Jigger & Pony’s 10th-anniversary Menu elucidates the mixological Diligence driving the best bar in Singapore
If mixology is an art, Jigger & Pony can be seen as Singapore’s pre-eminent gallery for fine cocktail arts. This institution is a cornerstone of Singapore bar history — many of today’s top bartenders can be traced back to the storied speciality bar.
To call Jigger & Pony the godfather of the Singapore cocktail scene is fitting. First opened in 2012, the bar has been one of the stalwarts driving the cocktail scene forward during its fledgling stages.
A relocation from Telok Ayer to neighbouring Tanjong Pagar in 2018 saw them find a new place to call home inside the Amara Hotel, in a much swankier and refined setting to match their signature bartending finesse.
It is that devotion to the highest standards that saw them climb the ranks of the World’s 50 Best Bars rankings with insane swiftness after their move.
Not resting on their laurels, the Jigger & Pony team then swiftly entered another R&D phase in preparation for an era-defining edition that served to mark a watershed occasion — the bar’s 10th anniversary.
There’s no mistaking the archetype of a bar that Jigger & Pony belongs to. It is unapologetically old-school Japanese —worshipping bartending precision and pristine hospitality— but repackaged with a sheen that befits Singapore’s modern glitz.
The reverence for classics and strictness is well-settled. No one doubts the immaculate training and bartenders’ aptitude for slinging out the most solid martinis.
Given how classic bartending is deeply entrenched in the bar’s identity, it’s also natural to find simple, unconfounding recountings of time-honoured recipes populating the pages of the new edition, titled “Identity”.
In fact, two of my favourite classics were brought over from the previous menu — the efficaciously punchy Negroni (S$28), crafted with a reworked ratio, and Old Fashioned ($28) which is a faithful adaptation crafted with bourbon, bitters, and demerara sugar.
That said, anybody’s reluctance to shell out S$28 for straightforward classics is naturally understandable, especially with items such as highballs. In that case, I think Jigger & Pony’s rejig of the Dirty Martini repays the pricetag more readily.
The Pony Martini (S$28) is textbook — elegantly chilled while emphatically sharp, with the balmy punch underscored by rounding trails of umami. More importantly, it’s easy to get lost in its accoutrement, a suite of olives distended with smoky miso mascarpone.
In the same vein, the food on Jigger & Pony’s menu is earnest but given refining touches. One good example is the Grilled Cheese Toastie (S$16), deliberately grounded in scope.
Delectably crunchy toast, an oozing cheese core, and the sumptuous perfume of truffle paste — a remarkable creature comfort when imbibing at the bar.
Another showstopper came in the form of its Chilli Mac & Cheese (S$18). Simple as can be but that inch-perfect mix of creamy richness and chilli sting created the most delightful guilty pleasure.
Future Forward Visions
In the past, adventurous palates may not have necessarily been soothed by the timeless classics the bar exultantly places on pedestals, as adroitly crafted as they are. However, part two of the “Identity” menu sees a venture out of the comfort zone with a slew of mesmerising future-forward flavours.
Not quite an identity crisis but more of a medium for self-discovery — these concoctions try to define the bar’s future in the scene as one of Singapore’s most respected classic bars.
One new drink that has received seemingly universal acclaim at Jigger & Pony is the Ugly Tomatoes (S$28), a distant relative of the Bloody Mary that actually betrays the semblance of the ubiquitous, but notoriously sordid, tomato-based classic.
Comprising “ugly” discarded tomatoes, this was a supremely clean drink that was devoted to the tomato’s flavours. It skews lightly floral while mostly overflowing with comforting tomato umami, though subtle spice notes lingered in the background and imbued a touch of spark.
If you’re insistent on a drink that feels foreign amidst Jigger & Pony’s elegant libations, then the Greatest of All Time (S$28) is an imperative order.
The core ingredient is rather surprising — it’s goat milk. Yet, this tipple beautifully works on the distinctly funky characteristics of goat milk, muddled inconspicuously into citrus, whiskey, and soda water. A spectacularly balanced drink, despite the highlight.
Let the Jigger Speak
As with any other bar, bespoke orders are also welcome. But this is one aspect that Jigger & Pony’s training might sacrifice, circumscribing the bartenders’ improvisational spontaneity in the pursuit of its desired form of perfection.
Virtually any classic can be ordered but there are exact directives on their preparation that the bartenders need to know by heart.
Hence, it’s rare to find much flair and recipe deviations when it comes to bespoke orders. Ramos lovers though would love how much creamy euphoria that underlying technical proficiency yields. As I experienced in Mezcal Ramos Fizz form.
Known as the maverick I am, I of course try to ask for entirely-new recipes from the bartenders. Sometimes, the sparks fly and certain curious concoctions are born.
Circumventing my general distaste toward coffee cocktails, I was charmed by bartender Daniel’s interesting amaretto shake-up of the Irish Coffee. One that was fragrant, slightly sweet, and supremely comforting.
There is obviously a long list of other memorable creations created on the fly by Jigger & Pony’s bartenders but their strength definitely lies in established recipes due to the attention to detail drilled into all the bar staff.
It’s those unyielding standards and gruelling training that gives Jigger & Pony the edge to retain the standing it enjoys in the bar scene today.
While the accolade of No. 2 Bar in Asia can be debatable according to personal preference, there is not a shadow of a doubt that the inimitable finesse and hospitality of Jigger & Pony earns them a deserved spot in the upper echelons of bars.
Sure, most barflies wouldn’t argue that it’s a wallet-friendly establishment but its standards are renowned. It’s a safe spot where you can depend on to never, ever, disappoint in terms of drink-making proficiency or service execution.
Make your reservations here.
Jigger & Pony
- Address: 165 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Amara Hotel, Singapore 088539
- Hours: (Tues–Wed, Sun) 6pm–12am, (Thurs–Sat) 6pm–2am
* This was an invited tasting.