The well-loved craftmaster of locally-made spirits and flavours, Compendium Spirits, has finally set up an iconic home in the heart of Singapore. Named Anthology, the three-storey heritage shophouse at Circular Road is where you can explore the world of Compendium Spirits and taste its full range, including limited edition releases.
A bar and so much more, Anthology has a broader mission: to share its profound expertise cultivated over years of rigorous research and experimentation in the realm of spirit production. For curious imbibers, this will be an exciting playground for educational experiences through cocktail-making workshops, mixology masterclasses, and more.
On Level 1, you’ll find the main bar where tasting flights take customers on a learning journey from ingredients to methods in spirit production. Here, you can discover how simple ingredients like rice, honey, coconut or sugarcane become various forms of delicious spirits.
For cocktail lovers, brand and beverage director Dannon Har has created a diverse array of libations based on the classics. Teh-Groni ($21) is inspired by the well-loved negroni, using the Compendium Spirits Teh-O Liqueur, Campari, earl grey tincture, and finished off with a spray of lavender citrus.
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For a refreshing sip, the Meadmosa ($20) — Apricot Tea Mead, orange juice, pomelo syrup, brut Champagne — will charm with its citrus tones; while the Rojaktini ($24) — a composition of rojak gin, bianco vermouth, pink peppercorn infusion and orange bitters — packs a Southeast Asian punch.
If you’re feeling peckish, food is served here, which draws inspiration from Southeast Asian flavours, such as Braised Duck Rillettes seasoned with Asian spices and topped with chopped chives, or the sweet and aromatic Crab Salad with Ginger Crisps ($24). The highlight is the robust Beef Short Ribs Char Siu, a hearty bite paired with homemade rice crisps.
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On Level 2, you’ll find the Chartered Private Lounge, a dandy-looking space with a Zen aesthetic filled with leather couches and plush lounge chairs. It’s been specially created for Chartered members to imbibe their bespoke barrel-aged spirit, which is aged in the cellar on Level 3. This floor was also designed with versatility in mind, serving as a canvas for a wide range of experiences such as private events, food pairing sessions, art exhibitions, musical performances, or even literary readings that tie in with the “Anthology” theme of a collection of short stories.
“The name Anthology was chosen with intention; it symbolises a collection of short stories. We view each customer visit as a new chapter in an ongoing narrative. Through unique offerings like our horizontal and vertical flights, we serve up short chapters, each designed to enrich our patrons’ understanding of our flavour profiles and premium spirits. Over time, these chapters accumulate into a richer, more nuanced story, both for us and our guests. It’s a journey of exploration that we embark on together, one visit — or chapter — at a time,” says co-founder and master distiller Simon Zhao.
Compendium Spirits’ journey started in 2015 when Zhao embarked on Rachelle The Rabbit Meadery to create exceptional, flavourful meads. Since then, the team has applied their knowledge to traditional methods of creating the world’s favourite spirits, arriving at a compendium of spirit recipes that boast a smooth mouthfeel while retaining the full flavours of ingredients used, from the well-loved Chendol Gin and Teh-O Liqueur, to whiskey made from Thai Hom Mali rice.
Here, Zhao shares his vision for this unique shophouse experience.
Why did you open Anthology?
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My co-founder wife Joey and I kept getting questions from customers who wanted to visit us and try our products. But the challenge is our distillery location in Mandai is a bit out of the way, and not everyone can easily get there.
We’ve always been deeply passionate about crafting our own alcohol, starting right from the fermentation process. We’ve discovered that each phase of production — be it fermentation, distillation, or ageing — creates its own unique flavours, even if the starting ingredients are the same. This ignited our desire for a dedicated space to share these exciting flavour journeys with others. Anthology serves as the perfect complement to our production facility. It’s not just a showcase of the incredible work we do at the distillery; it’s also a platform to experience our spirits in various forms.
For example, we designed a special drinks menu featuring what we call Vertical and Horizontal Flights. The Vertical Flights let you follow a single ingredient — like gula melaka or sugarcane — through its transformation into different types of alcohol. The Horizontal Flights give you a taste across one stage of production, whether that’s fermentation, distillation, or ageing.
What is the vision for this conceptual bar?
We’ve always aspired to create our own brand house, especially given how Compendium Spirits deviates from the norm. For instance, we ferment all of our spirits from scratch and experiment with unconventional ingredients like honey and coconut. We’ve even crafted unique flavours, such as Rojak Gin and Ondeh Ondeh Soju. We recognise that our approach calls for some explaining; customers often wonder what sets us apart and why we choose to be different. That’s why we felt the need to establish this brand house.
Just as Compendium Spirits offers a curated selection of fine spirits, Anthology serves as a gathering place for these narratives. It’s a space where customers can embark on their own spirit journeys, guided by the stories we have to tell.
Can you tell me about the cocktails you’ve created?
Anthology is essentially the house of Compendium Spirits, so all our cocktails are made using our own spirits. The idea is to really spotlight what makes our base spirits special. We’ve got a few crowd-pleasers like the Meadmosa, which features our signature mead, and the Teh-Groni, our unique twist on a classic Negroni using Teh-O Liqueur. But if you ask me for my personal pick, I’d have to go with the Rice Manhattan. It’s crafted with our Hom Mali Rice Whiskey — Singapore’s first single grain whiskey launched back in 2021.
What’s in store for Anthology?
We’re currently in talks with renowned chefs and mixologists for guest appearances, aiming to create unique chapters that blend their expertise with our own. We’re also planning bar takeovers, partnering iconic establishments to offer our guests a taste of different flavours and techniques.
Additionally, we’re considering extending the Anthology experience into the retail space. We’re open to featuring products that align seamlessly with our brand. We’re particularly excited to announce our collaboration with Scent Journer, a homegrown Singaporean perfume brand. They’ve helped us create an exclusive range of lifestyle products, including a room spray, hand wash, and diffuser — all inspired by our signature Rojak Gin. These products allow us to tell a more comprehensive chapter of the Anthology story, encompassing not just taste but also the sense of smell.
As the story of Anthology unfolds, we’re excited to explore experiences, continually adding new chapters to this collective journey.