The Sling – Have You Ever Tried Singapore’s Most Iconic Drink?
The truth was, I had never known about the existence of a Singapore Sling Boutique. And despite the Singapore Sling being one of the country’s most iconic alcoholic beverage, I had never drank one, not even when it came free on the SQ flights.
Even Chow Yun Fatt mentioned the Singapore Sling in Pirates of the Caribbean. So have you ever drank it before?
If you haven’t, you probably belonged to the 80% of the population. Do you know when the drink was invented and why it was called the ‘Sling’?
The Singapore Sling’s history began from as early as 1915. That is close to a century ago. It was a cocktail developed by a bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, ordered by an officer who wanted to use the drink to win a woman’s heart.
The original recipe came with gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and the signature fresh Sarawak pineapple juice. As for the name “Sling”, it was derived from the Hainanese pronunciation from the word “Commander” (司令). And I never knew that.
True Heritage Brew’s flagship Singapore Sling Boutique at Clarke Quay was an interesting concept. Initiated by a very passionate Mr Chow Hoo Siong, the drive started when he was surprised at how the Singapore Sling was even more recognisable than the country it came from during his university days overseas.
Also disappointed with the many inferior imitations around, he went ahead to set up his bar, with the mission to re-raise the profile of this classic drink. I thought it was rather brave of him, given the recent decline.
I could imagine why many locals would not want to try it. Anything branded ‘Singapore’ won’t be seen cool enough to locals. Also, the Sling might have been perceived as too sweet, too girly or too expensive. Though when I had the first glass of Sling, it was a refreshing experience which gave a summer feel with its cooling and bitter-sweet after taste.
The Sling could look innocent and deceiving though, with an alcoholic content of close to 7%, sending red flushes up my face immediately.
Ironicially, I preferred the clearer and less frothy pomegranate version, giving a slight sour and acidic twist, leaving a more lasting impression.
Many made Slings in their own versions and ways. Where and when could we say we had tried one glass of true blue Singapore Sling? At least this is one place willing to keep it authentic. Now, Sling chocolates anyone?
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