The selection ranges from Britishtype rums from Jamaica and Guyana to French-style Rhums from Martinique and Haiti.
Spanish-style Rons, typically made in Cuba, Panama and Venezuela, also feature on the extensive list. Prices start at $16++ and go up to $52++ for a 45ml shot of Mount Gay 1703 Old Cask. Bago also offers rum-tasting flights, where you can sample a few rums at a go. These range from $22 to $55.
Mr Chris Morris, 43, who owns the restaurant and the bar, says: “There’s a real discovery you can go on with these rum experiences because there are so many Caribbean islands and each has three or four different rums.
“People are moving beyond the idea that rum is something you stick into a cocktail.” Rum as a spirit category has also been seeing a resurgence, with world-wide interest, he adds.
Unlike Scotch whisky, for instance, which has a very “defined and classic narrative”, rum is unpretentious. “With rum, there are no purists, there are only enthusiasts,” he quips. But if you prefer your rum in a cocktail, Bago’s cocktail menu features classics such as Planters Punch ($20) – named after the rum it is made with – and a Rum Old Fashioned ($22), made with an Abuelo 12-year-old dark rum.
The list of more than 15 signature drinks includes the Morris ($27), named after the owner, who takes his rum with just coconut water. The cocktail version has a bit of housemade cinnamon syrup stirred in as well.
Head bartender Davide Boncimino, 26, says: “It’s really easy to drink but just when you finish the drink, you start to feel it.”
The bar, on the second floor of the three-year-old Caribbean eatery, is named after Tobago where Mr Morris is from. It seats about 40 and has a tropical vibe with rattan furniture and playful pops of colour.
He decided to open Bago in June because he wanted to create an all-rounded Caribbean experience. While there are existing rum bars such as Sugarhall, Mr Morris says Bago differs from the pack as an authentic Caribbean experience, complete with rum, food and a laidback, accessible vibe.
He says: “In the Caribbean, liming is at the heart of life, with groups of people enjoying good drinks together. We wanted to bring the experience to Singapore.”
Liming is defined as the art of doing nothing while sharing food, drink and conversation.
Hence, Bago offers the sharing of drinks that are mixed and served at the table, such as a classic cocktail from the 18th century called the Fish House Punch ($180) that can be shared among six to eight people.
Mr Morris laments that experiences in the bar scene here are “pre-defined” and almost rigid. Hence, he wanted a more relaxed environment for Bago. “I always tell people to just treat this as an extension of their living room,” he says. “You don’t have to act a certain way – that’s the real essence of the Caribbean.”
An adapted version first appeared in The Sunday Times in August 2016.
Main Image: Lime House Facebook
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