Favourite haunts, guilty pleasures and off-duty styles from four tastemakers of Singapore’s gastronomy scene.
Raising the bar in an industry traditionally dominated by men, Kino Soh is the founder and head bartender of Highball, an all-female bar specialising in cocktails of the same name. The local entrepreneur’s first foray into the food and beverage scene as a barback in some of Singapore’s top restaurants exposed her to exciting flavours and techniques, arming her with the tools to create star concoctions at hip watering holes like Bar Stories and FRESH!, and to also start Hopscotch in 2014. She has since streamlined her processes to focus on one cocktail but in 40 variations—the highball— part spirit, part mixer served over ice.
How did the all-female highball bar come about?
I encountered numerous challenges when I started on my bartending journey. At that time, there weren’t many female bartenders or cocktail bars in Singapore. I’m glad to say that I've moved past that and since then, I’ve endeavoured to make a difference. Jobs for male bartenders in Singapore are in abundance, but not so much for women, especially when you don’t already have the basic skill set as a foundation. I want to provide a conducive platform for ladies who are embarking on bartending journeys so that they can create stories of own. It’s a place where they can share knowledge, and find strength and confidence, three bars that are at the top of your list.
High Five for its attentive service, drinks that never beat and for having the best bartenders in the world; in London for the way they make you feel like such a scrumptious bar food and how the bartenders just realise how great their drinks are; and London Cocktail for its thrilling, impromptu fire-breathing shows.
What do you wear on a night-out?
T-shirt, denim cut-offs, a varsity jacket and high-cut leather boots, topped off with my very own Highball cap,
comfortable—but just right to get into any club.
What is the funniest pick-up line you’ve heard at the bar? you a magician? Because when I look at you, everyone else disappears.
How well can you hold your liquor?
On a scale of one to 10, I’d say seven. My choice of poison is whisky or rum.