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G I F T
A fresh drop of @twgteaofficial’s “Darjeeling First Flush Tea” will take place tomorrow.
Known as “the champagne of teas”, it is due to the unique terroir of this Northeastern region in India—cool temperature, high altitude, distinctive soil and rainfall—that yields such a highly-prized black tea. However, that is only half the story. The other half of Darjeeling tea’s desirability is attributed to the entire process from cultivation to harvesting to the way the plant is looked after. For a clearer understanding, I suggest steeping yourself in the inaugural “TWG Tea Origin Stories” by award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist @fraser_ross_morton and be captivated by the journeys he takes us on, through the renowned plantations that TWG collaborates with to conceive some of the world’s most exceptional harvests. You should be able to find them by searching for “TWG Tea Origin Stories” on YouTube.
In the first film, Darjeeling is the focus. Before settling down to watch earlier, I decided to brew myself a cup of the Phuguri FTGOP1, an exclusive @twgteaofficial first flush harvest and one of the most fragrant. Its finely-rolled olive green leaves from the Phuguri estate has the aroma of deep red summer fruits and leaves a lingering aftertaste of Brazil nuts and hazelnuts. Never had I encountered a Darjeeling tea so delicate yet complex until I took a sip of it. Now that my curiosity is piqued, I can’t wait to savour the Puttabong SFTGFOP1 and the Orange Valley SFTGFOP1 before culminating my Darjeeling sojourn with the DarjeelingFirstFlush 2020 Haute Couture Tea Collection. This exclusive offering in a tall slim tin is created by TWG’s CEO Taha, and features the best of all the single estates’ tea blended together for the optimal balance of strength and complexity.
You can explore more about the above and make purchases at:

𝐰𝐰𝐰.𝐭𝐰𝐠𝐭𝐞𝐚.𝐜𝐨𝐦

G I F T E D
There’s no need to stay dry during this #StayHome period when Singapore’s top bars have hustled to come up with ingenious ways to get their liquid concoctions to us (and goodness knows we need it more than ever!).

A fine example is @NativeBarSg, ranked no. 12 on #Worlds50bestbars. I got to try their new range of bottled cocktails when co-owner Vijay dropped them off at my home two nights ago. After opening the first of their four cocktails, the “Hibiscus” to be specific, you can colour me impressed. I loved its refreshing and none-too-sweet blend of hawthorn distillate, hibiscus jus and kithul palm syrup coupled with the buzz from the high alcohol kick (approximately 23% to 25%).

I am now more excited than ever to slowly savour the other three:

- The “Foragers’ Garden” - Composed of housemade matcha, bluepea flowers, calamansi and matcha kombucha, this also has an alcohol content of about 23% to 25%.

- The “Peranakan” - A jackfruit rum, laksa leaves, goat’s milk, candlenut and gula melaka blend that is stronger at 30% alcohol level.

- The “Pineapple Arrack” - An even more potent creation with Ceylon arrack, old coconuts, pineapple skin and Sri Lankan spices, estimated to hit the 33% to 35% mark in alcohol.

Their bottled cocktails are extremely easy to enjoy as they only need to be stuck in the fridge to chill (shelf life is 6 months but frankly, I am sure to be done with them much quicker) and then poured over ice. One bottle is good for between 6 and 8 portions, which makes it good value and more importantly, very-pleasurable-bang-for-your-buck if you ask me.

To order, just DM @NativeBarSg on Instagram.

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M E D I A P R E V I E W
To put things in perspective, as much as I enjoyed myself at the pre-event tasting for @whiskylivesingapore thanks to the unbridled enthusiasm, passion and incredible knowledge of Maison Du Whisky’s Trade Marketing Manager Sebastien and Bar Manager Joey, I know in my bones it was but mere fumes rising off a whisky distillery when placed in context. Afterall, we are talking about the event being “Southeast Asia’s largest premier whisk(e)y and spirits showcase”.
Organised by French spirits house La Maison du Whisky, #WhiskyLiveSingapore will take place on the 9th and 10th November at Andaz Singapore, and promises to be extra special as it’s their 10th edition. So all stops have been pulled as they aim to drop jaws and floor everyone with a multi-faceted celebratory extravaganza.
Whether you are a connoisseur or beginner (I am definitely the noob while Burppler Kenneth Lee and Burpple Tastemaker Russell fall somewhere in between), you can look forward to treating your tastebuds to more than 70 brands of spirits from artisanal to rare collectibles, and to rub shoulders with master distillers, producers, brand ambassadors and industry experts. I suggest clearing your schedule to “Sip, Share & Shop” your way across the six immersive experiences lying in wait - the Masterclasses, Cocktail Class Rooms and the Collectors Room with its rare and old whiskies sound particularly exciting to me.
There is no doubt #WhiskyLiveSingapore is determined to be an event to remember. Or not, depending on how much you enjoy yourself😜.

