When I walked inside Raffles Hotel Makati, the first thing that caught my eye was the elaborate modern chandelier overhead that was breathtakingly elegant and beautiful. It was like a shower of rain about to fall upon you. As my eyes traveled downward, the large bookshelves caught them, and I was quite curious what it was that was hidden beyond it, that had the need for a library. Apparently, as I later found out, it was sort of a tribute to Ernest Hemingway and other literary writers who were frequent patrons of Raffles Hotel Singapore back then.
I then entered the Long Bar which had a similar feel to its Lion City counterpart. Home of the legendary Singapore Sling, it featured the same colonial architecture and straw fans high up on the ceiling, but still retained a Filipino feel with a painting of Manny Pacquiao.
Notice the peanut shells on the tiled floor? Even this tradition was brought over from Singapore -- a sort of rebellious act that enabled their locals to break free of their strict laws when unwinding at the bar. I was hesitant to throw the empty shells at first, feeling like a guilty kid who broke the antique vase. A couple of inebriant sips later, though, I was throwing away shell after shell with glee.
The bartenders were quite knowledgable with the drinks that they serve, and what's more interesting to know is that they can whip up any cocktail you feel like having, and even customize or tweak it to your liking.
Yes, that is coffee you see, and you should know that the Long Bar slings can throw quite a punch. Halfway through my second aperitif, I knew I had to get one, lest I pass out on the buffet dinner that we're about to have later that night.
Not to miss when at the Long Bar is the Singapore Sling. Made up of a hodgepodge of liquors---Cherry Heering, Cointreau, Angostura Bitters and a tinge of Benedictine---with Tanqueray Gin at the helm, this classic cocktail may fool you at first with its lemon and pineapple taste. It was a complex mixture of flavors, and I have to warn you... slow down as it only takes a short while before the alcohol kicks in, and fast.
I was a bit tipsy by the time I finished my Singapore Sling, but I knew better than to pass up the chance to get a taste of the local version of a sling -- and a luxurious one at that. Literally. See those shiny specks on top of the foam? Those are 24-karat gold flakes people. It's not everyday I get to eat gold so I signaled the bartender to whip up one for me. With the same liquor base as the classic (Benedictine, Lime and Pineapple juices, Angostura foam), and some leveled up variant of the others (Tanqueray Ten, Cherry Blossom, Grand Marnier), this opulent drink was smoother and sweeter, and had a more delicate aftertaste, albeit I can't say the same for the kick, as it was just as hard and unforgiving. I definitely preferred this one over the Singapore Sling.
There were far more cocktails interesting enough to pique my curiosity, but I had to behave since the night had just started and dinner was already waiting.
Spot: Lobby Level Raffles Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Ave., Makati City
Contact No.: 555.9777