Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling (authentic)

The Singapore Sling is one of those drinks that probably easily appears in any Top 20 list of the world’s most famous cocktails. And accordingly it is also one of those drinks that are often served in a really lousy manner. So my first “Singapore Sling” was an entirely sweet cherry-swill that should better have been sold in a frozen form as kind of a funfair slush.

Nevertheless, the Singapore Sling can be a really subtle aromatic experience if you use some central ingredients which are commonly used in a good Singapore sling today. The cherry liqueur (I’ve chosen the classic Cherry Heering from Denmark) combines marvelously with the floral notes of gin and the subtle herbal soul of Dom Benedictine. Surrounded by fresh pineapple juice and fresh and tangy lime, also some homemade grenadine, Angostura bitters and Cointreau bestow the drink with little flavor accents. The Singapore Sling should be truly the opposite of an all too sweet swill.

Historically the Singapore Sling comes from – as you might have already guessed – the city of Singapore, where it allegedly was created at the Raffles Hotel in 1915. The credits for the initial creation go to the bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, but you have to argue here that it is considered extremely unlikely that the proffered Singapore Sling of Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon was an equivalent of today’s Singapore Sling. Rather, it was common in the former British colony at that time to serve Slings, which were actually sugared spirits filled up with water. By this definition, one cannot justifiably speak of a sling when it comes to the modern version of a Singapore Sling. To a greater degree, the Singapore Sling is actually a cocktail from the category of punches. And thus a good example of the evolution of a drink, which has evolved out of its original box.

Even the name of Singapore Slings is not secured from the very beginning. It is more likely that the first cocktail of this kind came to notoriety under the name “Straits Sling” until Harry Craddock then referred to it as a Singapore Sling in his Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930.

Raffles Hotel in Singapore

Raffles Hotel in Singapore

The recipe presented here is taken from the book “Cocktailian The Handbook of Bar” where it is in turn described as an adaptation of the recipe of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Although the original recipe of the Raffles Hotel is easily available online, I liked the version from the Cocktailian book that much I saw no reason for a change.


4 cl Gin
1.5 cl cherry liqueur
2 bar spoons Cointreau
2 bar spoons Dom Bénédictine
1 cl Grenadine
1,5 cl lime juice
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
12 cl pineapple juice

Preparation: Simply shake all ingredients on ice vigorously and strain into an ice-filled glass.

Glass: Highball (I opted for the Perfect highball glass from the Spiegelau Perfect Serve Collection by Stephan Hinz)

Garnish: Piece of pineapple and a cocktail cherry

Buying sources: You should find all ingredients in well-stocked supermarkets. Otherwise, a visit to a specialized retailer might be necessary or, of course, you simply order everything online.

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