The Singapore Sling is one of those famous cocktails that shows up in bar menus practically everywhere in the world. So we all recognize the name, but many of us have no clue as to what it actually tastes like, or the cloudy history behind it.
Well, first off, the most notable thing about the pink Singapore Sling ( the “slang” in the title is a private joke my sister and I have – something to do with Aussies, but can also be attributed to the way the drink has been “slang-ed” -in that there have been many versions since its original recipe) is that it is Singapore’s most famous import, and originated at its equally famous hotel, the Raffles.
This is where the somewhat cloudy facts come in. While everyone (in the cocktail/bartending world I presume) agrees that the Singapore Sling was indeed created by one by Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon (a Hainanese-Chinese bartender) for the Raffles Hotel, the date of origin and the original recipe itself is widely disputed.
Regardless to say, the Singapore Sling (originally called the “Straits Sling” and changed in the 1930’s) was created at the turn of the century, sometime between 1908 and 1915.
There have been a number of theories researched about which recipe was most likely to be the original. Of these, Charles Baker probably came closest, his 1939 recipe being one he encountered in 1926 as follows:
The original formula is 1/3 each of dry gin, cherry brandy and Benedictine; shake it for a moment, or stir it in a bar glass, With 2 fairly large lumps of ice to chill. Turn into a small 10 oz highball glass with one lump of ice left in and fill up to individual
taste with chilled club soda. Garnish with the spiral peel of 1 green lime. In other ports in the Orient drinkers often use C & C ginger ale instead of soda, or even stone bottle ginger beer.
Of course, the Long Bar at the Raffles hotel offers the most famous recipe of all, and
any tourist new to the city must sample the Singapore Sling as part of the true Singapore experience.
The Raffles Hotel Recipe
* 1 1/2 US fluid ounce (45 ml) gin
* 1/2 US fluid ounce (15 ml) Cherry Heering liqueur
* 1/4 US fluid ounce (8 ml) Cointreau
* 1/4 US fluid ounce (8 ml) Benedictine
* 4 US fluid ounces pineapple juice
* 1/2 US fluid ounce (15 ml) lime juice
* 1/3 US fluid ounce (10 ml) grenadine
* dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Garnish with cherry and slice of pineapple.