It was a chilled out weekend evening at the Courtyard Marriott’s recently opened lounge bar, ARK. I was leisurely enjoying some wine and cheese and company, when the friend I was with decided to get risqué. With the drinking, I mean. ARK offers a wide range of innovative molecular and signature cocktails and some of the concoctions piqued my interest too. I, who generally does not sway from the old fashioned, decided to give some new and uncharted territory a shot.

The molecular cocktails are all about detailed flavours and nuanced aromas. Smoke Desire, a scotch, cinnamon and apple cocktail, is theatrically smoked with cigar and apple wood, lending it a nostalgic masculine aroma with a spicy kick. Women will definitely fall for the Pearl Martini and the Pink Floss. The martini is a muddle of vodka with watermelon juice, fine strained over watermelon-infused caviar. How decadent is that? The Pink Floss is a gin-based drink with peaches, lemon and bitters and – yes, I’m not kidding – candy floss. My favourite for the festive season would be the Twisted Flavours. Rum, lychee liqueur, pomegranate juice and sour mix are muddled and strained over lemon ice and dry smoked with basil and orange peel aromas. When served, the glass and the smoke container give off waves of fresh citrus-y smoke, and every sip packs a punch of spirits and flavours. A winner.

The ARK signature cocktails offer variety and combine exotic ingredients into masterfully created drinks. The rum-based Sun Downer, with lemon liqueur and a hint of tamarind, is a classic beach drink. So is the vodka-ginger-watermelon juice concoction called Melon Swizzer. I fell in love with the Toasted Candy – a child-like blend of Caribbean spirit, vanilla and coffee, topped with a chocolate foam. I could drink it off a mug through the day. The Blitz, a vodka, elderflower extract and lemongrass decoction, is highly recommended. Also try the fresh fruity flavours of the Oriental Zeal – vodka with basil and peach and passion fruit ice tea.

The cocktail that wins the gold star is the Vespar. A feisty cosmopolitan, it is a vodka-based drink, flavoured with raspberry and generous hints of ginger, served in a rock glass. All the cocktails marry well with the great finger food the lounge serves – the bruschettas are to die for. So, this weekend, if you want to pre-game before a house party or want to chill after a mad evening of dancing around the city, ARK might be a good option to unwind at.