balestier, the first US consul who came to Singapore in the same year. Inspired by Balestier’s life — a farmer and a wine merchant by profession, Balestier planted sugarcane and pineapple — Edriane incorporated these elements into his creation. Fun fact: Balestier lived in the area where The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore now stands.
A good cocktail is always best enjoyed with a good friend, may it be at a bar or at home.”
Edriane Lim, Bar Manager of The Bar at 15 Stamford
- 60ml spiced rum
- 20ml sweet vermouth
- 15ml lemon juice
- 10ml sugar cane syrup
- 30ml fresh pineapple juice
Add all the ingredients into a shaker and shake with all your might. No straining is needed. Best enjoyed with lots of ice; garnish with a slice of pineapple and some mint for aroma.
Tip: Use a copper mug as it resembles how alcohol was consumed back in the day when glassware was not yet invented.
4. Bee’s Knees from DarkSide, Rosewood Hong Kong
Dating back to the Prohibition Era, the Bee’s Knees cocktail is a timeless classic that was once used to disguise the less-than-ideal smell and taste of the ubiquitous home-brewed “bathtub gin” of the time. A slang for “the best”, the Bee’s Knees exudes sophisticated simplicity. DarkSide serves one of the best versions of this statement tipple; the floral creation is one of the best-selling cocktails in 2019 from the bar’s first classic cocktail menu.
- 50 ml Barr Hill gin
- 25 ml fresh lemon juice
- 20 ml Barr Hill honey syrup (2 parts honey, 1 part water)
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker, then add the ice and shake well for 10 seconds. Double-strain into a coupe glass and garnish with lemon peel.
Tip: The freshness of your ingredients is key.
5. Hanumantini from Hanuman Bar, Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
Hanumantini is an ode to Kempinski’s “Ladies in Red”, the hotel’s brand ambassadors who walk the hotel grounds with poise and elegance. The best-selling cocktail was created by Supannee Petchkon, Hanuman Bar’s restaurant manager, when she first began her career at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. The Hanumantini is a dynamic dance of flavours, textures and aromas that reflects European flair with traditional Thai touches.
The Hanumantini is a hint of sweet and spicy that reflects modern-day feminism.”
Supannee Petchkon, restaurant manager of Hanuman Bar
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz strawberry liqueur
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz syrup
- Red capsicum (Dice into 5 2cm-wide cubes, leaving 1 slice with the green stalk as a garnish as pictured)
Crush the red capsicum in a mixer glass, add vodka, syrup, Cointreau, strawberry liqueur, fresh pineapple juice, and fresh lime juice consecutively. Shake well and strain into a chilled Martini glass.
Tip: Cointreau can be replaced with Triple Sec if preferred.
6. Firefly No.2 from Firefly Bar, Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
At Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok’s Firefly Bar, it’s de rigueur to sip on its eponymous drink, now in its second iteration. Described as bold yet fresh and fruity, the enhanced cocktail is even more complex and fruity, especially with the addition of passionfruit to reflect the nuances of Southeast Asia.
We always believe that people make a big difference in our bar. It’s not how good we are or how amazing and beautiful our place is, but most importantly, how good our guests feel about themselves after experiencing our Firefly Bar.”
Dicky Hartono, Bar Manager, Firefly Bar
- 50ml Earl Grey tea-infused Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky (infuse an Earl Grey teabag in 250ml of whisky overnight)
- 20ml fresh lemon juice
- 10ml simple syrup (equal parts white sugar and hot water, stir till all the sugar dissolves)
- One passionfruit (use half in drink, other half for garnish)
Shake ingredients vigorously with ice for 15 to 20 seconds till liquid is nicely emulsified. Strain into a whisky glass with ice and garnish.
Tip: If you don’t have whisky at home, you can replace it with brandy or cognac; lemon can be replaced with yuzu (do adjust as yuzu is more acidic).
7. The Chilli Padi Mary, Astor Bar, The St. Regis Singapore
Another international sensation is The Bloody Mary, first created in 1934 by barman Fernand Petiot at The St. Regis New York’s King Cole Bar. It was a curiosity to behold, an exquisite vodka-and-tomato juice cocktail that’s held its own for over eight decades and has remained the signature cocktail of the St. Regis brand. The Singapore rendition is The Chilli Padi Mary, which plays up the country’s Southeast Asian heritage with lemongrass, chilli padi and ginger for a distinct spiciness that reflects Singapore’s eclectic cuisine.
- 30ml premium vodka
- 1 piece lemongrass, about 2cm thick
- 1 slice fresh, mature ginger root
- 1⁄2 thinly-sliced chilli padi, seeds removed
- 1/8 tsp sugar syrup
- 90ml tomato juice
Muddle the vodka, lemongrass, ginger, chilli padi and sugar syrup together. Strain and pour into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add tomato juice, stir and serve.
There’s no better way to upgrade your cocktail repertoire than by learning from the experts. Our Cabana and Cocktails experience at Fairmont Singapore includes a cocktail-making masterclass at the famed Anti:dote bar, as well as access to a private cabana (3 hours), pool, spa, fitness centre and more!