Even the greatest bartenders hail from humble beginnings. The legendary Hidetsugu Ueno from Tokyo’s Bar High Five, master of the four-point hard shake and carver of ice diamonds, probably worked the barback life of cleaning counters and restocking shelves in his youth. This year, we recognise the Top Four Rising Star contenders in Singapore – young bartenders on the up and up in the scene – and get an insight on their ascent to renown.
Carmen Cheang – Gibson
Before she got into crafting mouth-watering cocktails for hipster folk at Gibson, Carmen Cheang was in the coffee as a barista at hot Singaporean caffeine joints (like Crackerjack back in 2017). And while the differences between the two can seem (literally) night and day, she still loves the familiar feeling of being able to meet new guests and welcoming familiar regulars. Nowadays, you’ll catch her shaking up lethal tipples and tending to the after-work crowd. If you’re in the area and looking for some good conversation, split a martini or two with Gibson’s Rising Star.
Catch Carmen at Gibson, located at Level 2, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089834, p. 9114 8385. Open Mon-Thu 6pm-1am, Fri-Sat 6pm-2am. Closed Sun. Happy hour 6-8pm daily, all day happy hour oysters on Tue.
Demitria Dana Paramita – SKAI, Swissôtel The Stamford
Demi didn’t simply slip into the bar scene by chance – fate practically threw her into it. After pulling out of a university pastry competition, the chef-in-training was egged on to try mocktail making in the Monin Coffee Creativity Cup by her seniors. Now, SKAI’s Head Bartender is knee-deep in cocktail culture, shaking up Daiquiris and working closely with industry veterans (and her personal heroes) like Antidote’s Bannie Kang.
Discuss distillates with Demi at SKAI, located at Level 70, Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Road, Singapore 178882, p. +65 6837 3322. Opens Mon-Thu 5pm-1am, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat 4pm-2am, Sun 4pm-1am.
Benedict Poh – The Monarchy
When it comes to new drinks, Ben’s philosophy has always revolved around pushing boundaries. True to form, his most recent unconventional creation includes the chicken noodle soup-inspired brew at the Glenfiddich World’s Most Experimental Bartender2019 competition. These days, you’re most likely to catch him working the bar at The Monarchy on Tras Street, or kicking back with a Boilermaker and a swig of Jamaican rum.
Like Demi, Mark fell into bartending after spending a few good years cooking professionally. Inspired by watching videos and learning from industry giants like Peter Chua, Louis Tan and Joe Alessandroni, Mark’s fall down the rabbit hole landed himself a position in Junior The Pocket Bar on Tanjong Pagar Road. Their menu’s change once every six months, with the most recent ski lodge-inspired Petite Chalet paying tribute to the 1970s après ski scene.
Meet Mark at Junior The Pocket Bar, located at 43 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088464, p. +65 8121 1462. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-12am. Closed Sun.
Top Image By Dave Jony
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