Slings in Singapore

Singapore, Friday 8 June 2012

Since I started this trip in January, I’ve been saying that I will enjoy a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel. Did it matter that I knew it would be ludicrously overpriced? Not really. Did it matter that I knew it would be as touristy as all get out? Not really. Did it matter that I’d been in the throes of bacterial gastroenteritis for the week prior to going? Well, a little bit.

You see, I’m not supposed to drink alcohol or eat anything that is either wildly acidic or very sweet. That sort of puts paid to a Singapore Sling, really. But dammit, I’m in Singapore!

Through a quirk of scheduling fate, I’d been able to meet up with Rory, a friend of mine from London, who also happened to be passing through Singapore at the same time as me. Owing to my digestive conniptions, Rory benefited from the majority of my Singapore Sling. I’m not sure whether this horrified or delighted him.

There is no glitz and no glamour to Raffles Hotel. Rather, it is old colonial shabby chic, with rattan chairs, shuttered windows, these fantastic fans that bat away rather ineffectually at the oppressive South East Asian humidity, and a carpet of monkey nut shells. I had to wade through a crunching sea of discarded plant matter jettisoned by previous patrons who had munched their way through their own weight in free nuts to get to our table. It was quite peculiar. Still, the feeling that you could have been transported back to the days of high empire was inescapable.

The cocktail list is really quite generic at Raffles. There’re no old-timers crawling out of the woodwork, but their variations on the Sling theme is quite extensive; if you’re in Raffles, you drink Singapore Slings.

They are bright pink and capable of inducing a diabetic coma with one sip. They also cost SG$26 a go. That’s about £13. I’m not sure if I’m committing some terrible colonial alcoholic faux-pas by saying this, but they don’t really float my boat. Too pink, too sweet, too expensive.

And whatever you do, don’t order the water. SG$12 for a 500ml bottle. Honestly.

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