Since its inception eight years ago, the award-winning Manhattan Bar at Regent Singapore has offered menus that showcase New York’s rich history, cultures and flavors. After tackling the city’s neighborhoods and eras, Manhattan’s third menu concept launched in 2020 was inspired by six city personalities – and recently they’ve added six more icons, like the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, home.
Expect a new pop-up book that takes you through the stories of these richly intertwined Manhattanites with 18 new cocktails, the result of the hard work and research of Bar Manager Rusty Cerven and his team.
Champagne cocktails in Manhattan are always well balanced and gorgeous, and so our first drink had to be Be My Guest ($25), which pays homage to actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg. An accomplished chef herself, who went so far as to publish her own book, The Unqualified Hostess in 2019, the cocktail encapsulates the very spirit of hospitality.
Pairing vodka and champagne with lots of fruit and aromatic liqueurs like the Italicus, it goes down almost too easily with great body and familiar flavors – definitely a good sign for the rest of the night.
For something more offbeat that will make a perfect first cocktail, look to Yoko Ono for Peas and Love ($28). Another legendary drink, it brings to life the artist and activist’s Pea Piece movement, where she planted peas (as a symbol of peace) in random places for strangers to find.
Despite the presence of green peas and cucumber in the mix, the herbal hint does not cross the vegetal line with the use of Japanese Tatsumi gin, bringing more complex woody and spicy notes, and the addition of soda for a light excitement.
With Hamilton on my bucket list, we couldn’t skip the Lin Manuel Miranda section of the menu. The Vega Alta Rum ($25) contains influences from Puerto Rican roots and Inwood, the first Manhattan neighborhood he lived in and which has long been considered New York’s jumping-off point for different migrant groups. Although the hot coconut-lime mousse is lukewarm by the time it arrives, it doesn’t detract from the flavors of the cocktail, derived from eight-year-old Bacardi Reserve Ocho orgeat, pineapple and turmeric.
We also learn more about Andy Warhol with Marilyn ($29), which references both pop art images of Marilyn Monroe and the 1936 film starring Shirley Temple. It’s one of the sweetest (and most dangerous) drinks on the menu, featuring osmanthus tea, kaffir lime and pomegranate cordial, and ginger on a Maker’s Mark Private base. Select Bourbon.
If you miss the previous personalities, don’t worry. The Hall of Fame section sees a drink from each of the previous icons, like pop culture forward 3000 ($26). A tip for the iconic role of Robert Downey Jr, the name comes from a line of Iron Man’s daughter in Avengers Endgame (remember “I love you 3000”?).
We’re also happy to see a Ramones-inspired leather jacket ($26) on the menu. Served with dancing billows of smoke, the fiery blend of bourbon, aged rum, amaro and red vermouth has become a favorite.
Manhattan has always had one of the best bar menus, and this iteration is no different. Satisfy crispy cravings with their signature Manhattan Lobster Taco ($34) – the free crispy shell a textural treat with butter-poached lobster, citrus remoulade, sweet corn and tomato.
Need to line your stomach? You can’t go wrong with the greasy and savory Reuben Sandwich ($25) served with kettle fries, or the classic Truffle Mac ‘N’ Cheese ($24), amped up with porcini mushrooms and organic Nicasio cheese.
manhattan is located at Level 2, Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715, p. +65 6725 3377. Open Wednesday-Thursday 5pm-midnight, Friday-Saturday 5pm-1am, and Sunday 12pm-3pm for adults-only Sunday Cocktail Brunch. Closed Mon & Tues.
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This article was first published in City Nomads.