Late last week, I found myself faced with a surprising dilemma, an unplanned four day weekend! I knew that I had Tuesday, Feb 28 off for the 228 Memorial Day Holiday, but did not know I also had off on the Monday before it. Realizing this only on Friday, I made a quick call to my sister in Singapore, and booked a last minute flight down for Saturday and Sunday.
As this was such a short notice visit, the plans of course revolved around the existing schedule for her and my niece, which included my niece’s Saturday afternoon art class downtown near the Singapore Art Museum. What were we going to do for the 90 minutes while she was in her class? As the museum is located right by the Bras Basah MRT station, it didn’t take long to come to a good solution…my sister had lived in Singapore for two years, and had yet to try an original Singapore Sling from the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, where it was invented in 1915, only three blocks away!
A few short minutes later, my sister, my niece’s nanny and I had arrived at this grand colonial-style hotel and made our way up to the second floor entry for the Long Bar, and were faced with quite a crowd! Seems Saturday afternoon may not be the best time to try to make a quick visit to the Long Bar, especially as the second floor bar was not open this day. We could have sat at the bar or outside on the veranda, but it was only a short wait for a table, so we opted for that, and less than 10 minutes later, we had our seats.
The original plan was for a trio of original Singapore Sling cocktails, however, on taking a quick peek at the menu, we were greeted with a surprising assortment of new sling cocktails on the menu! In addition to the classic original, the following six items now appear on the menu, all at S$26 each, the same price as an Original Singapore Sling:
- Spring Sling – Apple Vodka, Apple Sourz, DOM, Cointreau, Blue Curacao, Pineapple & Orange Juice
- Summer Sling – Bacardi Limon, Lychee Liqueurs, DOM, Cointreau, Mango, Lychee & Orange Juice
- Autumn Sling – Vodka, Creme de Casis, Apple & Pineapple Juice, Monin Casis, Lemon Wedges, Blackberries
- Winter Sling – Vanilla Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Cointreau, DOM, Pineapple Juice, Pineapple Puree
- Tropical Sling – Bacardi, Cherry Heering, Passion Fruit Puree, Lime Juice, Cointreau, DOM, Grenadine Syrup, Champagne
- Courtyard Sling – Gin, DOM, Lychee Liqueurs, Mango Juice, Grenadine Syrup, Ginger Beer
Of course, needing to experiment, we had to go for three of the new cocktails (and one original to split…for tradition’s sake, and so my sister could finally say she’s had one here). Our orders placed, a few minutes of munching on the great Thai peanuts (and making quite a mess with the pile of shells we left on the floor), and we soon had our drinks before us.
First thing to note, only the Original Singapore Sling comes in the Original Singapore Sling glass. All others come in an unlabeled glass. Also to note, nowhere on the menu did I see the option of ordering the Singapore Sling with the ability to keep the collector’s glass as was available in the past, but perhaps this is meant to have you visit the gift shop on the first floor where you can buy the glass and other Raffles Hotel souvenirs.
Of the non-standard slings, the Tropical Sling came out first, much faster than the others. Not sure if this meant this was pre-made like the Original, or just easier to make. This drink was quite tasty, but did not quite have that signature Sling taste. Though it was quite nice, with the passion-fruit and champagne.
The Courtyard Sling was very tasty, though perhaps a bit strong. Again, not a very traditional taste in line with the original sling, but one I would order again.
The Summer Sling tasted quite similar to the original Singapore Sling, and seemed to also be the most popular option, aside from the original, that I saw people ordering as well. This one also took the longest to receive, not sure if it was a lost order due to it being so crowded, or just took a while to make. Very pleasing flavors, and very easy to drink. Perhaps dangerously so!
Overall, I have to say, the new Slings are rather enjoyable. I did not see the Tiger Lily on the menu any longer, so I’m not sure if it is still an option, or if it has been totally replaced by these new offerings. If that is the case, however, I’m happy with the new flavors on the menu.