Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Little Red Dot Singapore Sling and my Singapore Top 10

Post in conjunction with thebar.com

Singapore. The little Red Dot. A virtual tour around my Top Ten must sees plus a recipe for a taste of colonial Singapore from a Gin Sling made with Tanqueray London Dry.




Singapore. The little red dot. It refers to how the nation is depicted on many maps of the world, a little red dot at the southern tip of the Malay peninsula. It lies one degree north of the equator and has increased its total size by 23% via land reclamation. The dot is getting bigger. I visited for the first time in August 2015 when the city state was celebrating 50 years of independence and I fell hook, line and sinker in love with everything about it. Fast forward 18 months and I was back again for a second visit. Before I started researching in advance of my trip, Raffles and a Singapore Sling was pretty much all I knew about, so they were high on my to do list. However there is so much to see, do and discover in this country of sharp contrasts and multiple cultures. In no particular order here are my Top Ten must sees.





Built entirely on reclaimed land, Gardens By The Bay houses both the amazing Flower and Cloud Dome Conservatories and the high tech Supertrees. The whole concept cleverly combines design, innovation, botany and a huge wow factor. In addition to the spectacular, there's a lot of technology happening within the 18 metal trees which are adorned with plants, generate electricity and act as vents for the turbines which heat the conservatories. A trip up the 22m high OCBC Skyway is an absolute must for sweeping views. Both conservatories are amazing but particularly impressive is the Cloud Dome which recreates a tropical climate complete with 35m mountain and waterfall. 


Museums 
On my first trip I only visited the ArtScience Museum which in typical Singaporean architectural style looks like a stylized lotus flower. This time I also managed to tick off the fascinating Chinatown Heritage Centre, Asian Civilisations Museum, National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum, Singapore City Gallery and the moving Changi Museum. All of them were amazing in their own ways, although my particular personal favourites were the Peranakan and Chinatown Heritage. You can easily spend a good half day in the larger museums and they provide a welcome air conditioned escape from rain and/or humidity.


Hawker Food
Singaporeans live to eat. It's practically their national sport. The melting pot of cultures and the fact that the majority of people really don't cook at home and eat out all the time means that the food scene is vibrant, mouth watering and 24/7. If you want to eat at Michelin starred restaurants that is most certainly an option but the true taste of Singapore can be found in the numerous Hawker Centres (or more upmarket shopping centre food courts) Here you can feast on a dazzling selection of amazingly cheap food that is literally prepared in front of your very eyes in tiny booths. Cuisine covers Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian, Peranakan and more. Hainanese Chicken Rice would potentially be the national dish jostling alongside a Toast Set with Kopi. Hawker centres are not for the faint hearted with their raucos vibe. Be prepared to queue, share tables and be adventurous! Maxwell Road, Lau Pa Sat (for arcitechture and satay), Tekka Centre and the Chinatown Complex would be my top tips. 


Boat Trip
Departing from several points along the Singapore River a bumboat cruise provides a fantastic change of perspective on the city whether during the day or by night. In the evening it makes a great vantage point to view the light shows at Marina Bay Sands and Gardens on the Bay. An alternative quirky option is a Ducktour on an amphibious ex military vehicle which traverses both land and water. 


Shopping
Vying with eating for the top pastime is shopping. Orchard Road is the main shopping drag filled with dozens of interconnecting Mall's and department stores selling anything and everything you could ever wish for. Prices range from designer to discount. For quirky indie boutiques and gift shops head to Haji Lane in Kampong Glam. 


If Zoo's are your thing, Singapore has one of the best with more than 2,800 animals representing over 300 species. Animals roam freely in open a natural habitats. One of the biggest exhibits is the Orangutan habitat but for me the Sloths and Lemurs in the Fragile Forest was the highlight along with the Koalas.
For further animal encounters there is also a Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park.


Cookery Class
On my first trip to SG this was the first thing that I did on my very first day and was a fantastic introduction to both the city and it's food. You can read about my adventures at Food Playground where I made Nyonya Laksa, Deep Fried Spring Rolls and Kueh Dadar. This time I headed to a home cooking class at Cookery Magic where I made Char Kway Teow, Singapore Chilli Prawns and Onde Onde. Both very different experiences but highly recommended. 


Walking Tours
Singapore has a wealth of fascinating neighborhoods such as Little India, Chinatown, Kampong Glam and the Colonial District. On both my trips I signed up for walking tours with local guides via Original Singapore Walks and Urban Adventures. A fantastic way to get a wee bit off the beaten path, discover temples, wet markets, traditional shops, hidden gems and get a glimpse into everyday life. 

 

Singapore prides itself on its green spaces and Garden City status. The Botanic Gardens are a huge oasis of calm slap bang in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. It is absolutely huge - I may have got a wee bit lost! Don't miss the amazing Orchid Garden. 


