What Gin Goes with Peranakan Food?

Greetings Makan Kakis! Back with more yumminess is our Foodie Friend, award-winning cookbook author Shermay Lee of Shermay’s Singapore Fine Food. It’s been a while, so here are 2 main things to catch up on:

Shermay’s wildly popular The New Mrs Lee Cookbook Vol.1 & 2 (first published in 2003) have finally been reprinted and you can purchase this pair of instant classics now at most good bookstore, Amazon, Redmart and shermay.com (for autographed copies). These cookbooks are her updated take on her Grandmother’s (Mrs Lee Chin Koon) original recipes from Mrs Lee’s Cookbook, pain-stakingly taste-tested and broken down into easy-to-follow steps for the modern cook.

She’s teamed up with buffet restaurant The Line at Shangri-La Hotel for a sedap Peranakan collaboration called Grandma’s Kitchen. Basically, she’s taken over their entire Asian section and filled it with a mouth-watering array of classic Nyonya dishes created from her Grandma’s recipes. Best of all, your Grandma dines for free in a limited-time promotion – use the code below when booking! By the way, the rest of the buffet is also at your disposal, from the cold seafood station, to cold cuts, pasta, carving station, Laksa station, desserts, free-flow coffee, local drinks and teh tarik (from a dispenser!), with Shermay’s Peranakan dishes taking centrestage. $80++ is great value for all that! Also, you can go home after seeing & tasting to recreate the makan with their complimentary recipe cards!


  • Click here to listen/ download podcast of Part 1 – Shermay has reprinted her award-winning cookbooks, The New Mrs Lee’s Cookbook Vol 1 & 2!
  • Click here to listen/ download podcast of Part 2 – Shermay’s collab with Shangri-La’s The Line for Grandma’s Kitchen Peranakan Buffet!
  • Click here to listen/ download podcast of this week’s distinctly Singaporean gin distillery!

Are you a gin lover? This cocktail du jour is enjoying a spell in the spotlight and understandably so. It’s a refreshing tipple with so many possibilities. This week, Shermay recommends her favourite gin which also happens to be proudly made in Singapore. It’s well-crafted in small batches, with a nod to Asian flavours.

Brass Lion Gin Distillery was set up by Ms Jamie Koh, someone Shermay calls a hardworking, single-minded capable gin crafter with big dreams. It’s been a long path getting to that place of fruition and as a fellow food crafter & small producer, Shermay finds affinity her neighbour, whose gin distillery is just two blocks from her office. Both are extremely hands-on in their businesses, from hand labelling their products, to overseeing production and flavour profiles. Their products are the embodiment of everything they do.

So real quick, what is gin? It’s basically the distillation of botanicals with a neutral grain spirit and as long as juniper makes up the pre-dominant flavour, it can be referred to as a gin. From there, gin crafters can get creative with other flavours and aromatic ingredients. And Jamie K. goes to town, making her gins pop with flavours that are recognisable to the Singaporean palate. Shermay believes this is what sets Brass Lion Gin Distillery apart from others.

There is their signature Singapore Dry Gin, created from 22 botanicals that give expression to our local herbs and spices. So besides juniper berries and coriander seed, Jamie went on a trip to Tekka Market to source for more herbs and spices, like torch ginger flower and lemongrass which were all blended by a master crafter, resulting in a gorgeous gin that really tells an aromatic story of Singapore. Ingredients from our very own wet market? That definitely makes for a gin that is quintessentially Singaporean!

Shermay’s absolute favourite from Brass Lion is one that speaks to her Peranakan heritage. Featuring blue pea flower and lavender, this fragrant and pretty gin starts off as a deep, rich indigo colour. Add a squeeze of kalamansi lime and it morphs into a gorgeous lilac shade – magic! But this is not just a gin that looks good, it tastes good too. Shermay says there’s nothing like a Singapore-made blue pea flower gin to go with the Peranakan food she cooks. During Chinese New Year, these are what she served to her family and they loved it.

For those who prefer  something more assertive, try their Pahit Pink Gin (pahit = bitter in Malay). This gin has a Negroni-esque flavour profile in that it has a pleasant bitterness. Certainly a more acquired taste, this interesting orangey-red gin is served by Shermay with a twist of orange or lemon zest.

If you want to get your hands and thirsty tastebuds on Brass Lion gins, Shermay suggests making a day out of visiting the distillery for a full experience. For $45, a tour will procure you a welcome drink, an introduction to the history of Brass Lion Distillery, a visit to their copper still, how gin is made and to finish off, a flight of gins to taste! This gorgeous old conservation building also houses a retail space, R&D lab, herb garden, tasting rooms and an upstairs bar where bespoke, customised Gin & Tonics are made for you.

If you want to take your gin experience to another level, you could also enroll in Brass Lion’s Gin School, a masterclass in choosing botanicals, gin distilling, and the creation of your very own gin to take home. This is a great Sunday afternoon to spend with an intimate group of friends, or even for corporate events.

Brass Lion gins are proudly made in Singapore – distilled in Pasir Panjang! So Westies, take note – there are some really awesome places to discover if you know where to look!

Brass Lion Distillery
40 Alexandra Terrace, S(119933)
Tasting room hours: 5pm – midnight (Tues – Fri); 2pm – midnight (Sat); 2 – 7pm (Sun)
Tel: +65 69540602

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