Pre-prandials

Posted on October 9, 2006 by Aun

In addition to being a total pig when it comes to good food, I’m also a bit of a lush. Long-time readers will already know about my love for good, well-made cocktails.

I’m a huge fan of starting an evening, before one eats, with a drink. Traditionally, an aperitif serves a couple of functions. First, it’s a really fun and festive precursor to a great meal. A cool cocktail or even just a really lovely glass of vintage Champagne adds that extra bit of oomph or pizazz to the evening’s undertakings. It also allows a host or a restaurant to show off a bit. Creating something exciting, innovative, and delicious hints at more tantalizing gustatory treats to come. Take for example one of the signature aperitifs from Tabla in New York City. Called the “Ginger Citrus Snap”, this cool concoction is a mixture of Stoly orange vodka and ginger eau de vie, which is then topped up with Billecart-Salmon Champagne. When served, a small helping of pomegranate seeds is deposited into the drink. As the bubbles collect around the seeds, they float up. Then as the bubbles fall away, the seeds sink. Some customers have likened it to an alcoholic, edible lava lamp.

Secondly, some pre-dinner drinks can open up one’s palate and stimulate digestion. Traditionally, an aperitif was made only with herb-infused wine-based products like vermouth, Lillet, Dubonnet, St. Raphael and Byrrh. Also, to properly stimulate your appetite, your drink should have a tinge of bitterness coupled with a touch of sweetness, to make it palatable.

Of course, I’m not one to argue whether a good cocktail is or really isn’t a proper “aperitif”. It if tastes good, pour me a double.

My current favourite cocktail is the Alberto #1, named after and created by Alberto Alonso, who spent 40 years working behind the bar at the famous but now closed restaurant La Caravelle. It’s a great but sneaky drink. It tastes deceptively light and refreshing. It’s very easy to drink. You could easily throw back 2 or 3 of these in a row very quickly. But it’s actually pretty strong. I once made the mistake of pouring a few too many of these for a good friend at the start of a dinner party my wife S and I were hosting. By the second course of our meal, he had stopped making sense, slurring and rambling on unintelligibly.

To make one, you will need fresh lime juice, mint, sugar syrup, vodka, and Champagne. Muddle the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add some lime juice, vodka, syrup and ice. (How much vodka, lime juice and sugar syrup should be up to you, to taste.) Shake and then strain into a large Champagne glass. Top with the Champagne.

I’ve very happily been able to convince the amazing bartenders at one of my favourite bars, Coffee Bar K, how to make this delicious drink. Yamato-san (pictured above), in particular, makes it supremely well. And if that wasn’t enough, he and his colleagues have come up with their own variation (which uses mojito syrup and Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label), which they and I have dubbed The Titanium. You simply have got to go try and try one.

Two other places I enjoy throwing back a liquid pre-prandial are Mint Bar, at Graze, and the lounge bar in il Lido. It’s always useful when a good restaurant also has a good bar. It means that you can enjoy a couple drinks then walk directly to your dining table. Call me lazy, but I hate going to a bar that’s more than a 5 minute walk from the restaurant I’m eating in after. If it requires a car ride, then I get really huffy.

Both Mint and il Lido’s lounge bar are sleek, sexy places to cool your Jimmy Choos and quench your thirst. Best of all, the drinks are well-crafted and always served chilled.

So, what’s your favourite cocktail recipe? Please, please, please leave yours in my comments so we can all try it out. Cheers!

Coffee Bar K, 205 River Valley Road, #01-076 UE Square, Singapore, Tel: 6720 5040
Mint, 4 Rochester Park, Singapore, Tel: 6775 9000
il Lido, Sentosa Golf Club,Bukit Manis Road, Singapore, Tel: 68661977

OCBC cardmember offers:

Mint Bar (at Graze)
25% off for cocktails and house pours 6.30pm to 9pm.
From now until 6 April 2007.

il Lido lounge bar
1-for-1 housepours by glass and 10% off on all other beverages including bottles.
From now until 6 April 2007.

Coffee Bar K
Order the Titanium cocktail at the special price of $20 (the normal price for a champagne cocktail is $28).
Additionally, you get a 20% discount on housepour whisky, spirits(vodka/rum/gin) and wine, plus a 20% discount on the following: GLENFIDDICH Solera Reserve 15 years old; GLENFIDDICH Ancient reserve 18 years old; and GLENFIDDICH 30 years old. Additionally, the $15 cover charge will be waived from 6pm to 9pm.
From now until 31 December 2006.

Promotion is subject to Service Charge, prevailing Government Taxes and GST. General Terms & Conditions for all Dining Privileges apply. These promotions are valid every day except eve of and on public holidays. For more details, visit www.ocbc.com.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Esther October 9, 2006 at 1:40 am

    I was just at Coffee Bar K this evening, but we had a (make that several) Macallan on the rocks. They do have very pretty ice spheres :)

    That gem of a bar is what a bar really should be like.

  2. Anonymous October 9, 2006 at 3:01 am

    Hi CH. It is unrelated to this post, but I saw on Channel NewsAsia that you had cooked a dish for the presenter.

