Celebrate 50 Years: 6 Unique Singapore Experiences

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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.

How to Make the Perfect Mojito

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In my mind, Mojitos are the quintessential summer cocktails as they are both refreshing and easy to drink.  And, as it is summer all year round in Singapore, they are an absolute favorite beverage here.

Recently I sat down with  Capella Singapore’s Bob’s Bar bartender, Brendan, who was happy to share his mojito knowledge with me.

“It is very important to use fresh ingredients in your mojito as compared to artificial flavours because you do not know what is in the artificial flavours,” Brendan shared.

He also explained how the taste and flavour of fresh ingredients are integral to the creation of the perfect cocktail, “Always use a good mint and if possible a freshly squeezed lime.  The acidity in the fresh lime ensures that the drink blends nicely and isn’t too tart.  Here at Bob’s Bar, we also use fresh sugar cane juice which injects an unmistakable blend of natural sweetness to the mojito.”

Created with white rum, Bob’s Fresh Pressed Mojitos are one of the many rum-based cocktails now available at Bob’s Bar.  A Cuban-inspired bar, Bob’s Bar is really the perfect place to enjoy the perfect mojito while watching the sun set into the horizon.

For those interested in re-creating Bob’s Fresh Pressed Mojito at home, here it is!

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Bob’s Fresh Pressed Mojito

Serves 1

Ingredients:

45 ml Plantation 3 Star White Rum
15 ml Fresh-pressed lime juice
60 ml Fresh-pressed sugar cane juice
10 ml Simple syrup
2 sprigs Aquaponic fresh mint leaves

Method:

  1. Build in a Collins glass.
  2. Muddle and fill with crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with grilled sugar cane stick, lime wheel and mint sprig.

 

For those who would prefer to enjoy Bob’s Fresh Pressed Mojito at Bob’s Bar, the mojito and other delicious cocktails and mocktails are available to order from 12 noon to 12 midnight daily.  Reservations can be made by calling +65 6591 5047 or emailing bobsbar.singapore@capellahotels.com.

 

Jeremy Monteiro – Singapore’s Jazz Music Maestro

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If you are like me, you will agree that the best way to wind down after a busy day is listening to live music with a cocktail in hand.  So when I found out that household name Jeremy Monteiro was going to be playing at Bob’s Bar at Capella Singapore in April, I was so excited!   He is truly a jazz icon and has been called “Singapore’s King of Swing” by many!

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with him to learn more about his music and motivations.

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Jeremy, when did you start your career in music?

My professional career started in 1977 as a bandleader and pianist for the Club 392 Quartet.

What was your most memorable gig?

Playing on the mainstage of the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1988. The concert included Latin Jazz Legend Mongo Santa Maria, Chick Corea and the Yellowjackets and was played to an audience of 3,500 people with Live broadcast across Europe.

Who are some of the most famous people you have played with?

I have played with many famous people such as James Moody, Michael Brecker, , Bobby McFerrin, Lee Ritenour, Herbie Mann, Ernie Watts, Charlie Haden, Leroy Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Vanessa Rubin, Carmen Bradford, Matt Monro and Simon & Garfunkel to name a few.

One of the most memorable experiences I had was playing with the legendary Brazilian Percussionist Paulinho Da Casta, originally from the Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 Band.

What in life motivates you?

I always strive to make the best music I can make in any given situation. This motivates me a lot. I also love seeing members of the audience leave my performances with a smile on their faces.

You are one of Singapore’s most talented musicians.  You have released almost 30 albums!  How did you learn music?

I had eight years of formal Classical Piano training from age seven onwards.  I learned jazz at first from instruction books where I taught myself and from listening to and studying hundreds of jazz albums.

What are you hoping to bring to Capella Singapore?

Bob’s Bar is really conducive to playing and listening to music. I can imagine that when we play there, it will feel as though we are playing Latin Jazz and Brazilian Jazz by some lovely beach in South America.  I hope that the music, atmosphere, great food and drinks and service will truly make the patrons feel like they have been transported to a lovely holiday destination in South America.

Capella Singapore is truly a unique location in Singapore, perhaps you can share what it is at Capella Singapore that inspires you?

I am inspired by the lovely colonial buildings juxtaposed with the beautiful sea-view and balmy sea breeze.

Thank you so much Jeremy for speaking with me.  I am thrilled to have you onboard and look forward to hearing you play.

 

Jeremy Monteiro will be playing at Bob’s Bar every Wednesday to Friday from April 2014 onwards starting from 7:00 pm.  Table reservations can be made by ringing Bob’s Bar at +65 6591 5047 or emailing them at bobsbar.singapore@capellahotels.com.