A first for Asia

We've said it before and we'll say it again—Singapore’s cocktail scene has evolved tremendously over the years. We've cemented our place as one of the world's cocktail capitals, seeing how 13 of our very own bars made last year's Asia's 50 Best Bars list (and 12 this year), with Regent Hotel’s Manhattan taking top suds not once, but twice. It’s no surprise then that more and more craft spirit distilleries like Arbikie are looking to Singapore to break into the Asian market.

What makes this independently owned Scottish distillery stand out is that the family running the business on the Arbikie Highland Estate has been farming produce like potato, rye, barley and wheat for four generations. It’s a huge advantage for them because they know exactly the characteristics of the ingredients going into their artisanal spirits, since they’re there right from the start, growing and harvesting for distillation, to bottling and labeling the final product.

For now, they’re bringing in three very different spirits to Singapore, though Karthik Narayan, CEO and co-founder of Bula Global Trade, the distributor of Arbikie globally, has mentioned that they’re hoping to bring in the full shebang by the end of the year. Easily our favorite, is the Arbikie Chilli Vodka. On its own, the spirit has an intense earthy and smoky flavor that whittles down your throat; definitely not for anyone who prefers lighter spirits. True to their farm-to-bottle spirit, they use chipotle chillis from Scotland's first chilli farm, Chillilicious. 

The other two that will be made readily available are Kirsty’s Gin, which uses local botanicals chosen by master distiller Kirsty Black such as sea kelp for an added savory element to it, and AK’s Gin, made using fresh honey and wheat from the estate itself and combined with black pepper, mace and cardamom. 

These bottles are not readily available for purchase yet—Narayan said they’re currently in talks with DFS to put them on the shelves soon. But you can find them at very select venues such as Artemis Grill, The Brightside, Commas and Smoke & Mirrors (this list is still expanding as we speak).