Zouk's bar wins Asia's Best Gin & Tonic award

Float Like A Butterfly (above) by Red Tail bartender Lexis Tan was named Asia's Best Gin & Tonic at the East Imperial Gin Jubilee last Saturday.
Float Like A Butterfly (above) by Red Tail bartender Lexis Tan was named Asia's Best Gin & Tonic at the East Imperial Gin Jubilee last Saturday.PHOTO: EAST IMPERIAL GIN JUBILEE
Float Like A Butterfly by Red Tail bartender Lexis Tan (above) was named Asia's Best Gin & Tonic at the East Imperial Gin Jubilee last Saturday.
Float Like A Butterfly by Red Tail bartender Lexis Tan (above) was named Asia's Best Gin & Tonic at the East Imperial Gin Jubilee last Saturday.PHOTO: EAST IMPERIAL GIN JUBILEE

Zouk's Red Tail, a newcomer to Singapore's burgeoning bar scene, has beat 35 bars here to have its gin and tonic creation named the best in town. The bar opened in September.

Bartender Lexis Tan's creation, called Float Like A Butterfly, also beat top bars from the region to win Asia's Best Gin & Tonic at the jubilee grand finale announced in Singapore last Saturday.

Now in its fourth year, the East Imperial Gin Jubilee, organised by craft tonic label East Imperial, has expanded beyond Singapore to include cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh and Hong Kong.

Week-long Gin Jubilees - with master classes, pop-ups and gin-related activities - were held in the four cities between August and this month.

For her take on the classic gin and tonic, Ms Tan, who is in her thirties, wanted to make it approachable without changing too much of it.

She says: "I decided to alter the colours, enhance the flavour a little more and give it an Asian touch, hence most of the ingredients can be found in South-east Asia."

Float Like A Butterfly is made with Bombay Sapphire gin, cinnamon syrup, fresh lemon juice and topped up with East Imperial's Burma tonic and a layer of citrus foam.

The visually striking floral cocktail gets its violet hue from butterfly blue pea flower-infused Bombay Sapphire gin. Ms Tan says the win was unexpected and that she participated in the competition to "gain some experience".

The winner was determined by social media votes via Instagram, with votes counted via posts with the hashtag #GinJubilee2016, as well as a judging panel comprising East Imperial founders Kevin Law-Smith and Anthony Burt, DRiNK magazine editor-in-chief Dan Bignold and head bartender of soon-to-be-opened Atlas Grand Lobby and Bar, Mr Roman Foltan.

Mr Law-Smith, 46, feels the highball style of Ms Tan's drink is true to what makes a gin and tonic and "more than the sum of its parts".

He says: "When we started Gin Jubilee, it was to celebrate all things gin as well as gin and tonic - and the winning cocktail did just that. She kept with the traditional structure, but enlivened the taste profile with citrus foam and the colour palette with the butterfly blue pea flower."

Ms Tan beat creations by established bars such as Manhattan - named Asia's best at this year's edition of the World's 50 Best Bars Awards - as well as last year's winner Anti:Dote.

The winning drink will be served at Red Tail bar at $16.

The competition culminated in a Gin Lane street party held along Hong Kong Street last Saturday, where participating bars sold their creations at $10 each.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2016, with the headline 'Zouk's bar wins Asia's Best Gin & Tonic award'. Print Edition | Subscribe