Singapore Sling at Raffles
Last, but by no means least, we are back where we started with a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel. Thankfully I ticked this one off the list on my first trip as the Long Bar is currently closed as part of Raffles restoration programme (slated to reopen mid 2018) Here you can drink the world famous pink cocktail while tossing peanut shells onto the floor (the only place in Singapore where littering is permitted!) Rattan furniture and swaying fans complete the colonial look. 



After all that travel chat it must surely be time for a Cocktail. The Singapore Sling was first created in 1915 at Raffles Singapore by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. In colonial Singapore the Long Bar at Raffles was a popular gathering place and watering hole. Whilst the gentlemen sipped spirits, etiquette dictated that the ladies could not consume alcohol in public so had to stick to fruit juices and teas. Ngiam saw a gap in the market and created a cocktail that looked like a fruit juice, but was actually infused with gin and other liqueurs. Making it pink gave further social acceptability and the Singapore Sling was born. What exactly the original recipe was has been lost in the mists of time but here's my take on the Raffles classic using Tanqueray London Dry Gin as the base. For further sling-spiration head to thebar.com for their Singapore Sling and Perfect Singapore Sling Recipes.






Little Red Dot Singapore Sling
Makes one serving

25ml Tanqueray London Dry Gin
25ml Cherry Brandy
15ml Lime Juice
10ml Grenadine
120ml Pineapple Juice
Ice
Splash of Soda Water
Pineapple Slice & Maracchino Cherry to garnish

Add Tanqueray London Dry Gin, cherry brandy, lime juice, grenadine and pineapple juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes and shake until cold and frothy.
Strain into a tall glass filled with ice cubes and top up with soda water.
Garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple and add a 'little red dot' with a maraschino cherry.




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Disclosure: This is a commissioned recipe for thebar.com As always, all views expressed are my own. 

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28 comments :

  1. All looks so wonderful, I am ashamed to admit all I knew about (before reading your post and following your adventures on social media) was Raffles and the Sling too! Looks like there is so much to explore. Meanwhile, I feel a Little Red Dot Singapore Sling heading my way...

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  2. Singapore looks amazing I must admit. I also adore a good cocktail so will bookmark that Singapore Sling recipe

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    1. I definitely left a wee bit of my heart in SG. Hope you get to make my cocktail soon.

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  3. Sounds like you had an amazing trip, so much to see and do and to learn too. Love how you've thrown that inspiration into a cocktail. Cheers

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    1. Both trips were absolutely amazing and I would love to return for a third time and take the kids. Still so much to see and do - and EAT!

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  4. Wow! I've never really thought of Singapore as a potential holiday destination but I do now! Is it suitable for children and vegetarians?
    Your cocktail looks lush, by the way :-)

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    1. Great for kids - especially Sentosa Island where there are theme parks etc. I think you'd need to be careful in the Hawker Centres about veggie food as they seem to class vegetarian as no red meat and would assume you eat fish/chicken.

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  5. Will have to stir this up soon! I've never been to Singapore, but when I do visit, I'll keep your list in mind.

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  6. This drink sounds absolutely fabulous! Love the combination of pineapple juice and grenadine! Sweet and tasty to balance the liquor! Love it!

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    1. And if it's a wee bit too sweet just reduce the amount of Grenadine

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  7. This sounds AMAZING!!! I envy you being on this trip!! The drink sounds good, I have to make and try it!!

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    1. I had to keep pinching myself to make sure I was really back there again as my recent trip was a very last minute decision.

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  8. I just love anything with pineapple and this is such a pretty drink!! What can I substitute for the alcohol?

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    1. It would definitely work as a virgin version without the Gin. Perhaps reduce the Granadine so it's not too sweet.

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  9. Singapore Sling takes me back to my university years. Your recipe sounds delicious! And I now want to go to Singapore too! Thank you for bringing this lovely cocktail recipe to #CookBlogShare:)

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    1. I'm pretty sure that I drank some rather cheap and nasty versions in my student days too. This is much more sophisticated!

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  10. Ah, one of my favourite overseas trips were to Singapore and Malaysia over 20 years ago. Would love to go back and sip on this cocktail!

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    1. Singapore will have changed enormously in the last 20 years. I hope you get the chance to revisit. Malaysia is on my bucket list.

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  11. I have heard a lot about the Singapore zoo and the way it is setup to give the animal the feeling they are not in a zoo. What a lovely drink!

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    1. That's exactly what the zoo is famed for and it also seems to do a lot of good environmental and conservation work.

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  12. Thank you for this list, my favorite are the electrical trees. What a beautiful place to visit. SO much to see into this small red dot !

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    1. The trees are amazing! Particularly at night when they put on a light show to music. Great views from up there and there's even a restaurant.

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  13. I'd love to visit Singapore. I've always wanted to see the Super Trees.

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    1. They are even more amazing in real life!

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  14. It looks like we had similar experiences in Singapore. Very clean country and one of my favorite airport actually.

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  15. What a great list! I would love to visit someday!

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