5 Romantic Activities in Singapore

I love going on dates!  There’s truly no better way for a couple to bond than setting out on adventures and experiencing new things together.  And since February is the month of love, I’ve rounded up five of the most romantic activities in Singapore.  With a little advanced planning, your Valentine’s Day will be nothing short of extraordinary.

#1 Go Stargazing

If counting stars together is your idea of romance, take a ferry to Pulau Ubin island.  Pulau Ubin, is far enough from the gleaming city lights for the sublime beauty of the constellations to come to life.

TIP: Before planning this romantic escapade, do check weather conditions here to see if it’s favourable for stargazing. Avoid cloudy nights or thunderstorms.  And be sure to pack a picnic, as well as some insect repellent.

#2 Dine In Cable Car

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Clink glasses in a garden themed cable car cabin, suspended above the sea.  The four-course Floral Cabin Dining on Cloud 9 gives couples more privacy than most other dining venues.

TIP: If you’re thinking of popping the questions, the Floral Cabin Dining on Cloud 9 is also excellent for proposals.

#3 Watch The Sunset

Picture by Andrew Klepper @kleppera11

Picture by Andrew Klepper @kleppera11

The soft magical colours of dusk have always captured the imagination of lovers.  Watch the warm tropical sun sink into the South China Sea at Bob’s Bar or anywhere else around Capella Singapore, with free roaming peacocks as companions!

TIP: Experience Bob’s Bar’s exclusive single-blended rums.  Navegante means “navigator” in Spanish, and is inspired by the sea and voyages.  Try it as an Old Fashioned, or savour it neat with chocolate and preserved cherries.

#4 Relax At A Rooftop Bar

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Behold one of the most gorgeous city skylines in South East Asia from a swanky rooftop bar.  I’d recommend 1-Altitude for its unforgettable 360 degrees view of Singapore.

TIP: The best time to arrive is just before sunset, so you can enjoy panoramic views of dusk, and watch the city come to life under the soft cloak of night.

#5 Experience a Moonlit Cruise

Discover the ethereal beauty of the ocean in the magical glow of moonlight.  Reserve a private yacht and take your special someone out to sea.  Something Special is a Singapore Charter Boat Service that offers Full Moon Packages, as well as romantic set-ups at gorgeous and secluded beaches.

TIP: The best part about these overnight cruise packages is that all the logistics such as champagne, seafood, chocolate and music are taken care of for you.  All you’ll need to do is arrive with a present for your date.

For more unique ideas, speak to your personal assistants at Capella Singapore.

Talking Rum With A Master Distiller

Navegante

A new cocktail is making its debut at Bob’s Bar, and it’s fast becoming my all-time favourite.  Specially crafted by Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados for Capella Singapore, this single-blended rum is rich, round and mature.  Newly christened Navegante, which means “Navigator” in Spanish, this rum will inspire wanderlust and elicit your thirst for adventure.

Intrigued by this intoxicating spirit, I caught up with the man behind the magic.  Join Richard Seale, Master Distiller of Foursquare Rum Distillery, as he takes me behind the scenes of rum-making and shares some rare tasting tips.

Richard Seale, Master Distiller of Foursquare Rum Distillery

Richard Seale, Master Distiller of Foursquare Rum Distillery

What is the profile of the Navegante rum?

Richard: Beautifully balanced, soft and elegant, it has a velvety texture, complex flavours and a long finish with hints of caramel and honey.

How is the Navegante rum crafted? 

Richard: We begin with the fermentation of molasses for three days to make a molasses wine.  This wine of about 9% alcohol is then distilled both in a traditional ‘coffey’ still and a pot still.

The distilled spirits are blended in a proprietary ratio before being transferred to 200-litre ex-Bourbon American oaks casks.  After three years of tropical ageing, the rum is transferred to 350-litre ex-cognac French oak casks to be aged for another five years.

The rum is then reduced to drinking strength of 40% with pure Barbados water from underground coral stone aquifers.  No flavourings, sugar or colour is added during the entire process.  The gorgeous rum is then bottled with care and shipped to Capella Singapore.

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How is it best enjoyed?

Richard: I’d recommend enjoying it as a Rum Old Fashioned, with aromatic bitters and sugar, or simply over a large ice cube.  If you’re enjoying your rum neat, pre-chill your glass.  This will bring the temperature of the rum just a little lower for the perfect experience.

Any pairing tips to share?

Richard: Serve it with chocolates or preserved cherries.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest trend in the rum world today?

Richard: Authenticity.  Connoisseurs are discovering that the very best rums are worlds apart from the ‘industrial’ mass produced rums, thanks to their artisanal distillation in pot stills, transparent age statements and pure authentic flavour.

