Singapore Sling

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Singapore Sling
IBA Official Cocktail
Singapore Sling.jpg
Type Mixed drink
Primary alcohol by volume
Served Straight up; without ice
Standard garnish

Maraschino cherry, pineapple

Standard drinkware
Highball Glass (Tumbler).svg
Highball glass
IBA specified ingredients*
Preparation Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into highball glass. Garnish with pineapple and cocktail cherry.
* Singapore Sling recipe at International Bartenders Association

The Singapore Sling is a South-East Asian cocktail. This long drink was developed sometime before 1915[1] by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore. It was initially called the gin sling,[2] - a sling was originally an American drink composed of spirit and water, sweetened and flavored.[3]

D. A. Embury stated in the Fine Art of Mixing Drinks: "Of all the recipes published for [this drink] I have never seen any two that were alike." The Times described the "original recipe" as mixing two measures of gin with one of cherry brandy and one of orange, pineapple and lime juice [4] An alternative "original recipe" used gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and fresh pineapple juice, primarily from Sarawak pineapples which enhance the flavor and create a foamy top.

Most recipes substitute bottled pineapple juice for fresh juice; soda water has to be added for foam. The hotel's recipe was recreated based on the memories of former bartenders and written notes that they discovered regarding the original recipe. One of the scribbled recipes is still on display at the Raffles Hotel Museum.

Recipes published in articles about Raffles Hotel before the 1970s are significantly different from current recipes, and Singapore Slings drunk elsewhere in Singapore differ from the recipe used at Raffles Hotel.

The current Raffles Hotel recipe is a heavily modified version of the original, most likely changed sometime in the 1970s by Ngiam Tong Boon's nephew. Today, many of the Singapore Slings served at Raffles Hotel have been pre-mixed and are made using an automatic dispenser that combines alcohol and pineapple juice to pre-set volumes. They are then blended instead of shaken to create a foamy top as well as to save time because of the large number of orders. However, it is still possible to request a shaken version from bartenders.

By the 1980s, the Singapore Sling was often little more than gin, bottled sweet and sour, and grenadine. With the move towards fresh juices and the re-emergence of quality products like Cherry Heering, the cocktail has begun to resemble its original version.[5]

Gin slings[edit]

The gin sling, attested from 1790, described an American drink of gin flavoured, sweetened and served cold.[6] The Singapore sling has been documented as early as 1930 as a recipe in the Savoy Cocktail Book; Ingredients ¼ lemon juice, ¼ Dry Gin, ½ Cherry Brandy: "Shake well and strain into medium size glass, and fill with soda water. Add 1 lump of ice".[7]


  1. ^ Campbell, Colin (12 December 1982). "Singapore Journal; Back to Somerset Maugham and Life's Seamy Side". The New York Times (Singapore). 
  2. ^ The Daily Telegraph, Peterborough: Sling shot AVA GARDNER'S knickers are still missing, 13 April 1991
  3. ^ OED sling, n.5
  4. ^ p. iv/4 (Singapore Suppl.), The Times 19 July 1976
  5. ^ Burkhart, Jeff (10 April 2011). "Sometimes a bartender needs to sling whatever works". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  6. ^ OED, gin-sling, n.
  7. ^ OED Singapore sling n.

Further reading[edit]

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