Saturday, October 29, 2016

Raffles Hotels Celebrate One Hundred Years of the Singapore Sling with the Raffles 1915 Gin.

It's an amazing story that began a century ago with the creation of the iconic Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel's legendary Long Bar, and it's a story that continues to be written with a refreshing new chapter...

Luxury international hotel brand, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, collaborates with one of the innovative pioneers at the forefront of London's handcrafted gin renaissance, Sipsmith, in what could very well be another classic. Gentlemen, meet the Raffles 1915 Gin by Sipsmith Independent Spirits...

In celebration of 100 years of the classic Singapore Sling, London-based gin-maker Sipsmith introduces another timeless classic with their bespoke Raffles 1915 Gin, infused with exotic botanicals inspired by the cocktail created by Ngiam Tong Boon at Singapore's Raffles Hotel back in 1915. The rich blend of delicately spiced botanicals captures the heart and spirit of the Raffles legend, transporting you back in time during the golden age of travel and cocktail innovation. English tradition and authenticity, with layers of distinct floral notes from the exotic southeast, come together for a smooth and full-bodied spirit with an elegant and balanced finish. Sipsmith creates gin the old-fashioned way, just the way it should be, with handcrafted small-batch production using traditional copper stills. And it all comes together in a masterful collaboration with Raffles Hotels & Resorts, with Sipsmith's luxurious bespoke Raffles 1915 Gin.

Clean, crisp, and refreshing, the Raffles 1915 Gin is truly special. Handcrafted at the Sipsmith Distillery in London exclusively for Raffles Hotels & Resorts, the new Raffles 1915 Gin brings together unique layers of distinct notes in a seamless blend, from jasmine flowers, fresh pomelo peel, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, nutmeg, and cardamom from the southeast with the classic gin botanicals of the award-winning Sipsmith London Dry Gin. The blend of both exotic and timeless botanicals result in a rich yet delicate balance of vibrant notes making this custom spirit another classic in the making, and another page in the history and heritage of Raffles Hotel, the Long Bar, and the Singapore Sling. The medley of botanicals include Juniper, an essential ingredient and base for any true gin with its woody, pine notes; Coriander with its mellow, citrusy spiciness and a subtle whisper of ginger hints; Angelica, a tall flowering plant adding a distinct dryness to the blend; Orris Root, with its vibrant and fragrant floral note; Liquorice Root; with its contrasting bittersweet undertones giving it depth; Cassia Bark adding gentle cinnamon notes to the blend; Orange Peel with its bold citrus flavor to round out a balanced profile; Pomelo Peel, with its distinct Southeast Asian notes; Clove for its rich, spicy, and heady warmth; Cardamom with its fragrant, lemon and hoppy flavors; Nutmeg & Mace, a spice blend from the same tree with its sweet and aromatic qualities; Lemongrass with its familiar sweet, herbal and citrus notes; Kaffir Lime Leaf, with its comforting citrus and mildly spiced hints; and Jasmine Flower, with its floral and almost buttery and candy-like profiles.

The new Raffles 1915 Gin, with  its rich blend of Malaysian and Southeast Asian botanicals, is an homage to the iconic Singapore Sling, and the perfect base for a new generation of classic cocktails. Long Bar's master mixologists led by Orman, Dennis, and Paul (L) continue the innovative spirit behind the iconic Singapore Sling... 

...with five new handcrafted designer cocktails using the artisanal Raffles 1915 Gin at Raffles Hotel Manila's Long Bar. The new line of signature cocktails are refreshing expressions that celebrate the past while inspiring a promising future of limitless possibilities, capped by an illustrious history of innovation. Each new cocktail creation highlights the richness of the blend of botanicals in the new Raffles 1915 Gin, offering flavorful cues to the different notes with each cocktail. And now you too can embark on a flavorful journey reliving the daring spirit of the golden age of travel and cocktail innovations Raffles Hotel is known for, and it all begins at Long Bar...

The pioneering spirit of Ngiam Tong Boon and the iconic Singapore Sling returns with the introduction of the new cocktails, each one destined to be yet another milestone in Long Bar's history of cocktail innovations. The familiar and comforting mint julep is given that distinct Raffles Hotel and Sipsmith touch with the refreshing Smith Julep, a smooth and refreshing trifecta of orange, lemon, and honey black tea topped with crushed ice and garnished with fresh mint. The floral notes of the Raffles 1915 Gin are enhanced by the vibrant layers of citrusy notes from the fresh orange and lemon, rounded out by the deep hints of the sweet and earthy honey black tea adding a distinct Asian spin. It's a cocktail that brings back fond memories of care-free and endless summers with every sip, and another perfect excuse for a tipple at the Long Bar.

Floral and tropical notes recreate the exotic Southeast Asian vibe with the Jasmine, a light yet refreshing blend with orange liqueur, Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea, tart pineapples and sweet pineapple coco jam. There's an old-world feel with this cocktail, recalling images of colonial times and the plantation era, completed by the 19th century-style oscillating straw ceiling fans of Long Bar.

Sweet, tart and refreshingly mild sour notes come with each and every soothing sip without overpowering the other for elegantly balanced flavors. Many would say that a good dish, like a great cocktail, should elicit a memory or an association to complete the experience. Long Bar's Jasmine does exactly that, transporting you back to simpler yet grander days, with the richness of tropical flavors to complete the experience.

