The Singapore Sling

Posted in Gin on March 7, 2014

Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur, Penang; Singapore

The Singapore Sling is a cocktail with a tumultuous history. The original recipe is probably long forgotten and numerous variations were used in time. The Singapore Sling was invented by a bartender at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore before 1915. At that time it was known as a gin sling. The term sling was used for nominating flavored and sweet American cocktails based on spirit and water. It is believed that the original recipe was modified in the 70s by a nephew of the inventor who was working at the same hotel. The Raffles Hotel had to eventually recover the recipe from the memories and the personal notes of former bartenders. However, the current recipe is a lot different from the one that was used in the past. Nowadays the Singapore Sling at the Raffles is pre-mixed and done with the help of an automatic dispenser which releases the exact needed amounts of gin and pineapple juice. The cocktail is blended not made in a shaker, but the customers can also ask for a shaken version.

David Embury noted in his book that he had never came across two similar recipes for the Singapore Sling and that all the published recipes of this cocktail are different from one another. The original Singapore recipe included two measures of gin and one measure of cherry brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice and orange juice. A version with Cherry Heering and Benedictine was also popular at the same time.

Fresh pineapple juice was often used instead of bottled one. Nowadays, as the popularity of fresh juices is increasing again and as qualitative products like the Cherry Heering are re-coming into fashion, the Singapore Sling starts to resemble its old self again.

The Singapore Sling is a smooth and sweet cocktail with a complex flavor that it is definitely worth to be tried. It was meant as a drink for women, but nowadays it is also enjoyed by men.

How to Prepare the Singapore Sling

You need the following ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. of gin.
  • ½ oz. of Cherry Heering or cherry brandy.
  • ¼ oz. of Benedictine.
  • ¼ oz. of Cointreau.
  • ½ oz. of lime juice.
  • 1/3 oz. of grenadine
  • 4 oz. of pineapple juice.
  • A dash of bitters.
  • A cherry and a pineapple wedge for garnish.

Shake all the ingredients well and then strain them in a Collins glass filled with ice. Use the cherry and pineapple wedge for garnish.

Some recipes nowadays are completely excluding the pineapple juice and are using simple syrup or sugar. The use of club soda in this cocktail is also very popular even though it has nothing to do with the original recipe.

The museum at the Raffles Hotel has the original recipe written on a bar-chit by a customer who has asked for it.

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