It’s hidden, it’s homey, it’s local and it’s coming from the best people in the industry. IB HQ, with a door sign that is overwhelmed by the neon box of the pho cafe below it, is a discovery, even a treasure in Kampong Glam, Singapore.
Kamil Foltan, of the famed Tippling Club and Potato Head Family, founded The Indigenous Bartender in December 2016 with wife Zurina Bryant. It is a platform for bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts who respect, explore and crave for locally sourced ingredients. Around six months later the headquarters for this community was established – IB HQ, or The Indigenous Bartender Headquarters.
The name sounds like a corporate office, but the place looks more like the pantry and living room of Joe – your old friend from the sixth grade who just got married with Jane, another old friend of yours who decided to live cool together forever after. You sit in the bar, check out what’s in season – be it pineapple for the 2019 Chinese New Year, or pear, or wasabi – and try the magic created out of it. You bring some friends and kick back in the intimate living room.
From the in-house distillery comes meticulous and distinctive infusions. There is no limit when it comes to geeking out for the sake of respectable taste. The Old Fashioned Musa is redefined with banana-infused Monkey Shoulder scotch, chocolate bitters and maple syrup. The Bloody Mary is rendered using a Japanese taste palette with soy sauce, umeshu, sesame oil and tequila and tomato juice as the usual suspects. Wai Lin – appeared on the menu for their opening bi-monthly menu – is a sophisticated and refreshing mix of matcha gin, yuzu vodka, and Lillet Blanc. Pi Pa is homemade pineapple caramel with parsnip vodka.
Unassuming at its best, IB HQ is unearthed for those who are seeking the real thing without the hassle of too much style. It’s the place to meet your new old buddies.