Hello Singapore!

I am sitting on the buss with butterflies in my stomach. The buss will drive me to the airport, where I will jump on a flight first to Copenhagen and then to Singapore. Normally I would not feel anxious, but this time I’m not going for a holiday or a winery visit – I am heading for Slush Singapore. I have been up since 3am to get used to the time zone change. Continue reading “Hello Singapore!”

Another Side of Bangkok

When we last left Bangkok, during our winter holiday, I thought that I was done for a while. We have spend long vacations there for the past four years, and become a bit too comfortable in our habits. To be able to have a more adult vacation, me and M booked one last long weekend, to really be able to go through the restaurants and bars that were not suited for the youngest in our family (she is quite good at sitting at restaurants though). And boy, was this trip a surprise. It was fantastic to see, that there was still a side of Bangkok that we had not seen before. Here are the highlights! Continue reading “Another Side of Bangkok”

Our Christmas Tradition

Everyone has a Christmas tradition. Well, everyone at least that somehow celebrates Christmas. It can be small or big, elaborate or subtle. Ours is pretty simple, and not very Christmassy, but its a tradition and we like it. Every year, as we travel to Asia, we have lunch at Issaya Siamese Club in Bangkok, with cocktails and a long tasting menu. Every year we also eat so much that we don’t really need more food the same day.  Continue reading “Our Christmas Tradition”

Singapore Cocktails Revisited

I have not been out in weeks. WEEKS! Family events, the flu and a new job has kept us indoors. And I am starting to get a little bit numbed. But there is no immediate salvation in sight. This weekend is going to be a home weekend as well, and we just need to rely on our own cellar to entertain us. In the lack of a nice restaurant environment, I thought I would revisit some of the great moments we had on our trip to Asia. To be more specific, our cocktail night out in Singapore. I just noticed, I had skipped the whole topic, even though I have great things to say about the new places we visited. So here we go, a dive back to Asia and the cocktail nights of Singapore. Continue reading “Singapore Cocktails Revisited”

Bangkok Bar Secrets

Secret bars – what do I think about them? To be honest, I am a bit torn. I don’t want to go to a bar because it is hidden, I want to go because the drinks are good. Of course its a fun concept, I don’t mind that, but sometimes it attracts a bit of an odd crowd. In Bangkok though, the best bars are hidden ones, and I dare to claim that I can now give a very competitive top-3 view. Continue reading “Bangkok Bar Secrets”

Winter Cocktails at the Old Apothecary

Usually, I drink cocktails in the summer. I like them fresh and crispy; with flavors like elderflower, mint, citrus and ginger. And, I always end up choosing Gin as my base. I have become like a broken record when it comes to cocktails, always the same thing, just dressed up a bit differently. But I finally read about the winter cocktail menu at Pharmarium, and could not hold back my excitement for something new. Their quirky cocktails are a legend in Stockholm, and I just cannot wait to go for a seasonal drink. Continue reading “Winter Cocktails at the Old Apothecary”

Hanging out at Quince BKK

For those who are already sick of my post on Bangkok, this is the last one I swear. For this year at least. However, since this time around we found much better places for wine in the city, I don’t think it’s fair to keep them all to myself. Quince Eatery & Bar is a very typical expat hangout right inbetween Thong Lo and Phrom Pong sky train stations. The look is early hipster: modern bistro with some edgy industrial details – a look you have seen a thousand times in London and Scandinavia. But we did not come to Quince for the decor, we came for the wine list.  Continue reading “Hanging out at Quince BKK”

Cocktails and Ships at Bottles Pop-Up Bar, Stockholm

Imagine old wooden chairs and tables, figureheads and miniature ships. And imagine holding a rum cocktail with zesty lemon peel and a huge ice cube floating in the middle. There is no music, just steady murmur coming from the other tables and the clinking of ice against your glass. There is no rush, and the calm bar invites you to relax.

