Indian restaurant/bar Flying Monkey sits among the bustle of Bugis, a casual little nook home to fiery small plates and colorful cocktails. After its opening in 2017, the eatery is sprucing up its menu of liquid libations – and this time, it’s taking inspiration from Bollywood.
With famous actors, poets, and athletes in mind, the cocktail menu features sprinklings of traditional Indian spices and ingredients in its creations, which play around with bold flavors.
Start slow with a glass of Baby Doll ($18), a drink named after the Bollywood banger by Sunny Leon, a porn star-turned-actress. With a splash of saffron topping vodka pineapple juice, vanilla extract, and lemon, the aromatic cocktail goes down smooth and easy.
If you prefer your cocktails coming at you guns blazing, Holy Water ($20) is a potent recipe of Hendrick’s gin, Reyka vodka, dry vermouth, and jasmine. Don’t let its name or clear appearance fool you – too many sips of this and you’ll soon be confessing all your transgressions.
Smoothie drinkers will appreciate the Master Blaster ($20), the bar’s homage to renowned cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, made of 12-year-old Glenfiddich, coconut liquor, coconut cream, pistachio, and coconut water. Every sip is creamy but not overwhelmingly so, with a pleasant sweetness that makes you wanna down it all and order another round.
In a similar vein, Lassi Wassi ($20) adds a dash of Monkey Shoulder whisky to the iconic Indian yogurt drink, freshened up with a pinch of turmeric.
But really, the winners here are the two spice-laden concoctions. Bang Bang ($19), influenced by the Bollywood action comedy of the same name, blends 10-year-old Laphroaig whisky with Hendrick’s gin, sweet vermouth, agave, lemon juice, and flavors from fresh curry leaves, giving the drink an unexpected flare of heat at the end.
Meanwhile, named after the popular 2009 Indian Western flick, Quick Gun Murugun ($19) is red hot delicious. A mix of tequila, mescal, agave, Cointreau, lemon, green chilli, and gunpowder spice (which contains red chillies, lentils, asafetida, black pepper, and rice), the liquid blazes down your throat in the most satisfying way. It’s not spicy in an eye-tearing manner, but it’s definitely got more of a kick than anything else on the menu.
Other unique ingredients include tamarind, Darjeeling tea, chai, and rosewater, so you have plenty of options to choose from, depending on the flavors that call out to you. And don’t forget to ask the bartender about the stories behind these cocktails for a little entertaining background information.
However, if you made it your 2019 resolution to give your liver a break, try a couple mocktails ($8) like Aam Panna, a blend of mango, basil, and mint, or Virgin White Wine, a mix of elderflower, jasmine, and white grape juice instead.
While you sip, nibble on Indian bites made tender and charred from the kitchen’s tandoors, with classics like chicken biryani, butter chicken, nalli nihari (lamb shank), vada pav (spicy sliders with masala potato), and tandoori chicken.
Flying Monkey is at 67/68 Bussorah St.
6291-0695. Tues-Sun noon-2:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm.