Singapore’s first gin distillery Tanglin Gin has come a long way.
Founded in 2018 by four gin enthusiasts Andy Hodgson, Charlie Van Eeden, Chris Box and Tim Whitefield over a round of drinks in 2016, the distillery was located in the industrial neighbourhood at Mandai Foodlink. Using 11 botanicals, including the dried stems of dendrobium orchids, Tanglin Gin distilled the first-ever “Singaporean” gin – the Orchid Gin – that, according to the founders, “best-represented Singapore”.
The distillery was a hit not only among locals, but expats and tourists also. It quickly gained traction on social media and by word of mouth. In just months, Tanglin Gin’s business grew and that prompted the team to set its sights on expansion. Now located at Dempsey Hill, the distillery has launched three core-gins and several seasonal expressions.
For the uninitiated, gin is a tricky spirit. It gets a bad rap for its sharp, piney and biting taste, says general manager of Tanglin Gin Bradley Young. Gin is usually made by distilling alcohol and is frequently blended with juniper and other botanicals, where their flavours are released throughout the process. “Juniper berries are a must,” Mr Young adds. “That’s the basis of gin.”
Apart from having them talk all day about gin, we hear from Bradley Young, venue manager at The Tanglin Gin Jungle Farhan Samad, guest relations and events coordinator Agnetta Lew, head bartender Mark Ng, production coordinator Dmitrii Khudiakov, and kitchen assistant Abbas about the places where they love to eat outside of work.
Bradley Young, General Manager, Tanglin Gin
Having spent close to three years with Tanglin Gin, Mr Young is who one would call a bona fide gin master. Last year, he collaborated with prominent Australian pastry chef Anna Polybiou to create a special, limited-edition Honey Bean Coffee Gin Liqueur as part of an initiative brought about by the Singapore Tourism Board.
On where he recommends dining at, Mr Young suggests La Forketta, which is also located at Dempsey. “I would always recommend this place for its great and authentic pizza, which is cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven,” he says.
Since opening the new venue at Dempsey, Mr Young often indulges in a cup of the brand’s newest ready-to-drink cocktail, Jungle Juice – a potent and sinfully addictive concoction comprising citrus and lemongrass-infused Orchid Gin. His go-to hangover cure is a bowl of good pho.
Address: 9 Dempsey Road, Dempsey Hill, #11-09, Singapore 247697
Opening hours: 12.30pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 9.30pm
Farhan Samad, Venue Manager, The Tanglin Gin Jungle
If there is a dish that Mr Farhan would not get tired of eating, it’s Cantonese-styled steam fish. “(Steamed fish) is healthy, high in protein, and delicious. I enjoy it most with soy sauce and ginger garnish on top. Cod or sea bass are my favourites,” the 38-year-old says.
His favourite dining haunt is the intimate speakeasy Papa Doble Singapore, along Keong Siak Road. “My friend actually owns the place,” Mr Farhan says. “It boasts a seasonal menu that changes every six months. I guarantee you their cocktails never disappoint.”
His favourite tipple is a glass of Black Barrel Mount Gay Rum and he prefers having it neat. On his go-to hangover cure, Mr Farhan admits he does not have one, simply because he never gets drunk.
Papa Doble Singapore (formerly known as The Oldman)
Address: 55 Keong Siak Road, #01-04, Singapore 089158
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 5pm – 10.30 pm
Agnetta Lew, Guest Relations and Events Coordinator
Ms Lew’s go-to comfort food McNuggets always conjures up memories of her childhood. “They are what my parents used to get me whenever I was a child,” she says wistfully. “I always have it with ketchup. Come to think of it, those nuggets were the only things I ate with ketchup.”
But the 31-year-old recommends food enthusiasts to try the food at Noryangjin Fish Market in Chinatown Point. “The seafood is really fresh and apparently, they are flown in from Korea. The owners are not stingy with portions or the banchan (Korean for side dishes). There are a lot of fresh flavours as well as very bold ones, such as a kimchi that is fermented with oysters.” Her favourite drinks include vodka- and whiskey-on the rocks, while her go-to hangover cure is a bowl of kimchi pork belly soup with ramyeon noodles.
Noryangjin Fish Market
Address: Chinatown Point, 4 Craig Road, Singapore 089664
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 11.30am – 11pm
Mark Ng, Head Bartender, The Tanglin Gin Jungle
Mr Ng is a man of adventure. Preferring street food over classic meals, he is often seen feasting off scrumptious street bites whenever he travels.
In Singapore, he prefers dining near where he grew up at – Tampines Round Market and Food Centre in the eastern part of Singapore. He recommends first-timers to the hawker centre to get the laksa or minced pork noodles, otherwise known as bak chor mee in Hokkien.
The former senior bartender at Junior at the Pocket Bar prefers indulging in Whisky Highball, and his go-to hangover cure is kambing soup and prata.
Tampines Round Market and Food Centre
Address: 137 Tampines Street 11, Singapore 522137
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 6.30am – 3pm
Dmitrii Khudiakov, Production Coordinator at Tanglin Gin
Mr Khudiakov is not a fan of eating out so the 36 years old, who is in charge of distilling and bottling of the gins, cooks at home instead. He prefers cooking for himself and eats whatever that he feels like, even if it means heading out to scour for the right ingredients. “By doing the cooking myself, I know that my food is healthier and without any additives and chemicals,” Mr Khudiakov says.
For the Russian-born, one of his favourite dishes is Russian dumplings and buckwheat. “I don’t really dine out in restaurants because of the long queues and noise. Plus, My style of food often can’t be bought outside,” he adds.
His favourite tipple is the classic gin and tonic, while his go-to hangover cure is pickle brine.
Abbas, Kitchen Assistant, The Tanglin Gin Jungle
When it comes to looking for food on the sunny island, Mr Abbas often indulges in whatever his friends recommend. “They know more than I do,” he says. But whenever he faces a food dilemma and does not know what to eat, he falls back on Singaporeans’ favourite: chicken rice. His most-visited chicken rice stall is located at Tampines Food Junction within Century Square.
His favourite drink is a glass of rum and coke, while his go-to hangover cure comprises either a decent sandwich or a plate of fried rice.
Tampines Food Junction in Century Square
Address: Century Square, 2 Tampines Central 5, #03-19, Singapore 529509
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 10.30am – 9pm