With its melting pot of heritage, a strategic location as a transport hub and access to a wide variety of ingredients, Singapore has a unique local food scene that is a microcosm of the larger culture. Many well-known Singaporean dishes such as the chicken rice, rojak and chilli crab are inspired by different cultures and the readily available ingredients in the local markets.
In producing a special collector’s item gin with Brass Lion Distillery, SIA and STB hope to encapsulate a taste of Singapore through the ingredients used. Two cabin crew members, flight steward Shawn Lim and flight stewardess Elizabeth Quek, were invited by Brass Lion Distillery’s founder, Jamie Koh, to collaborate on the development of the gin, because she knew that they were both well-travelled and familiar with local and international flavours.
Those who have flown with SIA may recognise Elizabeth. She is the crew member who brings us through the safety features of the aircraft in the inflight safety video. Outside of work, Elizabeth is an explorer, always on the lookout for delectable food. When Elizabeth is in her sarong kebaya uniform, she is also able to marry her passion for food with work. One of the frequent questions she gets from passengers are food recommendations in a particular city, and Elizabeth always has a ready list to share with them.
Shawn is one of the air-sommeliers with SIA. His training as a sommelier has given him a more discerning palette and better understanding of how different ingredients and flavour profiles work together. This expertise has also sparked his interest in exploring new food pairings.
Apart from being a full-fledged working distillery, Brass Lion also has a gin school for participants to learn and create their own craft gin. Jamie conducted a masterclass for Elizabeth and Shawn, who learnt more about the different flavour profiles and characteristics of gin.
After several discussions, the trio selected a blend of pineapple, hawthorn and calamansi as the key ingredients for the gin. The result was a refreshing taste, suitable for a tropical climate and very reminiscent of Singapore.
When it came to naming and designing the label for this very special gin, the team drew inspiration from another icon of Singapore: the SIA cabin crew’s sarong kebaya. After all, not only is the SIA batik inspired by 12 different flowers native to the island, the classic design is familiar to travellers from around the world. “[The kebaya’s] floral motifs are instantly recognisable and reflect timeless beauty and elegance,” Jamie says.
The result is the Batik Gin, which will bring you through a journey of Singapore – from bottle to first sip.
Produced in small batches only, the Batik Gin is available via KrisShop.