Tsukiji Fizz at Nutmeg and Clove in Singapore. By Dan Bignold.
What is it? One of several new creations appearing on the just-updated menu at Singapore’s Nutmeg and Clove. The 20-strong list is re-polished every quarter with fresh takes on the house style: Singapore history as told through Southeast Asian ingredients, combined with owner Colin Chia’s keen eye for cocktail trends worldwide. This iteration also features a section incorporating Japanese flavours, however. Take the Tsukiji Fizz. Named after the Tokyo fish market, it’s a twist on the Ramos Gin Fizz, but with a significant extra ingredient from the ocean – squid ink – which Chia uses to add umami character in the drink.
How is it made? It’s a Ramos Gin Fizz with half, or maybe a full barspoon of squid ink, depending on your preference for the savoury. The thick, black goo is sticky though, so for a drink that already needs a lot of shaking, the bartender has to take the additional step of beating the ink in with the other ingredients in the tin first. After decanting, it’s garnished with a sheet of sweet-salty nori.
How does it taste? The effort is worth it. A Ramos, despite the dairy, is a deceptively ethereal drink. Delicate and light – refreshing – even with that ounce of double cream. Add the ink, and the liquid transforms into a grey, black-speckled drink (like a black sesame milk, but with a huge grey foam), and the tones get counter-intuitively brighter. It must be the umami: a very subtle brininess barely registers on the first sip, but the drink’s citrus flavours are dialled up and the gin’s botanicals enhanced. If the ink didn’t blacken liquid creations so effectively, bartenders might be tempted to slip some in everything. And then, right on the finish the final impression turns to chocolate – an acidic, citrusy, dark chocolate – which is neither savoury nor salty (typical umami descriptors), but is definitely mouth-coating and undeniably satisfying (more umami clues).
Nutmeg and Clove / 10A Ann Siang Road, Singapore / +65 6423 9885 / nutmegandclove.com.sg