[Saturday, April 10--] We've been in Singapore (off and on) now for nearly five months and it was time to visit the Raffles Hotel. This 19th century hotel is a fixture of Singapore, and one of its treasured landmarks. Our event for the day was attending a matinee performance of The Tempest at the Esplinade, and we thought we would follow up with a visit to the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel for a drink. The Long Bar is the site of the creation of the Singapore Sling cocktail in 1915, and is on the check-list of every tourist that comes to visit Singapore. The hotel counts on it.
The performance at the Esplinade was-- interesting. It was long (2 1/2 hours, no intermission) and the set was creative (a water feature on the stage). However, we had trouble hearing some of the actors (how well does anyone hear Elizabethean English in a Shakespeare play?), and although we enjoyed it, it was not the most memorable version or performance of The Tempest we have attended. Seeing the play allowed us to see inside the inside of the Esplinade theatre, all for a staggering ticket price which I won't divulge.
Back to the Long Bar. I had previously read up on the recipe for a Singapore Sling, and had decided at that time that it was not a drink for me. However, Elaine was far more game than I, and she ordered one of these pink colored drinks. Although the current recipe has deviated from its original concoction, a Singapore Sling is made from gin, cherry heering, benedictine, pineapple juice, and sometimes some club soda. For S$30, it comes in a tall glass with the hotel name on it (available for sale separately for S$13) and fruit hanging off of it, but alas, no little umbrella. I ordered a glass of an Australian Cabernet Savignon (S$25) from the menu, which turned out to be unremarkable, and I would have been better off with a Sling, fulfilling my own check item on the tourist list. As it turns out Elaine did not find the Sling appealing either-- too sweet.
The entrance to Raffles Hotel
The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel. The bar serves bowls of peanuts, and of course promotes a peanut shell-on-the-floor atmosphere. There are cocktail servers everywhere, ready to bring you that Singapore Sling.
Not exactly modern air conditioning... The Long Bar has a curious cooling system-- fans that pivot and are driven by a rod running the length of the ceiling that connects a number of the fans, waving them to and fro. Those clever British!! Note also the circular stairway.
Elaine about to taste her first (possilby last) Singapore Sling
Here is the famous coctail, a Singapore Sling. Complete in an official Raffles Hotel Long Bar glass.