Discover the Navegante exclusively at Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore.

 

Discover Iceland’s Reyka Vodka in Singapore

Having visited some 25 countries, Iceland is one of my all-time favourites.  The minute I touched down, Iceland’s stark beauty stole my heart.  Its immaculate snow-scapes, glaciers, volcanoes and geysers are lit with a soft ethereal light.

Glacials in Iceland

Glacials in Iceland

With a population of approximately 338,800 spread over a vast area of 103,000km2 (that’s more than 140 times larger than Singapore), this magical island is pristine, unspoilt and unfathomable.  It is a land where up to 80% of people reportedly still believe in elves and trolls!

Iceland at dusk

Iceland at dusk

So imagine how thrilled I was to be invited for The Herbal Tales experience, a bespoke Icelandic vodka cocktail tasting at Capella Singapore’s Bob’s Bar.  Created with fresh herbs and Reyka Vodka made from pure Icelandic spring water filtered through lava rocks, it conjures up the breathtaking beauty of Iceland.

As part of this exclusive experience, the bartender invited me to pick my own bouquet of herbs and spices.  I sniffed my way through Bob’s Bar’s very own herb garden, and finally decided on fresh rosemary and lemon verbena.  My bartender then expertly crafted my bespoke cocktail, and I was instantly teleported to the Arctic Circle again.

Bespoke Icelandic Vodka Cocktail at Bob's Bar

Bespoke Icelandic Vodka Cocktail at Bob’s Bar

Deeply intrigued, I caught up with Charlene Low, regional brand manager of William Grant & Sons (which includes Reyka Vodka under its portfolio of premium spirits).  She shares some rare insights and insider tips with me.

What is most interesting about Reyka Vodka?

Charlene: Reyka is an old Icelandic word for ‘smoke’ or ‘steam’.  We use geothermal energy to power our Reyka Vodka distillery, making it one of the greenest distillation processes in the world.  We also use lava rock in place of charcoal for filtration, contributing to its clean taste.

Share with us your tasting notes for this vodka.

Charlene: It is superbly clean, and slightly sweet with subtle aniseed and fennel, faint cream-of-soda vanilla and light peppery spice.

What herbs go best with vodka?

Charlene: Being such a versatile spirit, you can use your favourite herbs to create almost any cocktail.  The best way to do this is to use a Reyka Tonic as your base, add a slice of grapefruit and your choice of herbs.  I like mine with thyme and tarragon.

What are your best vodka mixology tips?

Charlene: Try a vodka martini – this puts the spirit at the forefront so you can fully experience and appreciate its subtle flavours.

What’s a popular Icelandic vodka cocktail?

Charlene: Foragers Ramble is popular in Iceland.  It’s a delicious blend of Reyka Vodka, homemade thyme syrup, cinzano bianco, Reyka bitters, dandelion and burdock bitters. I’d highly recommend it if you’re visiting Iceland.

Foragers Ramble cocktail

Foragers Ramble cocktail

For a bespoke Icelandic cocktail experience in Singapore, swing by Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore any Saturday or Sunday of October between 5-9pm.  More details on The Herbal Tales experience here.

Celebrate 50 Years: 6 Unique Singapore Experiences

If you’re in Singapore over the next few weeks, you’ve picked the best time to visit!  On the cusp of our golden jubilee, Singapore is one of the most exciting cities to be in.

We may be just a tiny red dot on the world map, but our small size simply makes us better at packing a lot of flavour into every experience.  And to celebrate our 50th birthday, our nation has gone the extra mile to orchestrate unique Singapore experiences in the month of August.  Here’s a peek at my personal calendar this month!

#1  Watch Fireworks Light An Iconic Skyline

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There’s something magical about watching firework light up the night – the dancing lights juxtaposed against a spectacular urban skyline is truly unforgettable.  Although catching the National Day Parade fireworks is a yearly ritual for me, I am particularly excited this year.  To celebrate 50 years of independence, the fireworks next month will be at an unprecedented scale, and specially designed to reflect the theme of ‘Majulah Singapura, or ‘Onwards Singapore’ in Malay.

This year, in additional to fireworks on National Day (9 August) and at the National Day Preview (1 August), you can also catch fireworks on 7 and 8 August at the Marina Basin.  The best part is, you won’t even need a ticket to the parade to witness these spectacular light displays.  Simply find a good spot along the Marina Bay Sands Waterfront, Esplanade, Marina Barrage or Helix Bridge for an unblocked view.

