Singapore political parties will go head to head in the upcoming Singapore general elections; here’s what we think of them as cocktails.
It’s election season in Singapore; Singaporean citizens will be going to the polls this Friday 10 July to vote for a new government for the next five years.
When it comes to the various political parties competing in this year’s elections though, we have to admit we know precious little especially with the slew of new parties launched in recent years. So while perusing the different party manifestoes in a state of high insobriety with our pals at The Highest Spirits over some cocktails, we thought – what if Singapore political parties were cocktails? For the last elections we put together a similar article comparing Singapore political parties to beers, but would comparing them to cocktails help us understand their ideologies better?
So here’s what we’ve come up with.
People’s Action Party – The Martini.
What’s a cocktail with raw, unadulterated power? Why the classic Martini, of course. The Martini – made with simply gin and white vermouth – is a lightning bolt of flavour which is why one of the most popular spirit-forward cocktails over the decades and can be found in pretty much every cocktail bar.
This crystal clear tipple may be deemed to have lost some of its shine in recent years, but that’s probably due to today’s plethora of choices. Yet like the People’s Action Party the classic continues to have its strong proponents, and remains a dependable choice for those who can’t decide what to order at the bar.
Workers’ Party – The Vodka Martini.
For Workers’ Party we’d go with The Vodka Martini, a modern twist of the Martini that swops out the gin for vodka. Like Singapore’s main opposition party, this vodka version of the Martini became popular in the 80s and 90s when vodka came into fashion. Some argue that it’s really just another Martini – a lite version – but its own supporters say the use of vodka changes things completely.
Like gin-based Martinis this variant is similarly spirit-forward, so whether shaken or stirred you’ll get hammered real quick if you down too many at a go. Those that are salty are always accusing it of being dirty, but that’s a totally different drink – the Dirty Martini, a version that is adulterated with some olive brine.
Singapore Democratic Party – The Singapore Sling.
The Singapore Democratic Party has to be Singapore’s iconic cocktail, the Singapore Sling. This gin-based concoction was first created by Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Raffles Hotel back in 1915, and made with gin, Benedictine DOM, pineapple and lime juices for a tropical feel, cherry liqueur and grenadine for sweetness, and then balanced with a dose of Cointreau and Angostura bitters.
The tropical sling is full of fruitily sweet promises, but can be tinged with a bitter edge as exhibited by the angst of its Secretary General. While its popular with foreign tourists, most Singaporeans don’t quite take the Singapore Sling too seriously. That doesn’t stop it from continuing to demand its rightful place at the cocktail table.
Singapore People’s Party – The Old Fashioned.
The Old Fashioned may not be as popular these days, but in its hey-day was a spirit-forward drink comprising of whiskey, sugar and Angostura bitters that was the choice of both the genteel and proletariat. We think you can’t be more Old Fashioned than the Singapore People’s Party, whose retired former Secretary General Chiam See Tong was lauded for his old-school brand of politics by friend and foe alike, and whose considerable influence on the party remains.
But the Old Fashioned is seeing a kind of revival, mainly with variants that sees the usual whiskey swopped out for rum or even Mezcal. Time will tell if those new Old Fashioneds will gain any kind of traction.
Reform Party – The Dark ‘N’ Stormy.
Founded by the much-respected late veteran opposition politician J.B. Jeyaratnam, the Reform Party is today headed by his son Kenneth Jeyaretnam. Under J.B Jeyaratnam Reform Party would have been a Negroni – bitter, yet refreshing. Under Kenneth Jeyaretnam we liken the party to a Dark ‘N’ Stormy.
The Dark ‘N’ Stormy is a highball cocktail made with dark rum and ginger beer. It has British roots, much like the Reform Party leader who spends most of his time these days in Britain. And of course, dark and stormy could also refer to Kenneth’s fiery anti-PAP rhetoric, and continually condemns the perfect lightning storm he believes the incumbent party has wrought on Singapore.
Progress Singapore Party – The Lychee Martini.
