Whoa. Stand back. Let’s celebrate my 100th blog entry (yay!) with some alcohol and firearms. This is Bar Stories. Bar Stories is a little universe of mixology tucked in the top level of a shophouse on Haji Lane in Singapore. It’s a little bit retro with mid-century modern furniture, and a little bit rock and roll with the hipster staff who maintain full control of the cocktail wizardry behind the bar.
There is no menu at Bar Stories. Instead, the evening begins with an interview so bring your best, most savored adjectives if you plan on going (reservations definitely required if you arrive after 9:00 p.m.). A mixologist will join you at your table and listen thoughtfully as you describe your favorite flavors and s/he creates a taste profile for the beverage s/he’ll soon be concocting for you. My first interview (during which I listed light, fruity, creamy, salty, like a creamsicle) resulted in a Key Lime Pie cocktail with the most magnificent toasted marshmallow meringue on the top garnished with a wafer-thin slice of lime. I don’t even like Key Lime pie, but this was delicious.
Lots of other good descriptors were put to the test: crisp, smokey, sour, chocolate, minty, spicy, rich. Each cocktail that returned was an insightful reply to the words that had been spoken. There was a fruity/salty/plum/grape combo, a smokey scotch elixir in an up glass, an earthy scotch libation in a lowball with a sphere of ice and an elegant shaved orange peel sitting on top. A brief, intense flame was applied to a group of whole cloves resting on an orange slice — floated on top of a whiskey cocktail like a zesty life raft in a sea of mysterious flavors.
We moved to the bar, where things got even more crafty as our palates loosened up and the evening crowd started to arrive. This was every bit as good as eating sushi at a sushi bar, where you can see all the skill and attention that goes into what’s being created. Mixologists alternated between serving, tasting, creating and talking to their customers. Our request for something like a margarita resulted in an icy bath of Reposado and lime juice with a chili pepper garnish that added a perfectly distributed and bearable spiciness to the drink. Wow. Drinkable art.
Out too came the absinthe, and the fire and sugar required to make it safe for human consumption. But we’d reached our consumption limit (not to mention our budget limit) so we called it a night and left with a lot of good Bar Stories we’ll keep telling for a long time.