“Would you like me to clear the table for you, madame?”
With one swoop of his arm he brushed the peanut shells off the table and they fell to the growing pile on the floor. I stared at the waiter with mild horror and walked towards my seat crunching the peanut shells under my feet. Did he really just do that?
I had come to the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel for the same reason everyone else does; to sip on a Singapore Sling in the very hotel where the drink was invented in the early 1900s.
Inside the bar was dark and inviting. Palm shaped fans created a cooling breeze, while guests from around the world leaned back in wicker chairs and enjoyed their pink drinks in hand – everyone in the room was sipping a Singapore Sling.
I scanned the room and noticed that piles of peanut shells were littered around the chairs and the tables at the Long Bar.
What was the meaning of this?
It was too messy to be careless behaviour…was there a tradition behind it all?
I got up to take a few photos and that’s when I noticed the sign:
Quite possible the one place in Singapore where littering is actually encouraged. Never would we suggest you break the law. But at the Long Bar at Raffles, feel free to brush your peanut shells onto the floor…
Apparently the Long Bar is one of 18 unique establishments at the Raffles Hotel where breaking culinary rules is the norm. It’s only at the end of the day when the bar is ready to close that the peanuts shells are finally swept away.
While no one can say for sure when or why this tradition originated, my guess is that the waiters got tired of sweeping the floor 50 times a day and behold a new tradition was born!
When the waiter returned with the menu, I was in for a bit of a shock. I gulped as I read the price:
But here I was, sitting at the Long Bar. In the Raffles Hotel. In Singapore. I ordered one up and thought to myself, people in Manhattan are probably paying a lot more for a drink in the city on a Friday night – let’s do this!
Minutes later my drink appeared in a hurricane shaped glass – a punch of pink with a foamy top, garnished with a Maraschino cherry and a slice of pineapple.
It was my first Singapore Sling ever. I may not be a cocktail expert – I certainly can’t distinguish brandy from gin – however, I can’t think of a better place to enjoy this classic.
My only regret is that I didn’t make it to any of the other 18 bars and restaurants where you’re allowed to toss food on the ground. It looks like I have a good reason to come back to Singapore now!
Have you ever had a Singapore Sling?
Have you been to a bar or a restaurant with any quirky traditions?