While you might have guessed from the title that the ‘sling’ was concocted in Singapore, and you may have even had one sitting at the plantation inspired Long Bar in the prestigious and historic Raffles hotel. What you might not know is that the Singapore Sling is one of the world’s most sustainable cocktails and was actually created to disguise alcohol.
Above: Long Bar interior
A Hero for Ladies Who Lunch
With a history spanning more than a century, the Singapore Sling was first created in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bartender at Raffles Hotel Singapore, as an ingenious way to disguise a cocktail as a fruit juice. In those days, etiquette dictated that ladies could not consume alcohol in public and their choice of beverage was limited to tea and fruit juices.
Enter Ngiam Tong Boon saw an insightful opportunity and decided to create a cocktail that looked like a fruit juice but was actually infused with gin and other liqueurs. He used pineapple and lime juices for a tropical flavor and cleverly masked it in pink with grenadine syrup to give it a feminine flair, leading people to think it was a socially acceptable drink for women. The Singapore Sling has lived on through history and is still one of the world’s most popular drinks.
Above: Sling Maker Machine
Modern Day Slingology
Cut to modern-day and the hotel has launched a continuing Slingology collaboration this September that will live on at the bar for the next year.
Raising a glass to the Singapore Sling, Slingology partners with guest bartenders to create and present their own Singapore Sling-inspired concoctions at Long Bar, building camaraderie within the tight-knit bartending community while engaging cocktail enthusiasts, locals and travelers.
Exclusively on the last Sunday of each month, a guest bartender will make a special appearance at Long Bar to present his or her rendition of the Singapore Sling, alongside a few of their own other favorite cocktails. Following this one-day pop-up, the Sling-inspired creations will continue to be available for one month before the next guest bartender arrives and the offering refreshes.
For the month of September, the collaboration will be with 28HongKong Street, followed by another one of Asia’s “50 Best Bars,” ATLAS Bar and their Singapore Sling-inspired concoctions will be available from Sept. 26 through Oct. 30. To add to the merriment, guests can enjoy a complimentary Singapore Sling when they order the original Sling or the guest bartender’s inspired spin-off, which is available until August 31, 2021.
Fun Fact: If there is a group at the bar, or it’s a busy night, a cool hand-cranked machine takes over and lets bartenders mix up to 18 slings at a time.
Above: Singapore Sling sustainable ingredients
Historic and Sustainable Drink
A little-known fact about the new modern Singapore Sling is the use of ecoSPIRITS, making it more sustainable and better for the environment. Working closely with Proof & Company and ecoSPIRITS, the iconic cocktail has become the forerunner for the hotel in its move to reducing single-use waste and carbon footprint. By using the patent-pending ecoSPIRITS technology – Widges Gin, Luxardo Cherry Sanque Morlacco and Ferrand Dry Curaçao, key ingredients in the Singapore Sling, are all delivered to Long Bar in patent-pending ecoTOTETM format, saving tens of thousands of glass bottles each year.
Furthering the sustainability profile of the cocktail, both the Luxardo Maraschino Cherries used as garnishes and the exclusive Long Bar Scrappy’s Spiced Plantation Bitters are shipped in large low-waste formats, eliminating several thousand kilograms of packaging waste per year. In addition, single-use plastic straws have also been replaced with biodegradable versions made with potato starch.
Raffles Colonnade Walkway
It’s estimated by using the ecoSPIRITS Carbon Calculator, developed by leading consulting firm Deloitte, the Singapore Sling saves the equivalent of 200g of CO2 emission per serving. Also, under the ecoSPIRITS Forest Program, Raffles Hotel Singapore is planting one native tree in the Kalimantan or Sumatran rainforest for every 25 Singapore Slings ordered, leaving a permanent legacy of carbon reduction and reforestation of endangered wild areas. You can discover the hotel’s contribution to these endangered rainforests through a live digital forest here.
According to Paul Gabie, Chief Executive Officer, ecoSPIRITS. “Raffles is the first hotel in the world to use the ecoSPIRITS technology, going back to 2018 following Long Bar’s reopening. Their leadership in committing to green innovation and a vision of a sustainable future in food and beverage can serve as an inspiration to all of us.”
The famous Singapore Sling cocktail
Please note, the grenadine and bitters are customized for Raffles, but general substitutes work in their place.
Raffles Singapore Sling Recipe
- 30ml Widges Dry Gin
- 10ml DOM Bénédictine
- 10ml Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
- 10ml Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco
- 10ml Crawley’s Singapore Sling Grenadine
- A dash of Scrappy’s Spice Plantation Bitters
- 22.5ml Fresh Lime Juice
- 60ml Fresh Pineapple Juice
- Chill a 12oz glass of with ice.
- Combine all ingredients into a shaker with lots of ice.
- Cap your shaker and give it a good vigorous shake for about 12 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail into your chilled glass.
- Garnish with a skewer of cherry and pineapple wedge.
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