Sometime before 1915, a new cocktail by the name of the Singapore Sling came into creation in Singapore at Long Bar in the elegant Raffles hotel. The drink is a take on the Gin Sling, a simple punch with only a few ingredients. The bartender who created the cocktail, Ngiam Tong Boon, used gin, Grand Marnier, herbal liqueur, cherry liqueur, lime, pineapple, bitters, and then topped it off with club soda.
Get to Know the Singapore Sling
This legendary cocktail has a long history, with many bartenders and mixologists coming after the original with their own unique takes. The drink was first featured in “The Savoy Cocktail Book” in 1930, and Harry Craddock is credited with writing the earliest published recipe. More versions of the recipe were not far behind. In 1948, David A. Embury stated in his book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” that no two recipes for the drink are the same.
When made as originally intended, the cocktail is tangy, refreshing, and wonderfully drinkable. However, by 1980, it had developed a reputation for being overly sugary, mixed with premade sweet-and-sour and too much grenadine. Today at the drink’s original home, Long Bar, they even serve two different versions–one is a premixed batch that is reminiscent of fruit punch, and another which is made by hand with fresh ingredients. Only one of those versions has received a nod from cocktail experts.
Making Your Own
We believe that a drink with so many ingredients and influences is ripe for personalization. At best, this cocktail is complex, so be careful and try not to get too bogged down with ingredients–and keep everything as fresh as possible. We have done our best to find a basic recipe that suits experimentation.
Most versions of the original cocktail are based on remembered notes and flavors, relying heavily on nostalgia. And many of the modern versions are of the very sweet vacation variety, so we have opted to focus on more nuanced and herbal recipes for our iteration. The recipe provided below is as close to the classic as we could find and has a ton of fruit flavor with nice notes of herbs from the gin and liqueur. Try it out and then run free with your own ideas.
- 1/4 ounce Grand Marnier
- 3/4 ounce gin
- 1/4 ounce Bénédictine
- 1/4 ounce cherry liqueur
- 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 ounce pineapple juice
- 1 dash bitters
- Club soda, to top
- Garnish: cherry
- Garnish: orange slice
How To Make It
- Add the Grand Marnier, gin, herbal liqueur, cherry liqueur, lime juice, pineapple juice, and bitters into a shaker with ice and shake.
- Strain into a glass over fresh ice, and top with the club soda. A highball glass is traditional.
- Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice on the rim.
This is one complex cocktail with an even more complicated history. But for what it lacks in simplicity it makes up for in deliciousness. Try this recipe on your own and let us know what unique twists you enjoy adding!