Bottles Pop-Up bar is all about the drinks. It is run by three Stockholm bartenders with merits from Little Quarter, Shibumi and Lilla Nygatan. The Pop-Up bar has an interesting concept, it moves around within the Gamla Stan restaurant scene, and the theme changes with every venue. Right now it is located in the Victory Hotel (the Congress Center) and houses a theme loyal to the venue style. I have previously written to you about Tweed, the semi-speakeasy cocktail bar inside the hotel (review here). Bottles current style is similar, however it feels less clubby and more genuine. Other venues will include restaurants (by the same owner) in the Gamla Stam/ Lilla Nygatan are: Pubologi, Djuret, Svinet, Lejontornet, Tweed and Burgundy.

I was at Bottles for some afterwork drinks with fellow Yelpers. We arrived early, around 6pm and had no trouble finding a seat. Ok, we even had a reservation, but we would have found a seat nonetheless. We were offered a drinks menu with around seven different cocktails that all were named after ships of past and present. Ingredients included all of the usual suspects: rum, gin, tequila and bourbon. I was perhaps a bit disappointed that the spirits used were quite main stream: Bacardi, London Dry and other big brands (very un-hipster). The mixers were the ones to set the mood with tastes of rosehip, marinated fruits and ginger ale. Every cocktail was named after a boat and had a story, which the bartenders introduced when serving the drinks. I had a Carina II with variations of old wine (tasted a bit like fortified wine), grapefruit and champagne, and a Rumbullion with Bacardi, Havanna Club, Captain Morgan, Barbancourt and Gunroom and Sour. Both cocktails were very good and fit the historic atmosphere of the hotel.

All in all, a fun concept with spiced with tasty drinks and great service. I am already excited about where the bar moves next and looking forward to exploring what kind of drinks the other venues have to offer.

Memories from the Luggage Room – London

It is Thursday, the day of the week when I start thinking about the weekend and cocktails. I must admit, I have nothing new. Cocktails are often my second choice (if good wine is not available). However I do have some memories to share from the time I lived in London. It was a time that wine and cocktails did not single each other out, but it was rather common that one followed the other.

One of our favorite late night hangouts was the Luggage Room at the Marriot Grosvenors Square. Yes, I know, a Marriott sounds a bit boring. However, as with Punch Room (review here), the Luggage Room is not your average hotel bar. To start with it is a speakeasy. You enter the bar by knocking on a door (with the letters LR) on the side of the building. A little window slides open, true speakeasy style and you are escorted in by a well dressed host/ hostess. There is an entrance from inside the hotel as well, but it is just a pair of closed doors that in no way give away that there is a bar behind them. The Luggage Room is a rather silly name, but that is what the space used to be, the room where luggage was kept.

The bar is 20’s inspired with leather couches and fine furniture. There are initials on all of the tables and they are there after the famous Bentley Boys, a group of wealthy British motorists, who brought the Bentley brand on the world map. The staff explained that the group used to cruise around the area. The staff are also dressed accordingly to the look of the 20’s and 30’s with flap-dresses and smart bow ties. The ambiance in the Luggage Room is fancy but comfortable.

As you sit down, the host brings you a seasonal aperitif and snacks: crispy veggie chips and gourmet nuts, all served in a beautiful silver platter. Food – no better way to be greeted. The selection of drinks is also mirroring what was popular at the time: punches, swizzles, juleps and coolers. The ingredients are fresh and every drink is made with enormous care at the bar. The price tag is rather high, 12-14£. However, I at least feel that it is worth it. All the small extra snacks and spotless service is worth the extra buck. They also have some champagnes on the menu, however I am not convinced of the value for money (especially with the strong Pound). A bottle of Bollinger Special Cuvee is 95£, so I would rather invest that money into many many cocktails.

The wonderful service and good drinks are enough to convince me to visit. However there is something extra with the luggage room, and that is that it is open until 2 am. Now this might sound like nothing for us Finns and Swedes. However in Great Britain bars often close already at 11 pm. Yes, I know, it is really frustrating. But the Luggage Room is the perfect place to go for a drink after a late dinner in the center.