Peter is one of the owners and head bartenders at Crackerjack in Singapore. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Mezcal and Rinomato Aperitivo and the second with Rum and Coconut Cream.
Peter introduce yourself
My name’s Peter Chua and I’m Singaporean born and bred. I was actually a musician and singer, like my Dad until I had to join the army at the age of 20 which is compulsory here. When I completed my two years service, I called all the bands I used to sing with, but of course they had replaced me… well it had been two years. I began to study programming, but needed to make some money, so a friend offered me a job as a barback. I soon realised bartending had a lot in common with being on stage in regards to entertaining people, working hard and being creative. After working at various bars in Singapore I was asked if I’d like to be a bartender at a house party, but what I didn’t realise was it was actually an interview for a new bar they were planning to open in Singapore which everyone now knows as 28 Hong Kong Street. As I’m Asian and my parents would kill me if I didn’t have some kind of degree, they understood my passion for bartending and allowed me to pursue my dream as long as I acquired a degree in hospitality. So I studied during the day at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (which has a campus in Singapore) and worked at 28 Hong Kong Street in the evenings, which I won’t lie, nearly killed me. The next few years were spent learning, reading and honing my craft. I’ve been really lucky doing the right thing, in the right place at the right time and now that Singapore is considered an important destination for cocktails… it makes me proud to be a part of that.
The classic you want to show us
20ml of Mina Real Blanco Mezcal
20ml of Mancino Vermouth
20ml of Rinomato Aperitivo
1 barspoon of Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao with Vanilla
The bar you dream of
Right now Crackerjack is my dream bar. We have created an all day venue that concentrates on fabulous service and hospitality and only use the freshest quality products. We serve coffee, food and cocktails. The only thing I would change if it was possible and as you said anything was, is the tax. In this country the taxes are crazy and make everything very expensive. If I could, I’d lower the tax on alcohol and other products we use so I could lower the prices for my guests. I just want to make enjoying cocktails and going out more accessible for everyone.
What do you do in your time off
Luckily my girlfriend is very understanding because I do like to spend a lot of time alone after such long hours in the bar. I generally spend that time gaming, reading and writing music.
Which spirit do you like using the most in cocktails
Wow that’s a tough question. Right now I’d say it’s agave spirits. Both mezcal and tequila because I’m really delving into Mexican distilling at the moment.
What do you think makes a good cocktail
A balanced drink that fits the customer. I like to think of a drink as a painting the client has commissioned and you cannot disregard their taste and preferences when you are choosing the canvas, what medium you use and the way you frame it.
What ingredient do you like using in cocktails
Fat washing with butter as it gives a great mouth feel and has an umami quality. I like to use unsalted french butter.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
Diplo & Friends
30ml of Diplomatico Rum
15ml of Plantation Rum
30ml of Coconut Cream
30ml of Fresh Passion Fruit, Vanilla and Cherry
20ml of Lime juice
7.5 ml of Homemade All Spiced Dram
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
I’m going to put a Singapore stamp on this question. My partner Zac from Crackerjack, Luke from Operation Dagger, Joe from Tippling Club, 28 Hong Kong Street, Manhattan and Skinny’s needs to be your last stop.