Jigger & Pony
Craft cocktails stalwart nestled in the lobby of Amara Singapore
The hype: The eponymous mother bar of the Jigger & Pony Group now calls a corner lobby space of Amara Singapore home. For six years up until July 2018, Jigger & Pony’s shophouse on Amoy Street had kept the after-work crowd and cocktail connoisseurs alike happy. The pioneer of the craft cocktail scene here, with its relocation to central Tanjong Pagar, is now poised to grow to greater heights.
The vibe: Previously only seating 80, the new space is almost twice as big, being able to sit 140—there is a long communal table with high seats, plush recliners, alcoves and plenty of bar stools by the counter and also on the second floor terrace that’s perfect for people watching. Entering the place (you have to tap your palm on a device for the entrance to open), you’ll notice the bar area does closely resemble the Jigger & Pony of old. But look deeper inwards, up a short flight of stairs, and you’ll find a second bar counter and a roominess only enjoyed by the new venue.
The drinks: On the menu are 27 mostly new cocktails, all priced at $23. Leaf through their 38-page Monocle magazine-inspired booklet (which you can actually purchase for $18) and find detailed writings waxing lyrical about the drinks, the people behind the bar (such as a Q&A with new principal bartender Giovanni Graziadei) and even the neighborhood. If you’d rather get straight to it, just turn to the back cover and find the grid menu we’re all more familiar to seeing.
A standout new concoction has to be the Pinnacle, a Bulleit Bourbon-based drink mixed with peated Nanyang Coffee liqueur and a blend of fortified wines. It is complex, stiff, and the caffeine notes do not overpower the nose like most coffee cocktails do. The pickled lettuce garnish, the same kind we eat with porridge, is a quirky addition that surprisingly works well with the denseness of the drink.
If you’re looking for something lighter to start with, try the refreshing Tanqueray gin-based Java Cooler that comes with a rice cracker on top, the fun and easy-drinking vodka-based Woo Woo, or any of their sours. Then move on to one of their martinis. There’re many to choose from, but the Silk Martini stands out for it’s, well, silkiness and creamy mouthfeel.
Other than cocktails, there are wines (natural ones too), beers and ciders on the list, plus punch bowls ($230; 15-20 servings each) that emphasize the new space’s slight shift towards being more fun, less stuffy.
The food: A quick pull-out leaflet inserted into the menu will show you at a glance what’s available. Definitely first go for the canned Chicken Liver Custard ($18) and the Korean Steak Tartare ($22) that are perfect accompaniments to the cocktails, while a selection of charcuterie ($13-27) are always there as safe bets. Regulars will also be glad to know that they are still giving out bowlfuls of sinfully addictive tapioca chips to guests.
Why you’ll be back: There are many great cocktail bars in Singapore and more will undoubtedly open. But you’ll find that many of the barmen and mixologists who have ventured out to open their own bars have onced walked through Jigger & Pony’s doors. It’s the place where many budding local bartenders honed their skills, got good, and found their own style under the tutelage of seasoned veterans who still enjoy being behind the bar counter till this day.