Mr Jorge Conde – Smoke & Mirrors new craftsman and his cocktails

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Meet Jorge Conde, Smoke & Mirror’s newish Head Bartender. He is the man behind the beautifully created spirit-forward cocktails while guests enjoy the view of Singapore’s skyline. That’s Marina Bay Sands and Padang directly opposite the bar at National Gallery Building, and on the left end are the Esplanade, hotels at Marina Bay and the Central Business District on the right.

The 30-year-old graphic designer by trade comes from Galicia in Spain where he entered the hospitality industry at the age of 16. He worked part-time in hotels and high-volume cocktail bars before becoming a full-time bartender. In 2014, he moved to London to expand his career opportunities in the graphic design business while working as a bar back before becoming Head Bartender at Wright Brothers and later in 2016 as Bar Manager for Pachamama Bar & Kitchen. He was ambassador for Barsol Pisco, Amores Mezcal and My Organic Spirits.

Jorge moved to Singapore in 2018 and joined Smoke & Mirrors later that year.

Jorge has a keen eye for details and loves art. His curious spirit and passion for storytelling help him create new flavours as he explores techniques like fermentation, distillation and preservation. He pushes the boundaries of expectations with modern techniques and unusual to create the new Smoke & Mirrors cocktail menu – Illusion of Flavours in April this year. There is more than meets the eye.

I find that people often have preconceptions about how a drink will taste, and I wanted to challenge those expectations with our drinks. While the presentation may appear to be simple, the flavour profiles are quite complex and layered, evolving as you enjoy the drink. As you may expect from the name, there is more than meets the eye.

Jorge Conde

The menu is divided into six categories – each inspired by different flavour sensations – Fizzy & Elegant, Sour & Neat, Long & Refreshing, Strong & Neat, Fruity & Punchy, Savoury & Umami. There is Like A Virgin for the mocktails.

The menu features QR codes so that guests can discover how the cocktail is created. Jorge’s cocktails pay homage to renowned classics which have inspired him including Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh. Cocktails are priced from S$25++.

Dali’s Self Portrait was an interesting cocktail. Jorge uses a blend of malts, bacon fat, herbal wine, artichoke and burnt rosemary to create a cocktail that is herbaceous, savoury and bittersweet. This cocktail is in the Strong & Neat section of the Illusions of Flavours menu.

Picasso’s Pencil is from the Fruity & Punchy section of the menu. This fruity and oaky cocktail is created with tobala, sherry wine, apple vinegar, oleo saccharum, tonic with a pencil aroma.

Jorge is also a gentle giant. Always listening to his guests, and advising them what to drink. He is friendly, so don’t be afraid to sit by the bar and have a word with him and watch him hone his craft behind the bar.

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