Madame Fan Bar
Truly spirit-forward craft cocktail bar at The NCO Club
To stand out in Singapore’s saturated bar scene is no easy feat. At 40-seater Madame Fan Bar, a standalone extension of Cantonese restaurant Madame Fan, award-winning Head Mixologist Davide Boncimino has chosen to rise above the pack by diving deep into the meaning of craft behind craft cocktails, resulting in 13 mostly spirit-led signature drinks.
He creates his own liquors, garnishes and even ice cream that he uses in his concoctions, utilising techniques more often seen in a kitchen than a bar. This ain’t your usual infusions and reductions by the way (though there are some), but full-on cooking and baking work.
Take the Velveteen ($24), a stiff rum-based dessert cocktail made using a housemade gula melaka sorbet and served with a coconut wafer he makes in the adjoining restaurant’s pastry kitchen. Or the Moloko Royale ($24), where milk-washed vodka is given coffee, chocolate and nutty flavours through various methods, then topped with a meringue of Champagne foam for added layers of creaminess.
If the above drinks sound too sweet (they’re not), Mr. Jerez ($22) will sort you out nicely. This seemingly simple looking drink is sweet and savoury, and filled to the brim with depth thanks to the poignant use of lightly oaked rum and sherry. Get the Yu Cha ($26) too, that is not only on point thematically, but a genuinely complex take on the Martinez, introducing nuances taken from premium oolong tea, shiso-infused vermouth and a house salted whisky blend that separately warrants a mean Old Fashioned.
(Not) Classic PBJ
For more bite, go for the (Not) Classic PBJ ($28) that is served alongside a dim sum basket of chocolate-coated macadamia nuts. The drink itself, a play on the peanut butter and jelly sandwich staple, gets its sweetness from caramelised kumquat and savouriness from peanut butter fat-washed Glenfiddich 15, for a combo that is both familiar and foreign on the tongue all at once.
With drinks like these, this is a bar you come to to acknowledge subtleties in bold flavours, where you take note of shades of bitter, sweet, sour, salty and savoury as they dance on your palate ostentatiously.
Have a chat with the friendly mixologists while you’re there—a lot of prep work goes into the drinks, not unlike the adjacent restaurant (where you can order food from), and to recognize the craft behind each creation goes a long way in appreciating each potent sip.