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Their first experience with whisky started with Nan.
Fortunately for Matthew and Elaine, while both their work involves whisky they don’t work so closely enough to run the risk of having work disagreements invading their home.If he had met them, the great philosopher Aristotle would definitely have used that phrase he coined on these power couples – some visible, others less so – in Singapore’s whisky and nightlife scene.We talk to four couples who have made their mark in Singapore’s whisky/whiskey industry about what makes them tick, and how they’ll continue to influence our whisky drinking habits.Throughout their visit they would continually notice locally-produced handcrafted spirits behind the bar or on menus; by the time they finished tasting through Distillery Row in Portland, Oregon they knew they had to bring some of those spirits in.Thus began spirits distribution company Liberty Spirits Asia, and the restaurant bar would be The Secret Mermaid, making cocktails using those craft whiskies, gins, vodkas and other spirits the former brought in.Over the next couple of years both would spend evenings and weekends experimenting with classic cocktails at home, playing host to friends and friends-of-friends over multiple drinking sessions.
Guo Yi, who was flying with Singapore Airlines, would travel around the world hunting for unique spirits and liqueurs to use at those weekend jaunts, and scouring mom and pop shops across various cities for rare bottles such as Buffalo Trace Antique Collection to the likes of George T. By the end of 2011, Indra and Guo Yi felt they were ready to open a bar.
The enterprising young man later opened the first outlet of his Standing Sushi Bar chain in Raffles Place at a tender age of 32 years old, and that was where he met Lim Hui Nan, who was a regular at the sushi joint.
“I was working there frequently as a waiter, cashier, and dishwasher,” he remembers, “(and) since Nan was a regular there, we were talking frequently with each other.” One day he plucked up the courage to ask her out for a drink, then more drinks, and that soon developed into something more serious.
Matthew first met Elaine Seah through a former colleague who studied in university with her.
And despite the distance they would pursue a relationship, until he decided to quit his job and move to Singapore to be with Elaine.
Guo Yi quit her job to search for a venue to start Jigger & Pony, which would be the first cocktail bar in Singapore that would fully focus on classic cocktails.