Sep 01 2011

A Singapore Sling at Raffles

Published by at 12:57 pm under Bars & nightlife


It’s taken me three years of living in Singapore but I finally did it – I had a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel.

Sipping this cherry-red cocktail in the place where it was invented in 1915 may be the most iconic thing to do in Singapore, but it’s also exceedingly expensive at S$25 for a standard Singapore Sling. Upgrading to premium gin raises the price to S$27 and, if you’d like to keep the monogrammed glass as a souvenir, it’s S$34. On top of that there’s the “plus plus” – an automatic 10% service charge and 7% taxes.

Pretty, but is it worth S$25++??

However, the high prices don’t seem to be much of a deterrent because The Long Bar was packed when I visited on a Saturday afternoon. Unlike the other restaurants and bars in Raffles Hotel, the Long Bar does not have a formal dress code and you’ll be welcomed inside even if you’re wearing shorts or have the kids in tow (S$9 for a soft drink). The setting is similarly unpretentious with wicker chairs, peanut shells littering the floor, and overhead fans shaped like leaves — perhaps to conjure images of overdressed British governors being fanned by their servants?

Though it’s certainly been designed to look like it, it’s worth mentioning this is not the colonial bar where the likes of Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling put away gin and tonics while penning stories about the jungles of Malaya. The original Long Bar was located in the hotel lobby and, beyond the fact that it was long, not much is known about its appearance.

Say it's "famous" then watch the customers pour in!

But enough with the history… let’s get to the drink!

My Sling was sweet and refreshing, with a slight froth from the cocktail shaker, and garnished with a juicy wedge of pineapple and a cherry. The Singapore Sling may be considered a classic tropical cocktail, but it also tastes a lot like spiked fruit punch. Since nearly every customer in the bar orders a Singapore Sling the bartenders make them from pre-mix (available in the gift shop, of course) and it shows. Also, from finding a table to getting a drink menu, the service was a disappointment. When my drinking companion who went with the slightly more reasonably-priced vodka tonic (S$20) got the wrong drink, it took a solid five minutes of waving to catch any server’s attention.

I suspect he's done this before...

To conclude: Did I enjoy the drink?  Sure. Was the Singapore Sling worth the total price of S$29.42? Not really. There are other uniquely Singaporean drinks or bars with better prices.

Is the ability to brag that you’ve had a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar worth S$29.42?  Maybe…  a girl at another table did announce she had just changed her Facebook status to “Having a Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles Hotel”!

Since it’s printed on the menu, I don’t think I’m spilling any trade secrets by sharing the Raffles recipe for the Original Singapore Sling:

30 mL gin
15 mL Cherry Heering
75 mL Dom Benedictine
75 mL Cointreau
120 mL Sarawak pineapple juice
15 mL lime juice
10 mL grenadine
A dash of Angostura bitters
Garnish with a slice of pineapple and cherry

Long Bar at Raffles Hotel
1 Beach Road

T: 6412 1816
Open Sunday–Thursday 12:00–00:30, Friday–Saturday 12:00–01:30

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One response so far

One Response to “A Singapore Sling at Raffles”

  1. Linaon 01 Sep 2011 at 3:33 pm

    The Singapore Sling at the Phnom Penh Raffles bar is only $4.50 during happy hour! When you come here you can try and compare.

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