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Bar Stories: Karma Points at Origin Bar

The group of us shuffle into Origin Bar at 9 pm on a Saturday night.

One of us is taking his GRE exam early the next morning (“Nah, it’s not that urgent…”), another one is barely fending off an unsolicited weekend call from the office (“Yo, pick up! This is really urgent!”). Outside in the lobby of the Shangri La hotel, where Origin Bar is nestled within, you can hear a bridal party cackling loudly over inside jokes about the bride and groom hosting a banquet dinner a few doors down.

Right at this very moment, the cozy, cavernous Origin Bar suddenly seems the perfect place to hide-out from the outside world - standardized tests, unyielding bosses, talk of marriage and all.

We get to work immediately, quickly finding our seats in the back of the bar and scanning the QR code that directs us to cocktail menu, and an even more extensive list of rum and spirits on offer. It’s enough to make any rumhead’s eyes water.

The first cocktail to arrive is the Nashi & Matcha, which marries caramel, nashi pear, matcha and Roku Gin. My friend takes a sip, “it’s not bad”, he states. We’re all either unsatisfied with his crisp description, or getting thirsty while waiting for our own cocktails to arrive, but one by one we each demand a sip. It’s a delicate concoction of cloudly-matcha mixed with fruity pears and herbal gin. More than “not bad”!

The night kicks off with Nashi & Matcha and Strawberry & Co.

Next, Strawberries & Co. arrives. A mix of strawberries, coconut wash, citrus and tequila, this cocktail was recommended by the waiter for my friend with a sweet tooth. She likes it so much she later orders another.

My own drink is ready shortly after. Here comes the Minerals, a blend of Jameson whisky with peat (!!!), sea salt and milk wash. It’s served with a strand of sea grapes, balanced precariously on top of the ice block. I loved this cocktail, it had just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the smokiness of the peat and the ultra-smooth Jameson.

On the left, the Orchard Fifty Fifty. On the right, the Minerals.

Another gin-based cocktail is ordered. This time it’s the Orchard Fifty Fifty, a combination of Brass Lion Singapore Gin, Orchid, Torch Lily and Vermouth. It smells like Chai spices, but upon drinking it, transforms into a heady, bath-bomb-like concoction.

As we sip our cocktails, refreshments secured, the talk naturally shifts to the matter of solid food. “You know what would be really good right now? Chocolate truffles!” “Or maybe we can go grab Thai food from Orchard Tower next door after!”

Ten delicious chocolate truffles from the thoughtful bar host. Our blessings... we count 'em!

Someone in our group must have racked up major karma points, because what happens shortly after is as fortuitous as it comes. The bar host glides to our table and whisks in a shell-shaped plate of chocolate truffles. “On the house!” He says, naming the various flavors, “matcha, raspberry, espresso, dark cocoa…” We don’t catch it all, we’re too busy doubting our good luck.

After he leaves, we devour the chocolate – which, if you were wondering, were rich and decadent morsels of delight from Cocoa Orient - and down the rest of our cocktails. By now it's midnight, and we marvel at how fast time flew by. Satiated, we’re ready to return to the outside world once again.

As we head out the door, we catch a glimpse of the bright-yellow lights of the hotel lobby and hear the echoing shouts of a few lingering wedding guests. It’s a stark contrast from the dark privacy and pleasant quiet of Origin Bar, and I make a mental note to return.




Origin Bar (Singapore)


Shangri La Tower Wing Lobby

22 Orange Grove

Singapore 258350

IG: @originbarsg | FB: @Originbarsg

Open 5pm to 12am, Tuesdays to Sunday

Cocktail Journey through Singapore

Complementing its interior design that celebrates train travel, the concept at Origin Bar centres around a journey of discovery of the 6 key districts of Singapore, the hotel’s hometown: Orchard Road, Balestier, Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay and Marina Bay. Inspired cocktails are hand-crafted by a team of young mixologists with a fierce passion for what they do. For instance, the cocktail inspired by Orchard Road traces its history as a plantation and, more importantly, references the original home of the Shangri-La brand. Expect a medley of fruits, flowers and spices in the bouquet of your glass. The streets of Chinatown have motivated the team to create a beverage using traditional Chinese medicine ingredients and balancing Yin with Yang, while Balestier features rum-centric cocktails which aim to highlight the district’s origin as a sugarcane plantation.