Singapore’s most notable contribution to the world of cocktails is of course the famous Singapore Sling. Created at the Raffles Hotel at the Long Bar in 1915 the drink has attracted many visitors to the site of its conception, including us. On a bright, rather sweaty day in Singapore we caught the metro to City Hall and began the short walk in search of a glass of Singapore history.
The hotel is well signposted from the metro and passes a huge war memorial in a serene park dedicated to casualties of World War Two. Approaching Raffles Hotel it is hard not to be impressed by the beauty and grandeur of the place. As we made our way towards the entrance there were clear signs directing those who wish to sample the famous Sling to head for the billiard room. Something very handy if you have no idea where you are going. Of course the drink was created in the famous Long Bar but this was under refurbishment at the time of our trip.
Saying that though the billiard room is a bit swish. A huge billiard table from when the room first opened is available and on closer inspection you can actually still play on it, even though it looks too much like an antique to even touch. The service, as you would expect, is professional and friendly. Cocktail menu’s are given out but really there’s no need, everyone’s here for the same thing.
We were seated right at the bar in a prime spot to watch the mixologists at work. There are plenty of tables for those who wish to sit and enjoy their drinks leaning back in comfort though. Also there are huge bags of monkey nuts which many people break off the shell, eat the nut and feel like a rebel by dropping the shell on the floor – the only place in Singapore where littering is permitted.
Within a few minutes of ordering our drinks arrived, freshly shaken and looking fabulous. You kind of expect that though at a hefty $31 SGD (£17) per Sling. The drinks passed the taste test with flying colours. Sweet cherry flavour with the gin just reigning the sugar level in enough to balance it. Fresh flavours as well as orange juice mixes perfectly with the rest of the fruit flavours and alcohols. A maraschino cherry and a chunk of fresh pineapple for garnish rounds it all off nicely too.
There’s no getting away from it. This place is touristy. However it’s in a nice way. The crowd there on our visit were in no way loud or irritating, just people relaxing in a nice setting enjoying a taste of fruit flavoured history. Inevitably though once the drink ends so does the experience. We got the bill from the friendly bartender and paid at the counter on the way out, as is customary in Asia. It is also worth noting that 17% tax is charged on top of the price of drinks.
On our way out of the hotel we caught a glimpse of the hall serving afternoon tea, reminiscent of our time at The Ritz, London. It’s a great setting to spend time relaxing and enjoying high class food and drink. We left happy with a real desire to come back to Raffles to properly enjoy a stay at the hotel. As for the experience of an authentic Singapore Sling it was everything we could have hoped for and a must-do on the list of any visitor to Singapore.
Opening hours Sunday-Thursday 1100-0030
Nearest Metro: City Hall
Dress Code: Casual