Brass Lion Distillery is Singapore's first multi-conceptual space to produce locally made gin
Born and raised
The gin trend isn't stopping just yet with even more players in the market now. Yes, even Singapore has hopped on the bandwagon. The newly launched Brass Lion Distillery is the country's first full-fledged micro-distillery specialising in producing small batch craft spirits.
The brand kicks off with its flagship product — the Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin — a tropical gin, which draws inspiration from the region's centuries-old spice trade. Besides the distillery, the space at 40 Alexandra Terrace also boasts a tasting room, R&D lab, retail space, bottle personalisation room and herb garden.
Jamie Koh, founder and managing director of Brass Lion Distillery (BLD) is the brainchild behind this concept. "The idea was conceptualised in 2012 when I realised that Singapore did not have a spirit to call its own. There are cocktails like the gin-based Singapore Sling, but we always used gins that were not from Singapore. We felt that creating a Singaporean distillery was right given how the cocktail and spirits scene here has matured." In the same year, Koh also enrolled in a distilling course in the US. And to further learn the ropes of distilling, for the following two years, she visited and interned at various distilleries around the US and Europe. To develop the recipe for the Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin, Jamie worked closely with an experienced master distiller in Black Forest, Germany.
What's in the flagship bottle?
There is a whopping number of botanicals — 22 to be exact. Aside from the all-important juniper (which is sourced from Macedonia), this New World gin has fragrant and punchy notes of torch ginger flower, pomelo peel, mandarin peel, angelica root, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chrysanthemum flowers, and lemongrass. Interestingly, most botanicals are either sourced from local wet markets, or grown in the distillery's on-site herb garden. There you'll find an assortment of herbs like lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint and kaffir lime leaves, specifically grown for use in the distillation process.
Furthermore, the citruses are hand-peeled and dried to lend a more intense, fruity flavour to the gin. The juniper berries are hand-pressed and macerated for over 36 hours, before being distilled with the remaining botanicals in a customised 150-litre German-made hybrid pot still. The result? A classic yet modern spirit that is citrusy and floral. The small batches of gin are finally hand-labelled and hand-bottled. "The Brass Lion Singapore dry gin is perfect for our weather as it is light, crisp and refreshing making it a versatile gin that is easy to mix," adds Koh.
In future, there will also be an on-site rickhouse where spirits, like rum and an assortment of liquors, can be barrel-aged before being bottled. "We plan to manufacture other small batch craft spirits, aside from gin. Currently, aside from the flagship Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin, we also have a Pahit Gin, a pink bitters-tinged gin; and a Butterfly Pea Flower Gin, which has a lovely blue hue and changes colour when mixed," says Koh.
Tasting and crafting sessions
The upper floor of the multi-concept Brass Lion Distillery is home to a retail corner and tasting room, which serves a variety of gin-based cocktails and light bites that pair well with these drinks. You will get to sample refreshing gin & tonics, classic martinis and special Brass Lion cocktails such as Matcha Baby, a concoction of Brass Lion Gin, limoncello, lime juice, yuzu jam, matcha powder, egg white, and soda.
If you're a full-fledged gin buff, why not join the personalised tour of the space to learn about the distilling process. To top it off, you get to enjoy two cocktails of your choice for $40. Brass Lion Distillery's R&D lab even welcomes enthusiasts to craft their own bottle of gin. You will start the workshop with a base spirit, and then be taken around the herb garden and spice room to select your own botanicals. After that, you will be taught how to create a well-balanced gin based on your preferred flavour profile. As if that's not fun enough, complimentary tipples are included. You will also have the option of adding your name onto your own bottle of gin at the dedicated bottle personalisation room. Your customised gin is perfect as a keepsake or a special gift.
"We find that drinkers in Singapore are increasingly looking for unique experiences, so it was important to create an experiential space that guests can be immersed in. The space was designed so that we can share more about how our products are made, and conduct workshops and tasting sessions. It was a challenge to find a space that could fit what we want, yet was not too out of the way. We don't just focus on creating alcohol at Brass Lion Distillery, we also want to share and educate our consumers about gin and other kinds of spirits. For us, we wanted to be able to continue distilling other spirits that still tell a uniquely Singaporean and Southeast Asian story," shares Koh.
40 Alexandra Terrace, Tel: 6954 0602