With his muscular build, beard and warm smile, one would think Joseph Millar is bodybuilder. In reality he is the head mixologist of Monti where he merges his two loves—music and drinks—to create a jazz-inspired menu. “I wanted these cocktails to be the perfect counterpoint to the jazz music at Monti,” he shares. As it is, the drink maestro has a story to tell for each of the unique flavour that he crafts and unique stories to tell.
What is your bartending philosophy?
Joseph Millar Push the boundaries of everyone’s imagination through drinks. When someone says it’s impossible, make it possible.
See also: Discover Monti, The New Jewel By The Bay
What are you working on now at Monti?
JM We’re digging up classics and putting the jazz flair with a bit of science, theatre and story. All the signature cocktails have been crafted in the spirit of jazz (pun intended) with categories like “Dixieland”, “Chicago Blues” and “European Bliss”. These reflect the genres that envelope the bespoke and speakeasy feel at Monti.
JM Right now, it’s the Monti Xpress named after the great movie Midnight Express. It’s made with Bacardi Oakheart Rum, Darjeeling tea, fresh young ginger, fresh mint and hibiscus syrup. I serve in a teapot set with dry ice to make it look like it’s steaming hot.
New flavours that excite you:
JM I can’t wait to get my hands on Fishers Gin, a new gin from England. It has some crazy botanicals that make it the smoothest gin to drink on its own. When you put it in a martini, it’s just wow!
If you could sum up Singapore in one drink, what would it be?
JM I created the Ministry of Madness for the Singapore Cocktail Festival 2017, which came about after living here for three years. We have a great melding of cultures here, and each element of this drink represents that.
The Bacardi 8 is the base to show that great things can be created even in a short period. As a tropical country, I used passionfruit for its sweet nectar and bitter kick (from the seeds) and lemongrass, a new ingredient in my portfolio that is famous for its woody, citric taste.
Name one thing you should never do in a bar:
JM Annoy me when I’m busy. Haha! But seriously, don’t disturb a barman when they are in full-swing busy mode.
If you could have one drink for the rest of your life, what would it be?
JM A nice cold beer.
Who would you drink it with?
JM Either my missus or my dad.
Photos courtesy of Monti