Where To Get Singapore’s Favorite Historical Cocktail: The Singapore Sling

cocktails Developed sometime before 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender who worked at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel Singapore, the Singapore Sling is a historical cocktail that has made a revival over the past few years. The original recipe used only the best ingredients – gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine and fresh pineapple juice. While by the 1980s the quality of the drink had begun to suffer – for example, substituting soda water and bottled juice instead of the fresh variety – a reappearance of Cherry Heering and fresh ingredients has revived the cocktail favorite.

Want to know where to get a quality Singapore Sling on your next trip to Singapore? Try these top venues.

Raffles Hotel Singapore

This should be the first stop on your mission to find the perfect Singapore Sling, as this is where the drink was created over 100 years ago. Inside the hotel is the legendary Long Bar, the birthplace of the cocktail. For those who enjoy sipping their drink in a laid-back atmosphere, the two-story venue features Earthy decor inspired by the Malayan plantations of the 1920s.Moreover, if you’d like to try a unique spin on the drink, modern day bartenders at the Long Bar have created six variations – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Tropical and Courtyard. To pay homage to the Ngiam Tong Boon, however, each recipe contains at least one original ingredient. For instance, the Spring Sling contains Smirnoff Apple Vodka, Apple Sourz and fresh pineapple and orange juices, while the gin-based Courtyard Sling is made with Lychee Liqueur, fresh mango juice and ginger beer. To help guests remember their cocktail experience, Singapore Sling Glasses and Sling Shakers are available for purchase.

Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

At the historic Fullerton Hotel, Singapore (FHS), patrons can enjoy more than just your average Singapore Sling. At their onsite Post Bar, there is actually a Singapore Sling collection, featuring eight unique variants of the famous cocktail, including a Coconut Sling and a Lychee Sling. The trendy bar also features a private music room with contemporary and new world music. Moreover, guests can choose to enjoy their cocktails at the under-lit honey onyx bar tables or outside in the bar’s adjoining outdoor East Garden.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

At The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, patrons will be able to enjoy classic Singapore Sling’s in a lounge named after the famous American glass artist, Dale Chihuly. The recipe for their version of the Sinapore goes like this:

  • 30 ml Gin
  • 15 ml Cherry Brandy
  • 15 ml Grenadine
  • 10 ml Triple Sec
  • 10 ml Benedictine Dom
  • 90 ml Pineapple Juice
  • 15 ml Lime Juice
  • A dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Sliced Starfruit, Watermelon and Rock Melon for garnish

“There are many variations of Singapore Sling as different bartenders tweak the cocktail’s components for the best result,” explains assistant beverage manager Karamjeet Singh. “Our Singapore Sling is completely made a la minute when orders are received. This freshness really allows the subtleties of different flavors come through, from the warmth of the cherry brandy to the sunshine that pineapple juice imbues on the palate. Our Singapore Sling is slightly less sweet and doesn’t contain club soda unlike most other establishment’s version.”

Holistic Healing Practices From Around The World

licorice rootNowadays, it seems like there’s a pill or shot to cure every illness. But do we really know how safe these unnatural remedies are? Throughout my travels and by talking with locals from other cultures, I’ve learned there are many natural treatments that are also effective in promoting good health. For those who’ve ever wondered about the holistic secrets of other cultures, here are some answers.

Turkey

In Turkey, the trick to staying healthy is mesir paste. The concoction was invented in Manisa during the Ottoman Empire, when the wife of Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim and mother of Suleyman the Magnificent became very ill. No doctor was able to find a cure, until one created a unique spice blend that seemed to bring the woman back to life. The mixture is a blend of 41 different spices that form a thick paste, and is used as a general cure-all and tonic. Some of the paste’s ingredients include black pepper, cinnamon, licorice root (shown above), coconut and orange peel. The country is so proud of their natural remedy, they celebrate a Mesir Festival in Manisa each year.lemonUkraine

One effective yet simple remedy that can be learned from Ukraine locals is eating a lemon slice – peel and all. Apparently, the zesty flavor of the peel and citrus of the fruit can help aid digestion, reduce bloat and help breathing maladies.

Singapore

According to Cecilia Soh, a Traditional Chinese Medicine Specialist at Singapore’s Eu Yang Sang, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees “food as medicine and medicine as food.” Since 74 percent of Singapore‘s population is Chinese, TCM is widely used. For example, many Asians will boil chrysanthemum flower tea to clear “excessive yang” from the body. This includes symptoms like sore throat, indigestion, constipation and excessive eye mucus. Peppermint is another herb used as tea that alleviates these symptoms as well as headaches and upper respiratory infections.

perilla leaf Another common remedy is Perilla leaf (shown right), which helps alleviate seafood-poisoning symptoms. It is often cooked with seafood in order to stop the problem from happening in the first place. For cough, healthy digestion and smooth peristaltic movements, Apricot seeds are used.