#2  Soak In Local Culture At Singapore’s First UNESCO Site

Singapore Symphony Orchestra  Palm Valley

I’m extremely proud to share that our garden city finally got its own UNESCO heritage site!  And fittingly, it is one of my favourite gardens in the world – the Singapore Botanic Gardens.  The minute you step into this green sanctuary, you will pick up a whiff of exotic herbs, flowers and lush foliage.  From the exquisite National Orchid Garden to the finely sculpted Bonsai Garden, our trees reflect our nation’s unique history, culture and personality.  I also love exploring the century-old heritage trees, which always inspire me to appreciate the fleeting beauty and transience of life.

After an afternoon of exploration, I particularly enjoy kicking back and enjoying an evening concert or outdoor movie screening accompanied by a cool evening breeze.  To celebrate Singapore’s birthday month, the Singapore Botanic Garden’s August line-up include local films such as It’s A Great Great World and Singapore Dreaming.  If you’re visiting Singapore for the first time, this will offer you an instant immersion in local culture and common expressions.

#3  Try The 50-Finger Massage At Capella Singapore’s Auriga Spa

7. Couple's Spa at Auriga

I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for spa treatments. Carving up me-time is my secret to staying young, and beating everyday stress.  Auriga Spa is one of my favourite places because it instantly transports me from the mundane demands of life and the ceaseless bustle of the city.

For the month of August, Auriga’s Spa director Shanti has designed the ultimate indulgence – the 50-Finger Massage.  As you can imagine, this 50-Finger Massage was inspired by SG50 and Singapore’s 50th birthday, so no expense is spared to ensure your utmost comfort and relaxation.  Performed by five therapists in synchronised motions, this massage soothes the legs, body, hands, neck and scalp, kneading away every tensed muscle in the body at once.  It takes one through Auriga’s four signature moon phase therapies – the New Moon to awaken the senses, Waxing Moon to loosen tight joints, Full Moon for balance and Waning Moon for detoxification and cleansing.  I felt utterly renewed after this treatment.

#4  Go Museum-Hopping Around Singapore

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Museums are the best place to soak in culture, and Singapore offers some of the best museums in Southeast Asia.  From art to culture, history and science, museum-hopping is one of the best ways to indulge my inner geek.

One of my favourite museums is The National Museum – also the oldest museum in Singapore, and a haven of intricate artefacts.  Singapura: 700 Years is currently on display at this museum, and chronicles our nation’s transformation from a fishing village to modern Singapore.  Also worth a visit are the Asian Civilisation Museum, the Singapore Art Museum, and The ArtScience Museum.

#5   Shop For Quirky Souvenirs

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Whenever international friends visit Singapore, I love presenting them with Singapore-inspired souvenirs.  However, one thing I do not love, is ‘Singapore Is A Fine City’ T-shirts.  If you’re looking for more design-driven and less clichéd options, two of my current raves are Naiise and Mandy T.

Naiise is a Singapore-based shopping portal that stocks curated designs by more than 250 brands from Singapore and around the world.  This includes homeware, art, T-shirts and fashion accessories that allude to local humour and expressions.  Many of these designs are modern, clean and intelligent.

Beautyphiles will also adore Mandy T, an artisan natural skincare atelier that will give many large brands a run for their money with tasteful and personal creations.  Mandy, founder of the eponymous label, is a former marketer and publicist who cooks up beauty remedies free from synthetic dyes, artificial fragrances, parabens and petrochemicals.  Many of her products feature fresh herbs from her very own garden.

#6  Toast To 50 Years Of Singapore At Bob’s Bar

BB

If like me, you’ve had one too many Singapore Slings, it’s time to discover a new Singapore-inspired cocktail.  Exclusively for the month of August, Bob’s Bar unveils a new national cocktail crafted by bartender Vincent Zheng.

The Red Island is made with ingredients that represent the four main ethnicities of Singapore – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian.  It is as complex and unforgettable as it sounds.  An ode to Singapore’s cultural diversity, this Shiraz wine concoction is an ideal way to round up my Singapore adventures.  Cheers to more amazing travels!

For more activities in Singapore, please visit the Capella Singapore’s website here, or contact your personal assistant for recommendations.

 

 

Super Summer Thirst Quenchers

Bob's Bar's Fresh-Pressed Mojito

Bob’s Bar’s Fresh-Pressed Mojito

Thanks to year-round summer in Singapore, ice cold drinks have become a hot weather survival essential.  Given that daytime temperatures average at 30ºC and nighttime temperatures rarely drop below 27ºC, there’s never a bad time for a chilled beverage.

When it comes to hosting, cold drinks are also the life of any party – you can always find a good crowd gathered around the cocktail bowl.  In fact, as far as Singaporeans are concerned, there’s no party without refreshing summer thirst quenchers!

