Huggs Collective at Thomson Plaza had quite a nice ambience when it was quiet and peaceful, and since I could enjoy a 30% discount with Burpple Beyond, I went for their Iced Latte Gula (S$7.00) which was essentially espresso with Gula Melaka.

Apart from the distinct flavours of the processed coconut sugar, what was unexpected was that the coffee became much smoother and tasted frothier, even though it was iced and it sat for a few minutes before I took my first sip.

#BurppleBeyond

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Surely it had been quite a while since I have had a cup of Brown Sugar Boba Fresh Milk, and with the hype dying down somewhat, a medium cup at S$4.00 was just a treat for myself, since I was already at the stall buying food.

Well, the name of the item had said it all: the cup glazed with brown sugar syrup with tapioca pearls cooked in brown sugar syrup, and filled with fresh milk. Although this was an average cup, I was certain that it perked me up a bit.

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Probably their signature cocktail, the Lumo Uno (S$24.00) was a nice mix of Perla bianca sparkling wine, salt homey syrup, chamomile tea and lemon juice. I thought what really struck me was the subtle salty flavours that complemented the floral and citric profile of the cocktail. Being easy to drink, I thought I ordered at least three of these during my light dinner.

Love the profile but would prefer to ditch the alcohol? They also have a mocktail version of this at half the price!

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It’s been a while since I last checked out the cocktails concocted by hotels, and this glass of Mangata was a pleasant surprise, because they incorporated a surprising element — tea!

The Mangata (S$23.00) used Gryphon’s Osmanthus Sencha Tea to complement mango juice, citrus and London dry gin. It would probably not be lethal, as the taste of alcohol seemed to be well-camouflaged by the fruity and floral notes. And I guess that might just be the scary thing about unsuspecting cocktails: I might just order more!

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I got this Original Coconut Shake with Coconut Ice Cream topping (S$5.60) through Burpple Bites via Lazada. Occasionally, they would have flash sales (read: discounts) and that was when to strike, because their beverages were simply “shiok” to have.

With the Coconut Ice Cream added in, the beverage tasted really rich, but the flavours were still very authentic and enjoyable, which would be perfect in a very warm day.

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Along with their brunch menu, there was this cocktail called ‘Boshi-Maker (S$20.00). This gin-based beverage also comprised ingredients such as Umeboshi (salted Japanese plums), blueberry, lemon and Hitachino White Ale, so the drink came across as refreshing, fruity and a wonderful start to a good meal.

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Keeping up with the competition of handcrafted beverages, this brand sprouted at Suntec City Mall in the mid-2021 offering yogurt-based beverages and smoothies.

I tried out their Red Bean Tangerine Peel (right, S$5.90) classic yogurt (the preparation was probably more classic than the flavour), and I would say that it was quite exotic. Imagine a traditional red bean soup with orange peel, but this time it was incorporated into a yogurt smoothie. Yes, quite a clash of flavours if one was used to having bubble tea or fruit smoothies, but I personally found subsequent sips increasingly enjoyable, thanks to the texture of the red bean paste which added some chew. But because the staff was probably trying to mash the red bean paste within the cup, resulting in it being “glued” to the bottom, so a bit of stirring and manual mixing would be required to blend the ingredients together.

I presumed that business was picking up quite smoothly, as they opened their second outlet in I12 Katong early this year. In fact, they would be officially opening another store at City Square Mall on 5 March, so who knows, maybe they would also invade the other heartlands in the near future?

One of the most unique gin flavours that I fancied was their Earl Grey G&T (S$16.00). Infused with Earl Grey, the Singapore Dry Gin made by Brass Lion Distillery was paired with Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic and garnished with dehydrated lemon slice and lemon balm.

I felt like I was drinking a tea cocktail, but the flavours remained refreshing with distinct notes of citrus, floral and bergamot. My only gripe about this was that it was good yet the gin was not available for retail.

If not for a complimentary pass for this Guided Gin Tasting Experience, I would have not have known that we have a gin distillery in Singapore that also provided these educational experiences to gin and alcohol enthusiasts.

The activity started off with a short introduction of the company and their aspirations in producing gin with a touch of local flavours. This was followed by a good sip of each of the gin that were lined up nicely in front of me, neat, with paired tonic water and then with recommended garnishes (all prepared nicely on the wooden tray). And when everything was tried, we would get to choose to get a whole glass of gin and tonic to end off the session…… for now.

But of course, because everyone’s palates would be quite different, it would be fully understandable that their preferences would differ too. Rather than saying what I would really recommend, I would strongly advise to sit through this guided session just to try the best of our local produce.

Prior booking would be required for this experience, and I would suggest to those interested to ask someone who would be as interested to tag along for the best appreciation.

Bubbles & Dreams (S$15.00) was a lovely accessory to a delightful brunch at the Nassim Hill popup in the premises of KPO Bar. Although not everyone would fancy a cocktail at noon, this mix of Hendrick’s Gin and prosecco also contained some lemon juice, so the citric notes was not solely refreshing but also easy to drink.

The faint bubbly element was noticeable when the drink was served because it was still a little chilled, so it should be consumed before it could reach room temperature.

#BurppleEatup

A bubble tea shop sprang from Marymount Community Club in early June, providing the new local favourite as well as some bar snacks to the visitors of the building and the students from the nearby schools.

Given such a grand name, I would definitely pay attention to their special-tea items, which included the Oolong Rice Latte and their new creation called the Imperial Autumn (S$4.90 for medium-size cup). Made with home-brew chrysanthemum tea, this tea latte was rich in natural flavours as though I was having those herbal tea from Chinese medical halls, so it really gave me a sense that I am taking time for self-care.

I would also suggest to have the add-on of their home-made golden pearls at only S$0.80, because they were boiled in brown sugar and was very chewy, adding that dimension as though I was having some gummies along with the drinks.

It seemed that the crowds were constantly streaming in despite being a Saturday evening. However, as I was having my me-time at the seating area within the shop, I witnessed how the staff were still getting their footing right, so the waiting time could be a bit long during peak periods.

I was curious with how they served their hot teas, as I saw bowls that went along with teapots. I would think it could be an interesting experience to try the next time I visit this place.

We would all be familiar with the traditional coffee, where local-style roasted coffee was served with a slab of butter to increase the smoothness of the daily cuppa.

And while the beans used by The Coffee Academics was roasted much differently from the local roast, they created Bulletproof (S$6.40) which presumably was their take of this local staple. Made with espresso, water, butter, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil, the coffee promised a nice aroma and a smooth slurp.

In fact, the drink tasted best when consumed immediately, with a cube of brown sugar. So it would make a lot of sense to finish it quickly after a meal or to drink up upon serving, before the coffee could turn sour.

First world problem: What to eat for the next meal?

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