The Singapore Sling is a classic gin cocktail that’s refreshing and fruity with herbal notes. Learn how to make the Classic Sling plus a couple of delightful variations.
Gin lovers must also try… the Cherry Julep
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I will forever associate the Singapore Sling with summer holidays, Greece, and dimly lit bars that served drinks that could not be legally called ‘cocktails’.
These lurid concoctions were almost 99% fruit ‘juice’ and about 1% discount sweet liqueur. It’s not surprising that I stayed well away from Tequila Sunrises and Singapore Slings for decades afterwards. Which is kind of a shame.
A proper Singapore Sling is a far cry from those technicolour impostors, although the recipe has definitely strayed into kitsch territory over the years.
The Story Behind The Drink
A variant of the Gin Sling (a sling is a drink composed of spirit and water, sweetened, flavoured and served cold, the Singapore Sling has so many variations it’s hard to figure out which recipe is closest to the original.
Lore has it that the Singapore Sling cocktail was invented at the Long Bar of the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915. It was meant to be a girly drink, with an appealing pink colour that resembled fruit juice.
What’s in a Singapore Sling?
A well-balanced refreshing cocktail that contains a fair amount of alcohol… pretty it may well be but a proper Sling packs a real punch! Let’s break it down…
You will need
- Gin – Tanquray or my latest favourite Roku Gin both work so well
- Cherry Heering Liqueur (I love De Kuyper Cherry Brandy Liqueur)
- DOM Benedictine – this herbal liqueur that dates back to 1510 (!) was originally created (and drunk) by Benedictine Monks. It is surprisingly complex and delicious, adding a real depth of flavour to this cocktail.
- Fresh lemon juice or lime juice
- Angostura Bitters
- Soda water to top up
What, no pineapple juice? Some versions contain pressed pineapple juice and grenadine. In my opinion this ruins a perfectly lovely drink… But, If you like your cocktails on the sweeter side, then simply replace the soda water with pineapple juice.
The Perfect Singapore Sling
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.
Put all the ingredients apart from the soda water (or pineapple juice) in a mixing jug half filled with ice.
Give a good stir then strain into a chilled tall glass (I love these Diamanté Cocktail glasses, pictured in the photos) filled with cubed ice. Top with soda water or pineapple juice.
Garnish with a cocktail cherry, slice of lemon or a small wedge of pineapple. Add a straw and sip slowly – incredibly refreshing!
- Singapore Sparkler: Replace the soda water with chilled dry Prosecco or Champagne and serve in chilled coupe glasses or flutes.
- Fruity Disco Sling: Add the gin, cherry liquor, Benedictine and a teaspoon each of lemon, lime, orange and pressed pineapple juice to a cocktail shaker filled with cubed shake. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled highball glass.
- 50 ml (2 oz) gin
- 25 ml (1 oz) Cherry Liqueur
- 25 ml (1 oz) lime juice
- 1 tbsp Benedictine
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- chilled soda water to top up
- cocktail cherries, lemon slices or pineapple wedges , to garnish
- Put all the ingredients apart from the soda water (or pineapple juice) in a mixing jug half filled with ice.
- Give a good stir then strain into a chilled tall glass filled with cubed ice.
- Top with soda water or pineapple juice.
- Garnish with a cocktail cherry, slice of lemon or a small wedge of pineapple. Add a straw and sip slowly – incredibly refreshing!
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