A visit to Singapore really isn’t complete without ticking this item off your bucket list. The quintessential Singaporean experience is drinking a Singapore Sling in Singapore. Now you can’t just have a Singapore sling at any establishment, you need to go to the place that invented it – Raffles Hotel. Tourists come in droves to the magnificent Raffles Hotel to sample this delightful beverage and I too was no exception. Over the years, I’ve heard much about this famous Singapore Sling (mainly stories of inebriation) and I’ll admit to never having tried one. So since I was in Singapore, I thought what better place to try one than where it was invented.
The Singapore Sling Inventor
There is quite an interesting story behind why this drink was invented. In fact, us ladies can thank the talented barman of the day, Ngiam Tong Boon for his sneaky little concoction. Sneaky I hear you ask? Well this is where the story gets interesting.
Way back around the time of 1915, women were not permitted to consume alcohol in public. Whilst men were free to down their whiskey’s and gin, their partners had to settle with fruit juice. Perhaps due to countless protests or maybe these ladies were sporting hip flasks, who knows where the inspiration came from but ultimately Ngiam found a way to get around this without upsetting the establishment.
Ngiam cleverly concocted a cocktail that was disguised as a fruit drink. The drink is gin based but also contains cherry brandy, dom benedictine and cointreau. He then added pineapple and lime juices to make it look like a fruit drink. The gorgeous pink colour is courtesy of grenadine. The Singapore Sling was a visually pleasing drink that resembled the more socially acceptable punch or fruit juice, it also had a decent alcohol component which kept the ladies of the day very happy.
Home to the invention of the Singapore Sling is the Raffles Hotel. The luxury hotel opened in 1887 and still retains it’s beautiful heritage style. It’s really worth a wander around the property, as it gives you a glimpse of what society men and women would have experienced during colonial days of Singapore.
The Long Bar
To have your Singapore Sling in Singapore, you will need to go to the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel. It’s located on the second level just past the Garden Bar. I’ll mention here that the Garden Bar (pictured above) is just gorgeous and if I were to go back, I would definitely have a stop at the Garden Bar for a drink or two.
Once inside the Long Bar, you will be greeted by the friendly staff who will seat you. It can get incredibly busy and the day I was there, I was originally seated at the bar. I spied a table that was about to vacate and asked to swap to the table. This was no problem at all considering I was by myself and I had a table that seated 4 and it was busy! The bar itself has a gentlemen vibe with rich heavy timber lining the walls and original fittings. The fans on the roof make for a pleasant breeze during the warmer weather.
After resettling from the bar to the table, I was brought out a hessian bag which was full to the brim with peanuts. At this point you will notice that these shelled peanuts are littered all over the floor. Yes, believe it or not, you are encouraged to throw the empty shells on the floor. It’s kind of a flout to Singapore’s strict littering laws in the CBD.
As for the Singapore Sling itself, it really is a lovely tasting drink and it’s nicely laced with a decent amount of alcohol. You could easily find yourself throwing back a few and be (slightly) inebriated in no time! Although you could soon burn up a lot of money. The authentic Singapore Sling served at the Raffles Hotel Long Bar is expensive, so expect to pay around $31 plus taxes for one glass of this beverage. All in all, the Singapore Sling is divinely delicious and a must do experience when in Singapore.
The Long Bar
1 Beach Road