To find out more and to book your pass, please visit www.whiskylive.sg

You can also purchase the passes at La Maison du Whisky at 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-10 The Pier, Singapore 239013. Or at the door on November 9th and 10th.

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What I’d give to have Wheeler’s Yard’s “Iced Chendol-presso Ball” this very minute.
That frozen sphere is a concentrated hit of intense, aromatic coffee and gula melaka, perfumed with pandan leaves to be released under the heat of warm milk. Being able to control the proportion of milk to flavoured espresso is a big plus for me because I prefer to taste more of the rich coffee.
A great drink to sip on anytime. But perhaps not too late at night unless for whatever reason, you need a powerful rush of caffeine to keep you awake.

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Pretty legit with a strong tea fragrance and flavour. But it wasn’t very milky - I don’t mind that personally because milk isn’t on my list of favourite things. If you like lots of dairy in your Thai Milk Tea, maybe you can try asking for more milk when you order.

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A signature cocktail can say a lot about a place.
Take for example the “Panch Phoran Punch” at Meatsmith Little India. As explained to us, its tongue-twisting wordplay of a name is due to the inspired use of “panch phoran” (a 5-spice mix of cumin, brown mustard, fenugreek, nigella and fennel that’s popular in Eastern India and Bangladesh) in the syrup to give the drink a taste of its geotag. Although subtle, there was enough of the spices to lend the refreshing drink concocted from rum, lime juice and ginger ale a lightly aromatic edge.
I reckon it’s my favourite cocktail to have with the Indian-meets-the-American-South type of cuisine that this Meatsmith outlet excels in.

I like that they don’t make their ice lemon tea and lime juice sweet. The drinks are also not watered down so they contain enough flavour to counteract the richer “zi char” dishes you order here.

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Boylan is a brand of craft root beer from New York and it tastes amazing (unlike some I-shall-not-name canned brands available at our local supermarkets). Properly sweet, concentrated and full-flavoured, it forms an instant dream doubles team when added to the fabulously rich, thick and creamy vanilla ice-cream served frozen in plastic cups at Burger Joint.
In my humble opinion, it washes down a cheeseburger better than any other non-alcoholic drink here.

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Once you’ve had the feisty one-two punch of a shot of bourbon chased by housemade pickle juice, it’s hard to not continually lust after it. I love how downing this leaves me tingly... warm... and unselfconsciously smacking my lips to savour the salty, slightly spicy aftertaste.
The natural next step would be to throw myself headlong into the cushiony embrace of the Sanger. I can’t imagine a better place to land than in those soft and fluffy brioche buns, stuffed to near overflowing with slow-cooked pulled pork, crunchy purple slaw and zinged with a touch of heat from chipotle mayo and pickled jalapeños.

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Oh, the irony! To swing by Singapore Cocktail Festival and be bewitched by the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits.
Gorgeous branding and packaging aside, the “Garden 108” by Seedlip when mixed with tonic water and served with a bouquet of fresh herbs, intoxicated in its own way. As I brought the drink closer to my mouth, the scent of the herbs filled my nostrils, awakening my senses to greet the bloom of that first sip. It tasted of earth’s fertility to me - floral, grassy, herbal. Like lush green gardens still wet from rain, so rich yet remarkably fresh and clean. It’s simply wonderful.
I love the fact that when I‘m in the mood for a good non-alcoholic cocktail, there is now this as an option. So far, it seems that Seedlip drinks can be had here and Caffe Fernet (I think there’s another spot but can’t recall where). Bottle purchase can be made at @ecproof and @templecellars. By the way, this isn’t a paid ad or sponsorship. I just wanted to share something I discovered and enjoyed very much.

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With only a few words from me to guide him on my preferences: “I’d like something gin-based, not too sweet and with egg white please”, bar owner and mixologist Dave concocted this fabulous cocktail for me.
Presented in a box, the intoxicating smell of Japanese Kyoho grape liqueur teased my nostrils the moment the lid was lifted. However, I realised it wasn’t so straightforward once I took a sip.
On the palate, this cocktail performed twists and turns with its layers of sweetness from lychee and fresh dark grapes, a citrusy brightness from yuzu, the herbal heat of lemongrass and the tang of sour plum. All of these were however, comfortably rounded off with the cushion of egg white.

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Girls too, because bourbon doesn’t discriminate 😊

Thick like melted ice-cream but zapped with a big shot of bourbon whisky, this S’mores milkshake is great for the “kidult”. It’s an irresistible union of alcohol and a fun drink, torched marshmallows, sugared biscuits and all.

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Follow me on Instagram (@veronicaphua) for much more content! 😊

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