    Can you tell us how you cooked that pasta dish with small prawns?

  3. Chubby Hubby October 9, 2006 at 8:57 am

    Esther: I totally agree.

    Anonymous: I have, in fact, previously posted the recipe. Please go to the link here.

  4. Anonymous October 9, 2006 at 11:12 am

    OOO Chubby Hubby I am a huge fan of your nice blog :)

    I would like to share my personal favouriate drink i made myself:

    1 teaspoon malibu
    1 shot barcadi
    1/2 a crushed lime
    2 squashed lychees
    Mix with ice and shake well,

    Then add into a tall glass with soda/7up.

    Blanc

  5. Brendon October 9, 2006 at 11:12 am

    Favorite drink? Mixed, non-mixed, I don’t care. Nice glass of red wine. Maybe I’m too boring. But, hey, that’s what I like.
    (By the way, I really enjoy your writing.)

  6. melissabee October 9, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    Hey chubby hubby, I must say your last few photos are very engaging. Love them, and I bet they taste as yummy as they look.

  7. Anonymous October 9, 2006 at 11:27 pm

    This is not very relevant, but are these new card promos only for the OCBC Titanium, or also for the OCBC Platinum?

    At the start it seemed to be only the Titanium had the promos. Please make OCBC extend the promos to both cards…

  8. Chubby Hubby October 9, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Anonymous: The promos are for all OCBC cards.

  9. Anonymous October 10, 2006 at 4:09 am

    Hi CH!
    I’m an aspiring bartender, and I’ve been making up my own drinks for a few months now. However, I haven’t really had a chance to experiment properly with my recipes yet as I am a poor university student and buying textbooks beats adding to my booze supply.
    That said, I don’t think any of my creations could top my dad’s favorite, classic cocktail. He’s passed on this love to me, and I’ve introduced to all my girlfriens, who coo over it. It is the Fuzzy Navel, which, in its best form, is simply orange juice and peach schnapps, mixed to taste, on the rocks. Some people insist on adding vodka, but I think the taste of vodka spoils the sweet tropical feel of this drink. You can add garnishes of oranges and maraschino cherries if you’re so inclined. I associate this drink with my dad since it’s pretty much the only thing he’ll drink, so I think of it in a solid, masculine glass, sans garnish. Happy boozing!

  10. krista October 10, 2006 at 6:08 am

    Chubby Hubby great photos as always!

  11. onetomato October 10, 2006 at 11:13 am

    my favorite drinks change with my many moods. i’m always down for a good margarita but i just discovered this one tinkering around in my kitchen.
    2 part fresh pomegranate juice
    1 part vodka
    1 part sake
    shake and serve in a martini glass. also deceptively strong. but that’s how i like ‘em. :)

  12. gobsmack'd October 11, 2006 at 4:12 am

    Damn! Onetomato beat me to it! I was just going to suggest the Pomegranate Martini at Lotus (Sydney) as my fave cocktail! The perfume is just subliminal.

  13. Andrea October 11, 2006 at 10:10 am

    I have 4 favorites cocktail, which in reality are 3 + 1, which I order depending on my mood:
    Caipirinha and its cousin Caipiroska
    Mojito
    Margarita

    Unfortunately since I moved to Singapore I find impossible to drink a well done cocktail: because most of the times the bartender is unable to do it properly, he has to use mediocre ingredients and he pours too little alcohol in the drink. Because of this I’m always resorting to a simple vodka and tonic.

    Said this, I’m looking forward to try the Coffee Bar K where I hope I will be able to enjoy a well made cocktail.

  14. expat@large October 13, 2006 at 2:34 am

    Luv this blog – Singapore is fast becoming the Chub Hub of Asia!

    The perfect pre-prandial is of course a good martini.

    And all martini drinkers MUST read Frank Moorhouse’s book Martini: A Memoir.

    I picked it up for $6 in a bargain book-sale in HFC. A full pouring of wonderfully aromatical ancedotes, philosophical, botanical, literary and historical, with a dash of acerbic advice for what to think about when drinking martinis, stirred with as many acute observations and wry and wise comments on human nature. A tart munchable gem, like a ripe green olive.

    Example:
    Q – Why have a toothpick in a Martini?
    A – To give the drink AN AXIS!

    What other drink requires such geometry? How can any other drink compete?

  15. Medini October 14, 2006 at 7:37 pm

    Loved your article about cocktails. I am a “colorful” cocktail lover too. My cousin makes cocktails at parties to match the color of the “sari” that the lady is wearing.

    BTW, your pictures inspired me to buy the Nikon Ds70. Thank you for sharing. I love your blog as I am a foodie too. And your writing is exeptional. Bravo ! Its a pleasure visiting !

  16. sandra August 6, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Hello,
    This is soo yesterday but better late than never! My fav is the Toblerone Cocktail, i believe its only famous in Australia.

    1 shot baileys
    1 shot kahlua
    1 shot frangelico
    2 tsp honey
    60ml cream

    Blend it all and pour into a chocolate drizzled glass. A decadent drink :) Hope you like it!

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