Since making a good chilled beverage is an essential life-skill here, I’ve determined to learn from the best.  With that in mind, I’ve asked Bob’s Bar’s bartender Vincent Zheng, and The Knoll’s Pastry Chef Sam for their all-time crowd-pleasers.

Vincent prefers beach parties, and shares Bob’s Bar’s spin on the classic mojito.  Chef Sam, on the other hand, is known to host intimate dessert gatherings, and suggests an elegant cold-infused tea with tart apple notes. I simply couldn’t wait to have my first sip!

Recipe 1: Fresh-Pressed Mojito

Bartender’s notes: “I had my first mojito many years ago at a Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, Thailand.  Since then, mojitos have been my drink of choice for beach parties.  This Bob’s Bar recipe replaces soda water in classic mojitos with sugar cane juice. Since rum, the key alcohol in mojitos, is made of sugar cane, this recipe accentuates the rich flavour profile of rum.” – Vincent

Ingredients
Serves 1

45ml white rum
60ml fresh sugar cane juice
15ml fresh lime juice
15ml sugar syrup
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Crushed ice

Directions

Combine all ingredients and stir well. Serve in a tall glass

Tips

  • If you don’t have a blender to create crushed ice, you can replace it with ice cubes. However, if you are using ice cubes, be sure to gently crush the mint leaves with your fingers to bring out their fresh aroma.
  • For a large party, you can also make this in advance.  Prepare it in a cocktail bowl and refrigerate. Simply scale up your ingredients according to the number of guests you are expecting. However, be sure to leave the mint leaves out, and only add them before serving to prevent them from oxidising and turning brown.

Recipe 2: Apple-Infused Iced Green Tea

Chef’s notes: At least once a year, I’d throw a dessert party for my closest friends, and this subtle tea makes an excellent pairing with my creations.  Unlike hot tea, cold brewing draws out fewer tannic compounds for a lighter-bodied tea with less bitterness.  This is elevated with sweet and tart apple puree – apple puree from jarred baby food works just fine.  You can skip the sugar or artificial fruit syrups! – Chef Sam

Ingredients
Serves 6

4 teaspoons of premium green tea leaves
6 cups of water
4 bottles of baby food apple puree

Directions

  1. Freeze the baby food apple puree in ice cube trays overnight.
  2. Combine tea leaves with water in a large pitcher.
  3. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  4. Strain tea to remove tea leaves.
  5. Add frozen apple puree cubes and serve.

 

2If you love cocktails and spirits, swing by Capella Singapore’s Bob’s Bar to savour our fresh-pressed cocktails, and curated vintage and artisan collection.

And have a chat with our enthusiastic bartenders such as Vincent. They’d be happy to share recommendations and mixology tips!

 

 

 

 

All About Rum at Bob’s Bar

I recently learned that Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore features some of the region’s most rare and unique rums. Wanting to learn more about Bob’s Bar’s exclusive collection of rums, I sat down with Bob’s Bar’s lead bartender Brendon Khoo who shared more about rum.

Brendon Khoo at work creating a delicious cocktail

Brendon Khoo at work creating a delicious cocktail

Can you tell me how rum is produced?

Rum is a spirit that is made from molasses, the by-product of making sugar from sugarcane.

Can you share with me about one of the more exclusive rums that we offer?

One of the rarest rums we offer is the Diplomatico Single Vintage 2000. In the year 2000, the weather conditions were just perfect in Venezuela (high temperatures during the day, cool at night, high humidity and lower than average rainfall) that created the best and sweetest sugarcane harvest in the country’s history. It was during this season that Diplomatico created this single vintage rum which is a limited edition. The harvest was so good that the rum was created from fresh sugarcane “honey” and molasses together and pot-stilled in very old copper pot stills, which produce a rum with distinctive character. After which the rum was aged as a mixture of single malt and bourbon casks, before being finished in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks. There are not many bottles of this rum available in South East Asia but Bob’s Bar has it!

That’s amazing. What are some of the cocktails you serve that feature rum?

As a Cuban bar we try to serve cocktails that are predominantly rum-based such as Daiquiris and Mojitos which are created using white rum and Rum Old Fashioned made using dark rum.

I would love to learn more about rums. How can I do so?

We recently launched an exciting rum-tasting experience called Cuban Fever where you will be able to try three unique rums – a classic, a distilled and a premium reserve rum.

Taking place daily from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, the team and I will share the stories and tasting notes for each rum – allowing you to fully appreciate and enjoy each rum for all its glory.

Cuban Fever at Bob's Bar - experience three different rums

Cuban Fever at Bob’s Bar – experience three different rums

If you would like to make a reservation at Bob’s Bar you can contact them at +65 6591 5047 / bobsbar.singapore@capellahotels.com or book online at here.