The most sought after of all holistic medicines, however, is ground up pearl. During ancient times, royal families and wealthy merchants were the only ones who could afford this ancient health and beauty secret. The power can either be ingested or applied to the face for clear skin and anti-inflammation, although a doctor should be consulted before consuming.

honey Australia

The indigenous ingredient used by many Aussie’s to promote health and beauty is not only natural, it’s delicious. Ligurian honey, found in South Australia‘s Kangaroo Island, is very rare and powerful. In fact, it is where you can find the only strand of pure Ligurian bees left in the world. When I visited Kangaroo Island, I actually visited the Ligurian honey farm where they sold an array of honey foods, products and treatments. For beauty, the honey contains Vitamin E to help lighten blemishes and promote clear skin. Moreover, in terms of health, pure honey – like the Ligurian variety – is naturally anti-bacterial, and can be used to treat everything from minor wounds and inflammations to ulcers and arthritis.

There are also many natural remedies discovered by the Aboriginals in Australia. Tea tree oil, which is still common today in many parts of the world, is created by crushing up tea tree leaves and either applying the paste to wounds, or drinking as tea for internal ailments. The concoction works wonders and is thought to be more effective than over-the-counter prescriptions. Moreover, washing cuts and wounds with Emu bush leaves has been found to be just as effective as antibiotics, and more natural.

lizard Aruba

In Aruba, there are two very natural remedies used to cure asthma. The first makes use of the aloe plant. Cut a piece, remove the skin, and slurp up the gel. While it may not smell or taste wonderful, it will help your respiratory system and promote good digestion. The other treatment involves boiling gecko lizards, and drinking the hot broth. According to the locals I’ve spoken to, this holistic trick cures asthma permanently.

Bolivia

Because a common problem experienced in Bolivia is altitude sickness, locals use their cash crop of coca leaves to help cure the ailment. You can either chew the leaves, or boil them for tea. Coca leaves are high in calcium and other nutrients, and can also be used to treat illnesses like malaria, asthma, headaches, wounds and even a low sex drive.

barkBelize

According to Joshua Berman, author of Moon Belize, the people of Belize still use many traditional herbs and plants to treat various illnesses, especially the Maya. Travelers can find “medicinal herb trails” throughout the country, and Maya healers are found in the Maya Centre and in some southern villages in the Toledo District.

Herbal medicine, often referred to as bush medicine, is a big part of Belize’s cultural heritage. Plants are used to treat everything from everyday headaches and coughs to more serious ailments like diabetes and infertility. One popular cure for digestive problems and upset stomach is taking allspice tree leaves and making them into a tea. Moreover, the native scoggineal plant is helpful for relieving headaches and fevers by tying it to the forehead. For the common cold or flu, contribo vine can either be made into a tea or soaked in rum. And, if you’ve got itchy or burning skin ailments, like sunburn or bug bites, relaxing in a bath prepared with gumbolimbo bark (shown right) is very helpful.

Colombia

In Colombia, natural remedies are very popular. For instance, using Rosemary by itself will help clear your lungs, while mixing the herb with ginger, half a lemon and honey is a cure for the common cold. If you want improved blood circulation, combine garlic and honey, and if you have swollen eyes you can put manzanilla (camomile) on your eyelids.

aloe veraTo help alleviate a strong cough, there are two remedies you can borrow from Colombian culture. One treatment is to ingest drops of eucalyptus. The other is placing half a potato near your pillow when you’re sleeping, which will not only help your chest, but will also put you to sleep. Furthermore, for times when digestive problems arise, Colombians will often boil an aloe vera plant (shown right), drink the water, and eat the plant with sugar or honey. Apparently, this cure is very fast acting, although not the greatest tasting.

Mexico

flowerIn Mexico, holistic healing practices are very common, as there is a lot of indigenous heritage there. Before actual medicine arrived, people used many fruits, vegetables and herbs to cure ailments. One very common natural remedy is eating seedless prickle – the fruit that comes from cacti – for diarrhea. For constipation, papaya and prunes are helpful. If you’ve got a case of conjunctivitis, many locals will make a “chicalote” infusion. This refers to a type of flower with thorny leaves, so you must be careful when picking it. Simply saturate cotton balls with the mixture and dab the eyes. In a few days, the problem will be gone.

