Reviewed by Aditya Mohan
1 Beach Road, Singapore
If you’ve never been to a rubber plantation, a visit to the Long Bar will definitely let you know how it feels to walk around in one. This happens as soon as you enter, with your foot landing on the peanut peels lying on the ground. They are everywhere and make a funny crackling sound at every step. As the manager tells me, this is very much a part of the ambience and is intended to give the feeling of walking around in a rubber plantation. The other biggest influence on the ambience here is of a pirate ship. The staff is dressed up in neat sarongs and is young and energetic.
A Singapore Sling at the very bar where it was created at the turn of the last century is one of the things that features on a lot of peoples’ ‘thousand things to do before I die’ list. I’m very glad I’ve ticked that one off mine!! The cocktail itself, I’m sad to say, didn’t match up to my expectations. It tasted too sweet and would have passed of as a nice mocktail at a children’s party.
It’s said that the cocktail was originally meant to be a women’s drink and thus the bright pink colour, but I think that also might have to do with the general misconception back then of Gin being a woman’s drink (something I would oppose to death, gin being my favourite). Either way, today the Singapore Sling enjoys a ‘must-have’ status at the Raffles and is enjoyed without any gender biases.
The bar is always filled with tourists and a live band starts playing the ever so popular retro numbers around 9 or 10 every night. While the cocktail may not have been up to the mark, the colonial experience of being at the Raffles, the old numbers and young service staff in sarongs do add to a very pleasant atmosphere where one feels transported to another era where it’s perfectly polite to crack open and eat peanuts while throwing the peels on the ground, in fact they probably appreciate the help in adding to the whole rubber plantation thing!
Souvenirs for sale at the bar include the special Singapore Sling glass or a t-shirt or key chain. There is also a recipe card with some history about the famous bar and the famous cocktail along with its recipe (given below). :
Singapore Sling (Recipe of The Long Bar @ The Raffles, Singapore)
15ml Heering Cherry Liqueur
120ml Pineapple Juice
15ml Lime Juice
7.5ml Dom Benedictine
A Dash of Angostura Bitters
Garnish with a slice of Pineapple and Cherry