The Spirited Traveller: Sling them back in Singapore

Tue Mar 8, 2011 10:35am GMT

1 of 3. The iconic Singapore Sling cocktail is pictured at the Long Bar, Raffles Hotel Singapore. Picture obtained on 7 March, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

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(Reuters.com) - As one of the Four Tiger economies, Singapore sees its fair share of thirsty business travellers.

Any frequent traveller knows that there's more to see (and imbibe) beyond what's offered in a hotel room minibar. To entertain clients, or for an unwind at the day's end, knowing the best watering holes is de rigueur for discerning business visitors. Here are Singapore's top tipple tips.

The Singapore cocktail scene is described as risk-taking and splashy, fuelled by disposable income from tourists, business travellers and well-heeled locals. Hotels and restaurants are eager to show off colourful drinks made with local tropical fruit (mangosteen, lychee, green papaya), often incorporating complex salty, sour or spicy flavours which may seem unusual to Western palates accustomed to straight-up sweet cocktails.

The iconic Singapore watering hole remains the Long Bar (<here>) in the colonial-style Raffles Hotel, home of the equally infamous Singapore Sling. Although the bar is reported to have lost some of its lustre since the days of Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling, it remains the singular place to sip a Sling.

Be warned: the Sling is too sweet for some. Mixologist Eben Freeman, who spent several years in Singapore building bar programmes for AvroKo properties, offers this advice: "Ask for your Sling to be hand-shaken, with just a dash of grenadine." The Long Bar pumps out thousands of the popular drink each day, he says, and the other ingredients in a Sling (pineapple juice, Benedictine, Cointreau and Cherry Heering) are plenty sweet on their own. After, all, if you're planning to shell out US$20 for a drink, advises Freeman, you want that drink made properly.

There's much to tipple in Singapore beyond the Sling. On the Fullerton Hotel's ground floor, the sleek Post Bar (<here>) (so named because the bar reveals the original ceiling of the pre-Fullerton General Post Office) is another classic. "All the business crowd goes there for Caipirinhas," Freeman says.

Meanwhile, the panoramic view from the New Asia bar (<bit.ly/9Cf3kx>), located on Level 71 of Swissôtel The Stamford, makes it a popular, corporate-chic destination for panoramic martini guzzling.

For travellers willing to go a little further afield for well-made classic cocktails, Freeman also recommends the forest-meets-veranda bar Klee (+65 6479 6911) in the former barracks compound, Rochester Park. And, "for the truly adventurous and wealthy," the Tippling Club (<www.tipplingclub.com>), where barman-turned-chemist Matthew Bax of Der Raum in Australia mixes up unforgettable science-inspired cocktails such as the Smokey Old Bastard, a whisky cocktail served with wisps of "orange smoke" trapped within a mason jar.

Raffles Singapore Sling, courtesy of Eben Freeman

If a trip to Singapore isn't on your travel itinerary, here's how to make the classic drink at home. A Singapore Sling glass is a tall, footed glass, often with curved sides. A tall Collins glass can also be used.

1/4 oz grenadine

1/2 oz Benedictine

1/2 oz. Cherry Heering

1/2 oz. lime juice

3/4 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. pineapple juice

1 1/2 oz. gin Soda water

Pineapple slice, to garnish

Cherry, to garnish

In a cocktail shaker, mix together the first seven ingredients with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Sling or Collins glass half-filled with fresh ice. Top up with soda water. Serve with a straw and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry.

(Kara Newman is the author of "Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails", available <here>) (Editing by Peter Myers)

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