Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020 Best Bar in Asia: Jigger & Pony
If you’ve ever been to Jigger & Pony in Singapore, you will understand why this outstanding hotel bar has earned the number one spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2020. From their outstanding hospitality and bar programme, their systematic approach to training is but one of the many highlights that that bar offers, we speak to Bar Manager Jerrold Khoo to learn a bit more about how much goes in to a jigger and pony.
Jigger & Pony is named after the measuring device used by bartenders to make cocktails accurately. We are a cocktail bar with a focus on classics and inventive twists, and served up with our convivial hospitality. Previously on Amoy Street for 6 years, we are now located in Amara Hotel since September 2018.
Congratulations on Jigger & Pony winning both Best Bar in Asia and Best Bar in Singapore. What do you think contributed to this win?
Thank you very much! We are extremely grateful for the support from our industry peers. I think it is the team’s dedication to the craft, the passion to learn and go further, to provide the best experience for our customers and our community, contributed to Jigger & Pony’s growth in Asia.
Tell us a bit about your bar programme and what makes it unique…
In our Bar Programme, there are seven tiers which starts from the role of an Apprentice to Senior Apprentice, who will be assessed through our J&P Bartender’s Test to be a competent Bartender. The Bartenders are able to let his/her leadership shine, taking on the role of a Senior Bartender next, this was the most enjoyable role I been through as I was so attached to the bar that I knew the bar inside out with regards to stock level, where things are kept, and I got to mentor and monitor the Apprentices daily.
Then we have the Principal Bartender, who takes care of the team, and on creativity development. There is also a Bar Manager, that’s my current role, I oversee the Bar Operations and ensuring that the team’s development is on the right track. Then there is Aki, the Bar Programme Director, he is overall in charge of anything Beverage related for the group.
Can you tell us something interesting about Jigger & Pony that not many people might know of?
Some people will remember this, we used to serve complimentary canapés from 6 to 8 pm when we were still at Amoy Street! It was our Aperitivo Hour, which has since become Happy Hour.
How do you feel that the best bar in Asia is a bar from Singapore?
Frankly, I am proud to be amongst all the fantastic bars on the list, and I am ecstatic that we have brought it back to my home city of Singapore! It was indeed a patriotic moment and I’m sure that this will spur the team even more.
How do you differentiate a good bar from a great bar, in your opinion?
In my opinion, a great bar has personality and X-Factor, attention to details from service to atmosphere, takes the extra mile, is consistently evolving, run by a dedicated hospitality team.
Name 3 underrated bars in Singapore that you’d go to on your day off…
RPM, Chihuly Lounge and Platform.
Care to share a personal cocktail that you like making?
I have a simple but delicious cocktail that I really like…
- 30ml Hendricks
- 25ml St Germain
- 20ml Lemon Juice
- 20ml Egg White
- 5ml Sugar Syrup
Cut a small part of a Japanese Cucumber, roughly 1/2 by 1/2 inch, and slightly muddle into the shaker after adding the Gin.
3 must try drinks at Jigger & Pony and why.
These three latest cocktails are from our April Issue Menu: –
The Blanc De Noir, a cocktail cleverly inspired by the Champagne made from Red Grapes only, is created by our Korean Senior Bartender Uno. The Deconstruct to Construct principle of creating cocktails is applied here. Delicious.
The Cacao Gin Sling, an elegantly complex long drink made with cold brewed cacao nibs, created by our Italian Senior Bartender Silvio. Driven by his love for Chocolate, a collaboration with local based Bean to Bar Chocolate makers called ‘Fossa’, was born into the Kindred Spirits section of our menu. Rather than simply using Chocolate Liqueur, this drink highlights Chocolate in a different angle, it is another approach we create cocktails.
Devil’s Navy, a frothier take on the classic Army & Navy, created by our Singaporean-Eurasian Senior Bartender Joash, some of you will be familiar with Eurasian cuisine; Devil’s Curry and Sugee Cake, which he has taken influence from Candlenut and Almonds to enhance the Orgeat flavours in Army & Navy. This approach, is to recreate an original ingredient with other materials, for example in this case is to make a Candlenut based Orgeat Syrup.
At Jigger & Pony, we embrace the team’s diversity to allow them to shine, this helps to broaden our creativity and ideas.
Any advice to young bartenders wanting to enter the industry?
Find and stick with a company that has same values and goals as you, and work hard! Practice patience, stay humble and hone both hard and soft skills, all these will help you to love what you do, and do it well.
How has the Covid-19 affected your bar and how is Jigger & Pony adapting during the Circuit Breaker?
As with most businesses, our Revenue has dropped a significant amount due to the circuit breaker. Thankfully as an essential business, we are able to do takeaways/deliveries. We have adapted in a matter of days and weeks, first by consolidating our manpower and menus from across the group’s 5 venues, operating only at Humpback, for delivery. It is a new territory that we’ve never set foot before, as we enjoy that human touch, and that the experience is real at the venues. During this time, we’ve seen the love from our regulars, we’re also glad to be able a part of the process where people are sending our food and cocktails as gift to their friends and family. Some of the team are also upgrading their knowledge and skills, by attending e-courses, which is a government supported initiative. Since we were not able to celebrate the A50BB placing, our hearts are full with all the congratulatory messages from around the world, and we can’t wait to reopen and see everyone again!