Over the past decade, Singapore has soared to the top of the global cocktail scene. For years, the city-state was only associated with the bittersweet sling that bore its name. Indeed, it’s a popular tipple at the iconic location of the Long Bar at the legendary Raffles Hotel. But this is the only game in town, and it doesn’t look as if this is the most sophisticated alcoholic preparation.
Fast forward to today, and Singapore is home to dozens of world-class drinks establishments, many of which feature on the world’s 50 best lists. The annual contest will be held in person here in the city this month, marking its first foray outside Europe.
And it turns out that this emerging city is very well versed not only in cocktails, but also in the sensational spirits used to make them. Since 2019, it has also been home to the Singapore World Spirits Competition, an annual judging panel held by the Tasting Alliance (the same organization responsible for the San Francisco World Spirits Competition). It is currently considered one of the most prestigious events of its kind. all In Asia, hundreds of spirits across all major categories are valued by some of the region’s most respected palates.
Earlier this year, the Singapore World Spirits Competition announced the list of winners for 2023. And when it comes to bourbon, that title was chosen for a bottle that remains relatively obscure to most American whiskey drinkers: Pegleg Porker. If you consider yourself a fan of this category, take note.
The SWSC winner is actually a “Tennessee bourbon” aged in virgin charred oak for four to six years. That unusual name was coined by founder and award-winning pitmaster Carrie Bringle. He intentionally bottled the whiskey he thought would be perfect for barbecue. This results in strong caramel and honey notes on the nose and a smoky, tangy aroma throughout the mouth. All of it has a distinctly nutty mouthfeel, allowing you to mull over a plethora of flavors as each sip slowly fades into the finish.
Although not officially listed on the label, the liquid was likely sourced from the George Dickel Distillery in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The signature 84% corn mash bill is nearly to die for. Therefore, it must have also undergone a charcoal aging process four to six years ago before being put into barrels. Additionally, the bourbon is filtered through hickory charcoal just before bottling. This helps explain some of the whiskey’s easy-drinking essence, poured at a 90-degree proof point.
For now, if you see Peg Leg Poker Tennessee Straight Bourbon on the shelves with an estimated retail price of nearly $40 a bottle, consider it a bargain. Online sites are already selling the liquid for $100. Of course, it goes easily with pulled pork and cornbread. But when you drink it in Singapore, it goes surprisingly well with laksa and chilli crab.