Everyone has heard of it, but only a few know how to make it - the Singapore Sling Cocktail. It's hardly surprising when you look at the long list of ingredients, including gin, different liqueurs and juices, soda, red wine, and bitters.
Quick Facts Singapore Sling
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: well-balanced, sweet and sour
- How to serve it: over ice
- Glassware: sling glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 14.5% ABV, 14 grams of alcohol per serving
So, time to get your shaker out and make our favorite version of the Singapore Sling.
- 1 oz London Dry Gin
- 0.25 oz D.O.M. Bénédictine
- 0.25 oz Grand Marnier
- 0.5 oz Heering cherry liqueur
- 0.5 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz Pineapple juice
- 0.25 oz grenadine
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Chilled club soda to top - about 2 oz
- 0.25 oz Dry red wine - (float)
- 1 Orange slice - for garnish
- 1 Cherry - for garnish
- Add Gin, D.O.M. Bénédictine, Grand Marnier, Heering, pineapple juice, lime juice, and Angostura bitters into a cocktail shaker with lots of ice.1 oz London Dry Gin, 0.25 oz D.O.M. Bénédictine, 0.25 oz Grand Marnier, 0.5 oz Heering cherry liqueur, 0.5 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 oz Pineapple juice, 0.25 oz grenadine, 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Shake the drink until it is well-chilled and then strain into a highball glass with ice.
- Top up with club soda.Chilled club soda to top
- Gently float with red wine on top0.25 oz Dry red wine
- Add a slice of orange and cherry as a garnish, and your Singapore Sling is ready to be served.1 Cherry, 1 Orange slice
Ingredients for the Singapore Sling
The list of ingredients required for the Singapore Sling recipe is long - and that goes for every version of this cocktail. So, making this iconic drink needs some determination and these nine ingredients:
- London Dry Gin, e.g., Tanqueray or Sipsmith
- D.O.M. Bénédictine - a French herbal liqueur with 40% vol. with a subtle note of honey
- Grand Marnier - an orange-flavored liqueur based on cognac with a 40% ABV
- Heering cherry liqueur - a premium cherry liqueur from Denmark. It is a staple in cocktail bars and has a beautiful sweet taste of cherries you likely won't find in other cherry liqueurs.
- Dry red wine. -Don't use sweet red wine because the drink already gets enough sugar from juices and liqueurs.
- Freshly squeezed lime juice
- Freshly squeezed pineapple juice
- Grenadine - the pomegranate syrup is best when homemade. It's more fruity and a lot less artificially sweet.
- Angostura bitters
- Soda Water brings the final and refreshing touch to the drink.
Pro Tips to Make the Drink
Despite the long list of ingredients, you should still pay attention to a few details with this recipe. That means you definitely should opt for freshly squeezed juices.
It is a given for drinks with only a few ingredients, but you may feel tempted to cut a corner and use bottled juice. However, I recommend not to. With grenadine and Heerings, you have enough added sugars in your drink. The tangy, natural flavor of fresh juice will lift your Singapore Sling.
Talking about grenadine: if you have time to make the syrup at home, do that. Even though only a small amount goes into this drink, it makes a difference. -And you can use it for other recipes too.
Further, floating the red wine on top works best when you pour slowly and gently over the back of a bar spoon. -And one last tip regarding the soda water: Use a new bottle or one you opened only recently to make sure it has enough carbonation.
Recipe Variations from Raffles Hotel
The Singaporean Raffles Hotel is considered the home of the Singapore Sling. Yet, when you take a look at the current menu at their Long Bar, you quickly realize that they have not only one recipe but two.
The first is a more traditional take on the Singapore Sling, named The Raffles 1915 Gin Sling. The other is a contemporary variation with the descriptive name Modern Raffles Singapore Sling.
If you want to try them at home, you need to stock up on some unconventional supplies. Anyway, here are the ingredients and measurements for the versions served at Long Bar:
The Raffles 1915 Gin Sling
- 1 oz Sipsmith Raffles 1915 Gin
- ½ oz Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco
- ½ oz D.O.M Bénédictine
- ½ oz Simple syrup
- ¾ oz Fresh-squeezed lime juice
- two dashes of Angostura bitters
- Soda water, to top
- Lime wedge for garnish
Modern Raffles Singapore Sling
- 1 oz Widges Gin
- ⅓ oz Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco
- ⅓ oz D.O.M Bénédictine
- ⅓ oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao
- ⅓ oz Crawley’s Singapore Sling Grenadine
- ¾ oz Fresh lime juice
- 2 oz Fresh pineapple juice
- one dash of Scrappy’s Plantation Bitters
- one cherry (garnish)
- one pineapple slice (garnish)
History of the Singapore Sling
The legendary drink likely originated in Singapore's famous Raffles Hotels, where Chinese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon supposedly invented it over 100 years ago, in 1915, while working at the bar in said hotel.
Since then, the recipe got published in various cocktail books, each featuring a different version. Why? Because the original recipe from Raffles Hotel got lost. Consequently, nobody knew how Ngiam Tong Boon prepared the drink and which ingredients he did use.
Thus, you will have a hard time finding two bars serving the same version of the Singapore Sling these days. We tried quite a few, and the recipe above turned out to be our favorite.
By the way: the term sling is derived from the German word schlingen, which means to gulp down.
Other theories about the origin
Even though most experts agree on this story of Raffles, there are hints that it might now be the entire truth. When looking closely into the history of the Singapore Sling, you come across some different theories.
On searching the Singaporean newspaper archives, David Wondrich found that the first reference to a Sling was from 1897. That would have been almost 20 years before Boon mixed the cocktail at Raffles for the first time in 1915.
In 1903, another statement seemingly referred to the drink as "pink slings for pale people." It states the pink hue the Singapore Sling is famous for and points out that the recipe was meant for Western tourists.
And finally, an article from 1913 states the typical components of the Sling cocktail. The ingredients included: cherry Brandy, D.O.M. Bénédictine, gin, lime juice, ice, a few drops of cocktail bitters, and water. What's more, it seems that, occasionally, a red wine float was part of the mix.
Despite all this, the Raffles Hotel is widely considered the birthplace of the Singapore Sling, and many bars and bartenders took a cue from their recipe.