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THE BAR scene has been fizzing up this month — and will keep fizzing the next — as bars collaborate with special bartenders for one-night-only cocktails.
On Aug. 9, Don Papa Rum brought together the original Tres Papas, which includes David Ong, Cedric Mendoza, and Joma Rivera. They first got together in Singapore back in 2017 but were back in Poblacion’s OTO this month for Tres Papas: Homecoming.
Mr. Ong is the co-founder and managing partner of The Curator Coffee & Cocktails, currently ranked No. 34 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars. He is also co-founder and managing partner of other coffee and cocktail concepts in Manila such as OTO, EDSA Beverage Design Group, #YKWRoasters at The Grid, and PourHouse Hospitality. Mr. Mendoza had been the head bartender at Manhattan Bar, helping keep the bar at the No. 1 slot for two consecutive years on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars lists in 2017 and 2018, and helping it climb to No. 3 on the World’s 50 Best Bars 2018. He is now a managing partner of Pourhouse Hospitality and ReCraft. Mr. Rivera is the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year in 2014 – Philippines, the Campari Bartender Competition Asia – 2018 Singapore Champion, and the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2020 – Singapore Champion. He is currently bar manager at Kafe UTU and Tamba in Singapore.
One of Mr. Ong’s cocktails is called “Enriquez,” the name of the street OTO is on. This recipe is a riff on one of their original signature cocktails, modeled after a childhood favorite frozen treat, Twin Popsies, made with tablea-infused Don Papa Rum, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and sugar.
Mr. Mendoza created a cocktail named “Dong Papa,” playfully named after Mr. Ong’s industry nickname, “Dong.” It is a nutty riff on the classic daquiri. Hazelnut and spiced syrup bring out the caramel notes and vibrancy in Don Papa Masskara. This was delivered to this writer’s home, and it tasted suave and sophisticated, like a cocktail from a period film. It gets some depth from some Islay, and a hazelnut ending note leaves the mouth feeling wholesome.
Finally, Mr. Rivera created the cocktail called “Hey-A-Ron,” a tribute to Don Papa Rum’s Global Brand Ambassador, Aaron Goodall. Inspired by a drink from Australia (one part of Mr. Goodall’s heritage), this highball-style drink mixes fresh granny smith apple, manuka honey, and bee pollen. This was also delivered to this writer’s home, and it distilled the suggestion of an apple waiting to be bitten into.
There are two more Tres Papas guest shifts coming this September, to be announced on Don Papa’s Instagram, @donpaparum.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is bringing some of Singapore’s most well-known bars to Makati’s Poblacion. While the first leg already began last week, the second leg on Aug. 24 to 26 is set to make mouths water. The guest bar’s drinks will be served from 8 to 11 p.m.
At The Spirits Library, they’re bringing cocktails from Sago House. Sago House is 51st among The World’s Best Bars 2023, 10th among Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2023, and bagged the 2023 Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award — a special award given to bars with memorable hospitality experiences. Opened during the 2020 lockdown in Singapore by three industry veterans, Sago House is a cocktail bar for those with adventurous tastes. The Spirits Library is in Guerrero St. in Poblacion.
Over at OTO, The Tippling Club will be pouring. Recognized for its innovative and progressive cuisine and cocktails since it first opened in 2008, Tippling Club is currently rated 63rd among Asia’s Best Bars 2023. Occupying three massive shophouses in Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar district, Tippling Club is a boundary-pushing gastro-cocktail destination where chef-owner Ryan Clift brings a touch of theater to the dining and drinking experience. Oto is in Enriquez St. in Poblacion.
Run Rabbit Run will be hosting Night Hawk, a bar inspired by Edward Hopper’s painting, Nighthawks. The retro-futuristic speakeasy was named as Campari’s One to Watch and currently holds the 73rd spot among Asia’s Best Bars 2023 list. Their cocktail menu features signature cocktails such as the Night Hawks (of course), combining cold coffee infused with rum, vodka, and amaro, with coconut and palm sugar foam. Run Rabbit Run is down P. Guanzon St.
Bar55 (on Matilde St.) will be the temporary home of Employees Only Singapore, currently 30th among Asia’s Best Bars 2023. Banter & Jive (on Don Pedro St.) is hosting No. 64 on Asia’s 100 Best Bars list this year, The Elephant Room, while Buccaneers Rum & Kitchen (also down Don Pedro St.) will host Papa Doble.
Ruby Liu, STB Philippines Area Director said in a statement, “With the recognition and accolades Singapore’s bars have received both in the country and abroad, Singapore can truly claim to be a world-class nightlife destination. STB is excited to bring a diverse lineup of world-class Singapore bars to Manila. With SingaPob, we can’t wait for Filipinos to discover the creativity and diversity of Singapore’s cocktail scene and we hope to welcome them to Singapore in search of more unique dining and cocktail adventures.” — Joseph L. Garcia