Try These Austronesian-Inspired Drinks at The Capitol Kempinski

The Bar at 15 Stamford has introduced a new cocktail menu that celebrates the indigenous islanders of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Left to right: A glass of Ilha Formosa 1542; bar manager Edriane Lim. (All photos courtesy of The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore)

Cocktail aficionados with a taste for the past now have even more reason to swing by The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore. Its latest creative concoctions pay tribute to the epic migration of the Austronesians, who emerged out of Taiwan millennia ago, settled great swaths of maritime Southeast Asia, and spread across the Pacific to Hawaii, New Zealand, and Easter Island. They were the first peoples to invent ocean-going sailing technology.

Developed by The Bar at 15 Stamford’s manager Edriane Lim and his team, these tipples explore tales of wayfaring and trade through their use of spirits, spices, and garnishes. Ten of the 16 cocktails on the new menu are inspired by countries home to large Austronesian populations, as well as key moments in their histories. For example, Ilha Formosa 1542 alludes to the name Portuguese mariners gave Taiwan (“Beautiful Island”) when they first sighted it that year. The refreshing drink is composed of Tie Guan Yin and jasmine tea shaken with cognac, gin, and dry vermouth and served in a tumbler glass.

Borobudur 1619 recalls Indonesia’s most well-known Buddhist monument and the date the Dutch East India Company founded Batavia (modern-day Jakarta). Black Barrel rum by Barbadian distillery Mount Gay is mixed with a blend of Indonesian- and Fijian-made sugarcane liquor, alongside ginger, coconut, citrus, and sugar; the result has notes of bir pletok, created by Jakarta’s creole Betawi community as a non-alcoholic alternative to beer.

The classic retro interior at The Bar at 15 Stamford.

Left to right: Lakatoi 1885 was inspired by Papua New Guinea; Borobudur 1619 comes in a tiki mug.

The Philippines, meanwhile, is represented by Galleon 1565, whose name recalls the fabled Manila galleons and the opening of a trans-Pacific trade route between Luzon and Acapulco in the mid-16th century. Featuring Don Papa and Bacardi Ocho rum, as well as horchata, coconut, almond, and pandan, this tipple merges the flavors of Southeast Asia and Latin America.

The Lakatoi 1885 virtually transports drinkers to the southern coast of Papua New Guinea; it gets its name from the double-hulled canoes used by the Motu people for their annual hiri (trade) voyages. And since bananas were traditionally a main export for the Motu, Lim has combined rum with banana liqueur, Aperol citrus, and orange bitters. New Zealand also gets a nod through the Endeavor 1769, a gin and mezcal cocktail named after the ship James Cook sailed when he landed on Aotearoa. Infused with citrus, passion fruit, and kiwi, the drink is served in a tall glass and topped with edible glitter.

The remainder of the new menu is dedicated to signature cocktails like the Peranakan Old Fashioned and Remember the Balestiers, which spotlights the story of Joseph Balestier, the first American consul to Singapore. Balestier briefly dabbled in rum production during the late 1830s, when he lived on the site where The Capitol Kempinski now stands.

The Peranakan Old Fashioned incorporates palm sugar and other ingredients used in Nonya cooking.

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