Classics. Pt 4 – The Singapore Sling

July 15, 2009

In quite sharp contrast to the vast majority of older cocktails out there, the SIngapore Sling has a vast plethora of various bits and pieces of history and recipes attached to it. Unfortunately however, this is less than a blessing.

It’s proverbial soaking in varied historical notes does nothing to help in obtaining a proven history behind it, as alas they nearly all contradict each other in some manner.

What is accepted across the board however is that it was invented by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar, of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, at some point between 1900 and 1915. And that its original recipe included the, still utilised, ingredients of gin, cherry brandy, and benedictine. Probably originally all in equal parts.

Whilst the Long Bar continues to this day to produce pre-mixed singapore slings, they have admitted openly to the fact that the original recipe was in fact lost somewhere in the middle of the 20th century, and that the modern day recipe was pulled together by Ngiamo Tong’s nephew in the 1970’s.

Despite its current namesake, it is also widely accepted that it was either originally called the Strait’s Sling, or that it is very closely based upon it.

Other varied bits and pieces of history are found all over the web, one especially good bit of research is found here. A particular favourite fact about the drink is its availability for free on all classes of the SIngapore Airways flight.

My personal recipe is a combination of a few of my prefered modern day variations found about the place. Balancing the gin with the herbal benedictine, and the sweetness of the cherry brandy with the tartness of cointreau and pineapple.

37.5ml Gin
12.5ml Cherry Brandy
10ml Cointreau
10ml Benedictine
80ml Pineapple
7.5ml Fresh Lime Juice
Dash Grenadine
Dash Soda water

Shake all but the grenadine and soda and single strain over ice in a a hurricane glass. Add the pineapple and soda to taste, before adding a dash of grenadine to sink to the base of the glass. Garnish with a pineapple chunk, a cherry, and a mint sprig.


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