Led by former PAP stalwart Dr. Tan Cheng Bock with the support of Lee Hsien Yang – the brother of current Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong – we’d argue that the Progress Singapore Party is yet another variant of the Martini – the Lychee Martini.
While the classic Martini can tend to be a little harsh on the palate for those not used to it, the Lychee Martini uses tropical lychee to sweeten up and make the cocktail more palatable while retaining its whiter-than-white intentions and Instagram-worthiness. Of course, this naturally becomes more attractive to younger tipplers, just like how the Progress Singapore Party has found a surprising fount of support from younger voters who find their senior Secretary General very lit and woke with his social media savviness.
Red Dot United – The Corpse Reviver.
What sounds like Singapore’s national soccer team is our country’s newest political party. In fact Red Dot United, a recent splinter from Progress Singapore Party, is so spanking new – it was just founded in May this year most people haven’t heard of it till it announced its slate of candidates to contest the coming election.
Here we’ll have to go for the hangover cure that is the lesser-known Corpse Reviver; both the Corpse Reviver No.1 and Corpse Reviver No.2 may apply. The party’s manifesto looks to be a panacea to what it imagines are ills to Singapore society, among which are a focus on promoting clean and renewable energy to protect the environment, and tweaks to Singapore’s education system.
Peoples Voice – The Aperol Spritz.
Also one of Singapore’s newest political parties, Peoples Voice was formed by former NSP Secretary General Lim Tean as a populist party that’s know to call the incumbent PAP to account on various issues. Lim Tean is probably best known for his railings against the government on YouTube, on matters ranging from government spending on foreign students to keeping jobs for Singaporeans.
With their particular brand of populism, we think the Aperol Spritz best describes them. The Aperol Spritz is a simple enough cocktail, combining Aperol, prosecco and soda water. As you can imagine, there’d be a lot of fizz in this drink, as well as a recognisable bitterness from the classic Italian bitter aperitif.
People’s Power Party – The Jägerbomb.
The People’s Power Party is formed by veteran politician Goh Meng Seng, who founded the democratic socialist party after leaving National Solidarity Party as its Secretary General in the aftermath of the 2011 elections. PPP was dealt one of the worst electoral defeats suffered by an opposition party in the 2015 elections
We’d liken People’s Power Party to the Jägerbomb; not really a cocktail, but a bomb-style tipple that is made by dropping a shot of Jägermeister into an energy drink such as Red Bull. It’s mostly herbal bitterness from the Jägermeister combined with acrid sweetness of Red Bull – complete with a burst of energy followed by sugar crash – so you probably only want to drink this as a form of punishment.
Singapore Democratic Alliance – Long Island Iced Tea.
The Singapore Democratic Alliance is a unique entity that’s really a loose coalition of a number of small Singapore political parties gathered under one umbrella. But infighting and disagreements between the different parties continue to torpedo their chances at the polls; its Chairman Desmond Lim lost his bids in the 2011 elections and a followup by-election, and becoming only the second-ever candidate to have lost his election deposit twice (by garnering less than 12.5% of total votes).
The best cocktail to describe the Singapore Democratic Alliance would be the Long Island Iced Tea. Composed of gin, tequila, vodka, rum and triple sec, and topped up with a touch of cola, it was popular back in the 90s in bars and disco lounges. But for the Long Island Iced Tea, the whole wasn’t greater than the sum of its parts, and should have remained back in that era.
National Solidarity Party – Shirley Temple.
National Solidarity Party first made its political debut in Singapore 1988 general elections, and the progressive party has contested in every elections since. But NSP is ironically named; winds of change has seen many of its members leave to join other Singapore political parties in recent years, with the highest profile one being opposition darling Nicole Seah – who shone in the 2011 elections for NSP – joining Workers Party to compete in the upcoming elections.
Now relatively toothless, we’d consider NSP to be the spirit-less mocktail Shirley Temple, made with ginger ale and a splash of grenadine. A bit sweet, a bit spicy and a touch fizzy, but little else.
Disclaimer: SpiritedSingapore.com is a non-partisan, non-political website that covers alcohol news in Singapore. This post is purely tongue-in-cheek, so please don’t shut us down.