Singapore Sling – A drink every bit as iconic as the Singapore Merlion

Mention the Singapore Sling and it would be a decent conversation topic with any foreigners you meet. While few Singaporeans would actually order it themselves in the bar, the Singapore Sling is a world famous cocktail and an iconic drink for visiting foreigners. It is little wonder that brilliant local minds have started marketing a pre-mix version of the cocktail to be made available to the rest of the world.

This particular bottle of concentrated pre-mixed Singapore Sling was an impulsive pickup from the airport when I came back from the recent Jakarta trip. The lone bottle of Singapore Sling was hiding quietly among other bottled liqueurs on the shelf, an indication that probably no Singaporeans from a return trip would be willing to carry her off the shelves.

I did.

Even if instructions on the manual state that the concentrated Singapore Sling pre-mix can be enjoyed neat on the rocks, I will strongly oppose anyone doing that since without the balance of another souring agent like pineapple juice, the mix is too sweet and bitter to be enjoyed. A friend who tasted it even stated that the taste difference was not too different from cough syrup.

For the best results, it’s still best to mix 1/4 of the concentrated mix with 3/4 pineapple juice as on the instructions, resulting in a slightly orange red foamy concoction that is the iconic Singapore Sling.

To be frank, this Singapore Sling does taste a little different from the ones I tasted from different bars in Singapore, but every of those also serves a slightly different tasting Sling.

There are perhaps a million different recipes for mixing a Singapore Sling that one can find on the internet nowadays. With the relevant spirits and ingredients available it is really not too hard to make a Singapore Sling from scratch either, even though for a lazy man like myself will probably stick to mixing it out from a concentrate. Here’s a recipe I found online to build a Singapore Sling from scratch.

For those who are interested in original recipe, one of the scribbled recipes is still on display at the Raffles Hotel Museum.

Singapore Sling

1.5 ounces Gin
0.5 once Cherry Heering
0.25 once Cointreau
0.25 ounce Benedictine
4 ounces Pineapple Juice
0.25 ounce Lime Juice
0.33 ounce Grenadine
1 dash Angostura Bitter

Garnish: Cherry and slice of pineapple.
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

It is also good to know a little bit about the roots of the Singapore Sling. It is of course invented here in Singapore, by a bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon while working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore back in 1910s.

Raffles Hotel was the home away from home for Westerners stuck in the East during the colonial era. During that time gin slings were the most popular drinks ordered. It was then that the clever Mr Ngian created a tropical cocktail sling that was not only delectable but also easily recognizable. Since then, the Singapore Sling has made it onto the world stage.

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