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Smoke & Mirrors: An Adventure of Art, Illusion & Flavours

Nov 06 2019 - Blog

In the age of fancy drinks with thousands of flavours and fragrances out there, it's about time we stopped opting for the usual Martini at the bar counter. While we can’t go wrong with classic cocktails, wouldn’t it pique your interest to taste hints of miso, banana or even undertones of cedarwood in your drink? Hearing these interesting possibilities sparked our curiosity and if it did the same for you, come step into the imaginative world of Smoke & Mirrors filled with flavours, aromas, fun and complexity.


If you fancy open-air rooftop views of the city or night sky with a tipple in your hand, this is the perfect place for you. Immerse yourself in the unobstructed sweeping vista that takes you across iconic landmarks – The Padang, Esplanade, Marina Bay Sands – six stories above ground on the roof of the National Gallery Singapore.


The bar’s classy yet laid-back ambience is marked by natural woods and modern décor surrounding the counter; setting the mood with dimly lit interiors that perfectly accent the stunning night view before you.


The workstation captivates with a shelf full of neatly organised homemade ingredients and mixers produced by Jorge A. Conde, the head bartender of Smoke & Mirrors.

A creator with an immense passion for art and a curious spirit, his ingenious mind led him to tell stories through cocktails, each work uniquely inspired by things around him. For someone who’s always out to explore something new, you can say there’s endless possibilities of what could go in his drinks. The best ideas spark simply – a song, an ingredient, people, feelings, smell or even an illusion.


Welcome Drink

Behind the amazing showmanship at the counter lies hard work; in his secret lab at the back of the bar, Jorge explores and utilises techniques such as distillation, fermentation, infusion and preservation to create new flavours. Smoke & Mirrors is one of the few bars in Singapore that batches their spirits through the Solera System, a process commonly used for wines and beer to develop steady and consistent flavours every month. With each batch comes a better blended quality supply produced, aged and stored in glasses meant to preserve its freshness.


From unconventional distillations, droplets, sprays, soleras to a range of mad concoctions, you’ll notice that in place of traditional written labels, bottles here are identified by hand-drawn street art style letters and icon doodles that represent their flavour profile.

Proudly helmed by Jorge, the recently launched cocktail menu titled Illusion of Flavours stays true to the identity of Smoke & Mirrors. Unveiling a combination of art, artistry and chemistry, the sense-intriguing range introduces new concoctions beyond experimental twist to classic drinks, with ingredients that you could never imagine having in your drink.

As discreet as they come, each page in the menu displays an abstract sketch of the components in your drink along with a QR code that leads you to experience the making of the cocktail with them.

With the names and descriptions of the 18 signature cocktails intentionally simplified in the menu, it keeps guests away from choosing a drink or ingredient they are familiar with. In a way, Smoke & Mirrors brings you into an experiment to provoke your flavour profile with them.

Lose yourself for a moment and come along with Sky Premium on this inviting adventure influenced by art, illusion and flavours.


Bossa Nova

Cachaca | Lemongrass | Local Lemon Balm | Vinho do Porto | Fizz

There’s always a story to tell for every summer getaway but while you’re at it, cool off the weather with Cachaca (pronounced "ka-sha-sa"), the national spirit of Brazil. A clean drink with a fizz, this refreshing herbaceous starter is a rendition of classic mojito with the mint and lime swapped out for lemongrass.

The block ice does more than chilling the drink here; it keeps the leaf in its rightful place for your nose to naturally take a whiff of the pandan aroma added on top while you take your sip. Also, a slower dilution makes all the difference to the flavours in your cocktail, letting you enjoy it just the same even after leaving it out on the table.


The Japanese Gang Is Still Alive

Blends of Malts | Black Sesame | Black Rice | Rice Vinegar | Butter | Aquafaba

Thanks to the reaction of aquafaba with rice vinegar, the bubbling foam on top of the glass when served gives life to this drink. This drink is all about appreciating textures with differing palate experiences with each sip. The creamy foam melts slowly as you drink, allowing the fragrance to come through with a buttery texture at the bottom. Rich and savoury, the process of chilling and freezing the malt and whiskey involved is laborious but worthwhile.

The crunchy garnish adds a touch of flair that hints the novel use of black sesame flavour and colour from black glutinous rice, honouring the drink with a beautiful and mysterious garnet colour that gets better with every batch made following the first in December 2018.


Peel & See

London Dry Gin | Banana | Miso | Quinine Aperitif | Olive Oil

An elevated classic inspired by the iconic banana handiwork of Andy Warhol, the leading figure of the pop art movement. With a backbone of ingredients that may seem like a strange mix of flavour, the concoction cooked in a vacuum bag with an addition of olive oil to fat washed the liquid from solid certainly adds textural complexity to its finish. The first sip comes along rich with umami flavour that leaves you wondering where the banana is. Once your palate works its way through to avoid the salt, the banana taste comes around like the drink’s name Peel & See.


The Farm is Burnt

Fermented Tomato | Celery | Spices | Radish Brine | Chipotle | Chino Agave| Citric Ash | Basil Oil

This playful recipe is for the ones who favour gorgeously smoked flavours to the glass. It’s a smoky take on the familiar Bloody Mary infused with smog from the torched Palo Santo and a drop of burnt lime and chilli oil at the end to spice up your drink. The dramatic aroma changes mystically; the more you drink, the smokier it gets.

Unsure of what to get? Ask the friendly bartenders to suggest something that suits your flavour profile like we did! Taking into consideration every moment and occasion, Smoke & Mirrors believes in concocting the right drink for each individual – making that special drink an unforgettable experience.

P.S. The punchy drink with undertones of cedarwood mentioned earlier is called Picasso’s Pencil.

The vision to continue building Smoke & Mirrors’ personality and character doesn’t stop at the 18 signature cocktails. With the ever-growing creativity and curious minds within the team, we can only expect more unique flavours and unconventional blends of ingredients.

If you come across a spark of ideas, don’t be afraid to raise them to the team. Start a chat because they would love to share and answer any questions you have about spirits, aromas and flavours. They’ve even received suggestions to use durian and sambal in their cocktails! Who knows, you might just be the inspiration for their next cocktail craft.

 

Smoke & Mirrors is located at #06-01 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road Singapore 178957.

For reservation and enquiries, call +65 9380 6313 or email to reserve [at] smokeandmirrors.com.sg.

Opening Hours

Mon – Fri: 3PM

Sat, Sun, Eve of; Day of PH: 12PM

Closing Hours

Sun – Thurs: 1AM

Fri, Sat, Eve of; Day of PH: 2AM

 

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