It all started with an evening stroll through Singapore. Co-founder of Sipsmith gin, Sam Galsworthy, was in town to launch his spirits and found himself standing outside the landmark Raffles Hotel. The place has a particular relevance to the vivacious distiller; his great, great, great uncle was Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of modern Singapore. Galsworthy hatched a plan: create a special spirit for the 100th anniversary of the Singapore Sling, the gin-based concoction first created by a bartender in the hotel’s Long Bar.
“It is a story very close to my heart,” said Galsworthy whose mission was to make a gin reminiscent of those of the era. However, Sipsmith’s master distiller, the charismatic Jared Brown, put his foot down. The distillation methods back then were not up to scratch, he said, so instead they went about creating a gin that conjured up the flavours of the time. In went kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and pomelo peel, and the result is the Raffles 1915 (£44), a deliciously citrussy limited release that’s wax-topped and designed with a red label to echo the Singaporean flag. It will be available from October 17 in Raffles hotels and London’s Selfridges, which will hold just 300 bottles.
The best way to enjoy it? In a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar at Raffles.