Playful and whimsical hints are served next adding that contemporary spin to classic cocktails with the South East Temptation, a cool and colorful bubble-gum flavored cocktail with the sharp, citrusy notes of calamansi, lemonade, and Cointreau layered with a sweet banana liqueur blended with Blue Curacao. Served with a side of sweet and crisp banana chips, the South East Temptation demonstrates the versatility of the new Raffles 1915 Gin, and the inventive creative style of Long Bar's mixologists.

The new Raffles 1915 Gin, with its underlying Malaysian botanicals, also provides creative opportunities to revisit the classic Singapore Sling with two new cocktails, the Pearl of the Orient Sling, a tropical blend with pineapple, calamansi, lemonade, lemongrass, and mango-cinnamon syrup...

...and the Garden Sling, with grapefruit, pineapple, lemon, Cointreau, and Benedictine completed by the smoked fragrance of torched rosemary and grapefruit peel. The Raffles Hotel's Long Bar and Ngiam Tong Boon's legacy with the Singapore Sling is alive and well with the new and innovative handcrafted cocktail creations.

Each round of cocktails were served with Long Bar's popular side dishes, including their all-time favorite Pork Rinds (L) and Truffle Fries (R), tasty bites with bold flavors pairing well with the new cocktails (see my previous posts on the Long Bar, Another Round at Raffles Makati's Long Bar and Afternoon Cocktails at Long Bar).

The Long Bar also offers sumptuous and savory dishes (for more on Long Bar's signature dishes, see my earlier post, The Long and Short Of It: A Power Lunch at Raffles Makati's Long Bar and my first ever experience at Long Bar, Singapore Slings, Gold Flakes, and Peanuts at the Long Bar) to complete that special Long Bar experience.

The rich history and heritage of tradition and authenticity converge with a modern and contemporary creativity in one place, with five refreshingly innovative handcrafted cocktails prepared with the new Raffles 1915 Gin at Raffles Hotel Manila's Long Bar. Sir Stamford Raffles and Ngiam Tong Boon would definitely approve...

And starting late October, Raffles Hotels & Resorts' bars and lounges worldwide will be serving Raffles 1915 Gin in the creation of the iconic Singapore Sling, including special versions of the Sling conceptualized and developed specifically for each and every location and the new line of handcrafted cocktails. 

Enjoy a soothing tipple with the new handcrafted cocktails using the Raffles 1915 Gin, or have a luxurious upgrade to all-time favorites like the Gin Rickey or Gin and Tonic. Clean, crisp, with distinct floral botanicals and an elegant finish, the new Raffles 1915 Gin is another good reason to stop by Raffles Makati Hotel's Long Bar. And if you want to recreate these classic gin cocktails, here are the recipes...Cheers!

Smith Julep
  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz Orange Juice
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 1/4 Homemade Honey Black Tea Syrup
  1. Pour all ingredients into a glass mug and stir to incorporate. Add crushed ice.
  2. Garnish with the steeped black tea bag, and a sprig of mint.
  3. To create honey-black tea syrup, steep one black tea bag in a half cup of hot water and let it cool. Add organic honey and let it steep longer.
  • 2 oz Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Lime Mix
  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice infused with Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea
  • 3 wedges Fresh Pineapple
  • 1 bar spoon Pineapple Coco Jam
  • Ginger Ale
  1. Smear the jam along the inside of the rock glass and set aside. In a shaker, muddle the fresh pineapple and add the gin, lime mix, and tea-infused orange liquor before filling it up with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Pour and strain into the rock glass with fresh ice cubes, and top with ginger ale.
  4. Garnish with a dried pineapple wheel and a few jasmine tea pearls.
South East Temptation
  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/4 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1/4 oz Banana Liquor
  • 1 oz Calamansi
  • 1/2 oz Lemonade
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • Homemade Temptation Foam
  1. Pour all the ingredients except for the foam into a tall glass.
  2. Fill with ice and shake vigorously.
  3. Pour and strain into a rock glass with fresh ice.
  4. Top with homemade temptation foam.
  5. Garnish with a slice of banana and pineapple leaf.
Pearl of the Orient Sling
  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Calamansi Juice
  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz Homemade Mango Cinnamon Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Lemongrass Essence
  • Soda Water
  1. Pour all the ingredients, except the Blue Curacao into a highball glass.
  2. Fill it up with crushed ice and add the Curacao, then top up with soda water.
  3. Garnish with a chocolate pearl in a crushed ice bowl, and sticks of lemongrass.
The Garden Sling
  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1 1/2 oz Lemon Mix
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz Benedictine
  • 1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1/4 oz Zen Garden Bitters
  • 4 sprigs Mint Leaves
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • Grapefruit Peel
  1. Burn the grapefruit peel and rosemary, and trap the smoky citrus and wood smoke in to a glass.
  2. Save the rest of the rosemary and grapefruit peel for your garnish.
  3. In a separate glass, add all the juices, spirits, and other ingredients, fill it with ice, and shake it well.
  4. Pour and strain the shaken concoction into your smoke-filled glass and add fresh ice.
  5. Nicely spin the rosemary into the grapefruit peel and top with edible gold leaf.   
Long Bar is located at the Raffles Makati Hotel, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati City, or call Restaurant Reservations at 795-1840 or email for reservations and inquiries.

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