Have you ever heard of the Singapore Sling? Well, it actually comes from the historic Long Bar at Raffles Hotel! However, with a price tag of 38 Singapore Dollars one has to wonder… Is it worth it? Here’s everything you need to know about the famous Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel, tips for your visit, and our opinion on if you should actually get it!
How to Get to Raffles Hotel Singapore
Raffles is located in the heart of the city! That means you’ll have no problem getting there from Merlion Park or anywhere else. Singapore is easily walkable, but the MRT train system is also fast and reliable.
If you’re taking the train get off at the City Hall stop and it will be just a 5 minute walk from there. You can also utilize apps like Grab taxi to get around. Just keep in mind the price will be a bit higher during the afternoon when the Raffles Hotel bar is open.
History of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore
Raffles Hotel opened in 1887 as a 10 room property by the Sarkies Brothers from Armenia. It was named after Sir Stamford Raffles who is known as the founder of Singapore! Since then, it has played host to politicians, movie stars, authors, and more interesting characters from around the world.
If you choose to stay at Raffles Hotel Singapore know that you are experiencing a piece of a history. It has become an iconic landmark in the city and is a tourist destination in itself. Yet, what really made it famous is the Singapore Sling!
Story of the Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel
So how did the Singapore Sling come to be? Well, it all started with a Hainanese bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon. In the early 1900’s alcohol was gaining popularity, especially in social settings like the bar at Raffels Hotel Singapore.
Yet, at this time it was not formal for women to drink in public. Teas and fruit juices were most common for women to order if they were out and about. Ngiam had an idea though!
In 1915, the bartender used clear alcohol and masked it with pink juice which made it socially acceptable. From there, the unique concoction immediately took off. Now 100 years later the Singapore Sling is more popular than ever!
What’s in a Singapore Sling?
The Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel is a unique cocktail that is sure to tickle your taste buds. The base is a London dry gin, followed by several other kinds of bitters, liquors, and juices. The drink is definitely strong but also deliciously sweet.
We usually stick to beer or wine when we’re out on the town so this was such a fun experience! Even if you’re not a huge cocktail fan, you might surprise yourself and like the Singapore Sling. The original recipe is as follows:
- Widges London Dry Gin
- Cherry Sangue Morlacco
- Ferrand Dry Curacao
- Raffles Signature Grenadine
- Pineapple Juice
- Fresh Lime Juice
- Angostura Bitters
7 Tips For Visiting Raffles Singapore
1. Stroll Through the Raffles Hotel
Long Bar is where they serve the world-famous Singapore Sling and it can easily be accessed from the street. However, the best way to get there is to actually head to the front of Raffles Hotel.
While you won’t be allowed to enter the actual lobby, they will direct you to a small walkway through a different area of Raffles Hotel. The hotel is beautiful and a great way to soak in the history of the iconic building.
2. Arrive Right Before Open
Raffles Hotel Singapore is open everyday from 12pm to 10:30pm. For the best experience, we strongly advise you to get there a few minutes before noon!
We arrived at 11:45am and there was already a line. When we left around 12:30pm, the bar was packed, and there was an even bigger line. You’ve been warned!
3. Grab a Seat at Long Bar
There are plenty of seats inside where you’re welcome to have drink. Yet, our favorite place to sit is right at the bar. Here you can watch the bartenders work their magic and enjoy your Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel.
Long Bar is actually inspired by Malayan plantation life of the 1920’s. You can see this with its earthy colors and special punkah wallah ceiling fans.
4. Throw Your Peanuts on the Ground
Huh?? Yeah, you heard that right! When sitting down we noticed a large bag of peanuts on every table. The only thing was there was nowhere to put the shells.
It wasn’t long before we noticed other patrons simply tossing the shells on the ground. This really gives it an old time feel as it’s easy to imagine people discarding them in this fashion at Raffles Hotel years ago.
The roasted peanuts are actually delicious! And don’t worry… Our server assured us it was easy to sweep them up at the end of the night.
5. Eat Before You Go to Raffles Hotel Singapore
While the peanuts are great, there is actually no real food served at Long Bar. We recommend having lunch before you go to enjoy a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel.
There are a couple other restaurants inside the property but know that they’re a bit expensive. Luckily, there are no shortage of options with all the amazing Hawker Center food courts around the city.
6. Spin the Old Drink Machine
On the middle of Long Bar you’ll see a peculiar looking machine. This was actually how they made the Singapore Sling back in the day! It allowed them to make and shake multiple drinks at once for thirsty customers.
We gave it a spin ourselves. However, when the bartender really cranked it we were shocked. That thing can really get going!
7. Admire the Historic Pictures
As you walk into Long Bar to get your Singapore Sling, you’ll notice a number of pictures around the room. Make sure you take the time to stroll around and get a closer look at these!
The history of Raffles Hotel in Singapore is astounding and we loved seeing what it looked like over the last century. You won’t believe how many people around the world have tried the Singapore Sling!
Is the Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel Worth it?
Now we know what you’re thinking. Even though it is one of the most famous drinks in Asia… 38 Singapore Dollars is a lot! We had the same mental obstacles when deciding to go to Raffles Hotel.
With tax and gratuity it actually comes out to be 42 Singapore Dollars which is around $31 USD. However, what we realized when we got there is that it’s more about the experience. I mean you’re basically visiting a museum and getting a tasty drink with it!
We have to say getting a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel was indeed worth it for us. We have been to Singapore several times and it was something we had avoided because of the price tag in the past.
More Amazing Things to do in Singapore
Many backpackers on a budget pass through Singapore on their way to other destinations in Southeast Asia. We’ve been there and we totally get it! The cost of one Singapore Sling can be what you will spend for 2 days worth of food at the popular Hawker Centers.
There are also so many awesome things to do in Singapore that you might rather spend your money on. Check out the Flyer & Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck & ArtScience Museum! These are fun activities which actually cost less than the price of one Singapore Sling at Raffles.
Basically, if you can afford it then why not! Still, the Singapore Sling isn’t worth breaking the bank over. If you do decide to go just make sure you arrive early and avoid the lines.
Where to Stay in Singapore
Luxury – Marina Bay Sands – We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands for Jake’s 30th birthday and it blew away our expectations. Aside from the luxury amenities, swimming in the rooftop infinity pool will be the highlight of your visit!
Iconic – Raffles Hotel – As one of the most historic hotels Southeast Asia, staying at the Raffles Hotel will be an experience like no other. Enjoy a Singapore Sling and take in the amazing architecture of this landmark built in 1887.
Fun Vacation– Parkroyal on Pickering– It doesn’t get much more green and lush then Parkroyal on Pickering! This fun vacation spot is literally one of the greenest hotels in the world. Plant life covers the entire property to make for a unique stay in Singapore.
Boutique – KēSa House – Located in Chinatown, this fantastic hotel was built in 1920’s. Enjoy the incredible setting in the heart of the city in a traditional building on Keong Saik Road.
Hostel – Hipstercity hostel – Fun hostel in downtown Singapore with both private and dorm rooms. Great place to meet other travelers to explore the city with.
Have any questions about getting a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel? How about tips or advice from your own visit? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
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Singapore Travel Planning
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Singapore. You can book everything from a Singapore Highlights Bike Tour to a Gardens by the Bay E-Ticket, and even a private food tour with 10 tastings!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
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