acaiBrazil

In Brazil, there are many natural remedies used to treat ailments. First there is açai almond (the actual fruit), which provides a dark green oil commonly used as an anti-diarrheal. Found in Pará in northern Brazil, it is thought to have strong energetic properties. The juice has an exotic flavor and is high in iron – excellent for people with anemia. Guaraná powder is another ingredient that is widely used to help intestinal problems, stop bleeding, relieve headaches and improve brain function. To use it, mash up a guaraná until it turns into a thin, reddish powder. The substance is extremely high in caffeine – four times more than regular coffee. There is also sucupira seed, which contains alkaloids used to help fevers, arthritis and acne. In fact, some pharmacological studies have found the oil from the seeds to be effective against schistosomiasis.

cloveMorocco

In Morocco, where Berber Pharmacies, or herbalists, are popular, many locals seek medical help the holistic way. For example, pavor seeds are used to help soothe nasal congestion. Simply put them in a piece of cloth and knot it to form a ball. Then, place the sack under the clogged nostril while covering the other, and sniff. When having a toothache, Moroccans will put a clove on the tooth that is experiencing pain. These are the dried flower buds of the Myrtaceae family tree (shown right).

If dealing with insomnia, one popular holistic remedy is infusing red poppy flower into a tea. And, for fever or itchy eyes, locals will saturate a clean, white cloth with rose water and place it over their eyes or forehead, depending on which ailment they have.

India

In India, it is popular to use turmeric for acne. Grind it into a paste and apply it directly to the skin. You can also do this with sandalwood for the same effect. For an upset stomach, shaved ginger is often put on salads and other foods and ingested. Moreover, congee, or boiled rice with water, is eaten like porridge to promote general wellness.

Are there any natural remedies you’ve learned about along your travels?

[photos via avlxyz, dearbarbie, titanium22, Siona Karen, kthypryn, cyanocorax, Adrian Nier, Pixeltoo, borderlys, Koehler Images]

Changi Airport, Singapore: budget-friendly experiences during your layover

changi airport While layovers are often times boring and filled with endless hours of watching the clock, Changi Airport in Singapore believes that airport experiences should be memorable. Not only that, the airport also caters to the budget-traveler with an array of free activities for people of all ages. Next time you’re in transit at Changi Airport, make sure to:

Take a free tour of Singapore- For those with a layover longer than five hours, the airport offers a choice of taking a historical or cultural walking tour of the city. Bookings can be made at the “Free Singapore Tours Registration Booth” in Terminals 1, 2, and 3.

Enjoy free Wi-Fi at over 500 internet stations around the airport.

Say a prayer and enjoy some peace in one of the airport’s four prayer rooms (Terminal 1, 2, 3, and the Budget Terminal).

Go to the movies. There are literally big-screen theaters with spacious and comfortable seats showing the latest box office hits in Terminals 2 and 3.

Get your game on in Terminal 2 with complimentary Xbox 360, Playstation 3, MTV Booths, and LAN Gaming.

Go for a hike in one of the various gardens or trails located in the airport, some of which include a rooftop cactus garden, a Sunflower & Light Garden, and the world’s only Butterfly Garden.

Keep up-to-date with news, sports, and entertainment in one of the many television lounges dispersed throughout the airport.

Pamper yourself for free at one of Changi Airport’s many foot and calf massage stations.

Get creative at one of the many designated interactive art zones where you’ll be able to create your own masterpiece.

Learn about aircraft transportation at the Aviation Gallery located in Terminals 2 and 3.

Why you should visit Singapore in 2012

museum There are many reasons Singapore makes a great travel destination, from unique architecture to rich cultural experiences to carefully prepared cuisine. In 2012, the Southeast Asian destination has even more reasons to visit, from exciting new restaurants to the opening of their first river-themed animal park. Here are some reasons to put Singapore on this year’s trip itinerary.

New cultural venues

In February, 2011, the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands opened to the public as the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. First there is the architecture of the building (shown right), which is designed to look like a lotus flower in order to metaphorically welcome guests from all walks of life. The museum itself houses more than 50,000 square feet of exhibits for visitors to explore, helping them to better understand the connection between art and science.

The National Art Gallery in Singapore is undergoing a complete renovation and is being relocated to the center of the Civic District. The new visual arts venue will be housed in two adjacent heritage buildings: City Hall and the former Supreme Court building. It will be the largest of its kind in Singapore, and will “focus on the display, appreciation, promotion, research and study of Southeast Asian and Singaporean art, as well as play host to international art exhibitions”. The completed project should be done by the end of the year, and until then travelers can still visit the former National Art Gallery, which features an array of local and cultural works.louis vuitton Luxury shopping

Last September, Singapore unveiled their Louis Vuitton Island Maison to merge luxury shopping with art and architecture. As the brand’s first-ever island maison, the store’s interior is nautically themed and will also introduce cultural elements of the area into the design. Along with selling designer accessories, the venue will also feature a contemporary artwork tunnel as well as a bookstore housing works on art, culture, and design.

