Singapore Sling: Trying the original

Another bucket list cross off for me! I recently had a Singapore Sling at the original place where the legendary long drink was invented 1915: Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

raffles

The hotel now and then. It still holds it’s beautiful colonial style of architecture. During the years, many world famous guests have stayed here.

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for over 15 years, ever since I became a bartender myself. The Singapore Sling has a cool history and is of the world’s top 10 most influential long drinks. It’s been an official IBA (International Bartenders Association) recipe for a long time and has a given place in the heritage and traditions of bar tending. It would sure be a shame for anybody in the profession to visit Singapore without trying the original. I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn’t take the opportunity while staying in Singapore!

So what is the history of the Singapore Sling?

It was invented 1915 at Raffles hotel in Singapore by the bartender Ngiam Tong Boon.

ngiam

During that time, it was not socially acceptable for women to consume alcoholic beverages in public. Women had to resort to fruit juice or tea, while the men had all the fun with whisky, gin, rum, etc. According to the legend, Ngiam Tong Boon saw a “niche in the market” and decided to make a long drink that looked like fruit juice, was appealing to the eye, but secretly contained alcohol.

IMG_1227

Photo by me 🙂

This way, women could enjoy drinking too, while still maintaining their social status and not braking the strict etiquette of the times. Needless to say, the drink became an instant hit.

It’s a common mistake to refer to any alcoholic drink as a cocktail. To be anal about it; the Singapore sling belongs to the drink family long drinks, and then to a sub category of long drinks called slings. It’s served in a hurricane glass and garnished with a pineapple and cherry. As any professional bartender must know, the soft drinks part of a long drink determine the garnish, which the Singapore Sling is a perfect by the book example of. The main soft drink contained is pineapple juice.

I documented my adventure by making a short 6 min movie. Have a look here:

Half way into my drink, a pair of clueless, badly dressed, overweight guys walked into the Raffles sling bar and asked for beer.

facepalm

Epic fail

Seriously guys? Ordering beer at the birthplace of one of the worlds most iconic and legendary long drinks? They left after the bartender politely informed them that they didn’t serve beer, but recommended them to try a sling. Everybody in the bar looked around at each other and had a chuckle. No words necessary 🙂

After finishing my drink I must confess that I was almost drunk. It was the first time since coming to Singapore four months ago that I had any alcohol what so ever. At this point you’re probably wondering how I can call myself a bartender ha ha. I feel you. But I chose to skip the booze here and get back in shape instead. I don’t regret it; having lost 15 kg’s (33 lbs)  over the last four months (while at the same time having had about 20 pints of Ben & Jerry’s).

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