Junior, a pocket bar from the team behind 28HKS, Proof & Company, and Crackerjack is set to present its first concept, NORMA. In similar fashion to how an art gallery would operate, Junior rotates two original concepts each year, and focus on one core category every six months. With an intimate setting of only ten seats, the concepts guide guests through ultra personalised experiences, exploring hard to find spirits, carefully crafted cocktails and food to match.
The first concept to launch is NORMA, short for Norma Oficial Mexican, the series of mandatory standards for Mexican spirits such as tequila. NORMA will offer authentic agave spirits, housing over 100 bottles of tequila, mezcal and some less known spirits of Mexico, with a focus on independent, craft producers who use traditional methods of production. In fact, many of the bottles for the concept have been hand-carried from Mexico and are some of the first to be seen in Asia.
Co-Head Barman Peter Chua says, “NORMA will be offering a selection of curated artisanal and ancestral mezcals. We believe these are a true expression of what mezcal is. Amongst the selection will be expressions of cultivated agave mezcals like espadín and arroqueño, as well as wild and hard-to-come-by agave mezcals such as tobala and tepetzate.”
Any spirit at NORMA can be enjoyed as a traditional cocktail, with the bartender making a perfectly balanced version of a Tommy’s Margarita, Paloma, or Vampiro for the cost of the base spirit and an additional SG$3. Specialty cocktails include the Saffron Don, Mezkale Sour, Raicilla when I see ya and The Cisco Kid (ArteNOM 1146 Anejo tequila, spiced red wine, lemon, raspberry with East Imperial Grapefruit Toni) all range from SG$21-25. Curated tasting flights are also on offer, showcasing different variations of agave spirits in style, terroir and production techniques and range from S$45-65 for three 30ml tasters, and are served with small bites.
The esteemed Zac De Git with co-bartender Junior alongside Peter Chua, and noted the appreciation for agave, “Agave spirits are extremely complex and can stand side-by-side with cognac and whisk(e)y with their subtle nuances. Approach all agave spirits with an open mind; there are so many different variables that can affect the final outcome of any agave spirit. As you sip, learn about how this specific bottle was produced.”
In Speakeasy fashion, Junior is accessed through an entrance in the alley behind Crackerjack on Cook street, however, you must check in with the host at Crackerjack who will lead you down the private entrance. Once you’re inside the room is lined with leather-clad high chairs, however, the décor, music, and uniforms change with each concept. For NORMA, black clay candle holders light the tables, and the walls feature black and white photographs depicting the streets of Oaxaca and Jalisco from the personal collection of non-other than Australia’s Phil Bayly, Global Mezcal Ambassador, shot during his travels to Mexico. Some are additional from the 1910s, from a film roll Bayly collected from a Mexican photographer.
Junior is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 7pm – midnight and operates on a first come, first served approach.