Tourists who want to shop should also take a stroll down Orchard Road. While expensive, it is the best in Singapore in terms of quality, choice, and how many shops are centered in one place. Even if you’re short on cash, it’s worth it to visit Orchard Road just to window browse and check out all of the diverse architecture. If you’re on a budget and want to buy something, check out the Far East Plaza, which is on Scotts Road in the Orchard Road District and is home to countless boutique shops and non-chain stores.

gardens by the bay Outdoor leisure

In June, 2012, Singapore will be able to welcome visitors to the brand new Gardens by the Bay. The park, which is being constructed to be the “Central Park of Asia”, will encompass 250 acres of land in the Marina Bay District. The project is meant to align with the city’s vision of transforming into a giant garden. Some major attractions include the Heritage Gardens (shown right), the Flower Dome, Dragonfly Lake, Bay East Gardens, and Golden & Silver Gardens.

river safari Asia’s first river-themed animal park

Scheduled to open very soon, River Safari Singapore will be the first river-themed animal park in Asia. Visitors will have the chance to take boat rides and get a close-up encounter with freshwater environments and animals. The goal of the park, which is a project of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, is to educate people on freshwater habitat conservation. Some of the experiences you can have include visiting the Amazon Sunken Forest (shown right) and meeting manatees and arapalmas, riding down the Mekong and seeing Long-tailed Macaques and giant catfish, floating down the sacred healing waters of the Ganges and spying ancient Indian Gharial and narrow-headed turtles, and more.

singaporeUnique properties

Last year, Singapore prepared for hotel expansion through many efforts. For instance, the well-known Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort (shown right) underwent a $63 million renovation while new properties like the budget-friendly Ibis Singapore Novena and the luxurious Fullerton Bay Hotel opened their doors to guests.

And, expansions are continuing into this year. In August, 2012, visitors to Singapore will be able to stay at the brand new chic and trendy island resort, W Singapore Sentosa Cove, which will be the W Hotel’s first property in Singapore. Moreover, this year the Pan Pacific Hotel Group will be opening a brand new property that is planned to be one of the most eco-friendly hotel options in Asia, PARKROYAL on Pickering. The venue will feature energy and water regulation, solar-powered landscape lighting, and rainwater harvesting as well as lush skygardens, reflecting pools, and waterfalls. Around the hotel property, the landscape will hold a relaxing, tropical feel.

latsa High quality food

Most people would agree that the number one reason to visit Singapore is the food. Even international food expert Anthony Bourdain has toted Singapore as being the most “foodie destination” in the world and has said that once you’ve had the food there “you can’t go back to the way you were before”. One excellent way to get a taste of the street food culture in Singapore, which is high-quality and authentic, is at a Hawker Centre. Here you will be able to sample an array of local cuisines that have undergone careful preparation, like Laksa (shown right), Beef Rendang, and Hainanese Chicken Rice for a good price.

Sinapore also has some excellent new restaurants that have just opened up. To help you experience the hawker food culture even further, there is The Food Republic Beer Garden. Here you can choose from 18 different push-cart stalls offering street food as well as experience live music until 1AM. What’s also great about this place is it’s housed in an old Tiger Beer lowry making it great choice for beer lovers and oenophiles.

There are also L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Joël Robuchon Restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa, both opened by Michelin star chef Joël Robuchon. The two restaurants are the chef’s first venture in Southeast Asia and give guests the opportunity to sample two unique fine-dining menus at the same resort.

[images via ArtScience Museum, Schristia, Gardens by the Bay, River Safari, Shangri-La Sentosa, Diane Bondareff]

Exploring the street food in Singapore

singapore Singapore is an island-nation in Southeast Asia that has a rich culture, especially when it comes to food. Their unique street food culture can be experienced in the numerous hawker centers: open-air food courts housing authentic, carefully prepared cuisine for a budget-friendly price. Sample delicious options like the local favorite Hainanese Chicken Rice (shown right), peanut sauce-laden satay skewers, mildly-spicy laksa soup, and the rainbow-colored desert, Ais kacang, made with ice and topped with beans, corn, fruit, and other delights.

International food expert Anthony Bourdain, the host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations and The Layover, is a huge fan of Singaporean street food. At a recent event held at LAUT in New York, Bourdain described Singapore as one of the best “foodie destinations” in the world and explained how the culture is comprised of “incredible foods with individual personalities.”

He continued, saying, “I kind of lost my mind in Singapore. It ruined me from my previous life. When you’ve had laksa for breakfast there’s no going back. You’ll never eat Cheerios again. You can’t go back to the way you were before.”

For a better idea of Singapore street food culture, check out the gallery below.

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