Diner

Herbal ingredients key to Apothecary’s elixirs and tonics

12:14 SGT October 16, 2017
Herbal
Like in culinary, fresh and premium ingredients play important roles in the beverage sector, a fact that Oxwell & Co’s new Apothecary bar, nestled on the third floor of a Singapore heritage shophouse on Ann Siang Hill, takes to heart.

In cooking you use salt and pepper. Without the salt and pepper, the dish is incomplete,” Farid Bashir, operations manager for F&B establishment Oxwell & Co, explains. “For the beverage side, a bartender knows that fresh ingredients play a very big part in making the drinks.”

Bashir adds that choosing the right ingredients will help cocktails and other drinks stand out in terms of flavours, notes, visuals and taste. “If you don’t know about the ingredients that you put into your food or drink, it will be hard for you to predict how it will taste,” he says.

The Apothecary’s de-constructed way of presenting its drinks is also a novel way for customers to ‘play’ with the ingredients.

At the Apothecary, Bashir and his team worked with herbal ingredients to fit the bar’s ‘medicinal’ concept. Most of the herbs such as thyme, tarragon, mint and rosemary come from the establishment’s rooftop herb garden — created when Oxwell & Co first opened a rooftop bar serving ‘botanical-inspired’ drinks three years ago. Bashir says the only herbs the company orders outside are those needed for fast-moving
drinks, such as sage.

In addition, the fresh herbs harvested from this garden not only provide both the Apothecary and the rooftop bars with its herbal needs, but Oxwell & Co’s kitchen as well. The British-inspired gastropub on the first  level also uses the harvested herbs from the rooftop for its dishes. “We like to use fresh ingredients; it is our priority,” says Bashir.

Meanwhile, the Apothecary’s de-constructed way of presenting its drinks, is also a novel way for customers to ‘play’ with the ingredients of their drink. For example, the Croak & Wheeze Relief, which mimics a tonic for cough, is presented with different components for the drink inside medicine bottles.

At the Apothecary, Bashir and his team worked with herbal ingredients to fit the bar’s ‘medicinal’ concept. Most of the herbs such as thyme, tarragon, mint and rosemary come from the establishment’s rooftop herb garden — created when Oxwell & Co first opened a rooftop bar serving ‘botanical-inspired’ drinks three years ago.

“We separate the ingredients, serve it on a tray, and we tell the guests what they should do with different ingredients on the tray, and why,” Bashir explains. He adds: “Before we start a drink, we will always find a concept.” At the Apothecary, ordering a drink is akin to ‘seeing a doctor’ about an illness, and getting a drink remedy to ‘cure’ the illness. Even the bartender wears a lab coat, to adhere to the Apothecary’s medicinal hall ambience.

Another unusual drink is the Pearly White Polish. The Apothecary team creates a raspberry gel inside a toothpaste tube that goes with a glass of Balvenie 12-year-old whiskey, elderflowers and citrus. Grapefruit soda, in a medicinal-looking bottle, is included on the tray. The guests can then mix the soda with the drink, with the option to consume the ‘toothpaste’ solo using a tiny toothbrush, or mix it with the drink as well.

The Apothecary also offers Fennicilin, its name a pun on Penicillin. The drink is made of Monkey Shoulder Whisky, Islay Malt Whisky, honey fennel syrup, root ginger and citrus. Bashir says having a herb garden within the establishment has a lot of advantages.

“It helps open the mind of the chef and the sommelier, because they see what is fresh, and we can educate the chefs and bartenders on the use these fresh items,” he concludes.