Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cocktail: Singapore Sling

A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia. To welcome him back, I made Singapore Slings, invented (in Singapore, appropriately) in 1915 by hotel bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Washington Post spirits columnist Jason Wilson wrote a nice piece about the drink a couple years ago, so I won't rehash all the good history he covered, except to note that the drink most people call a Singapore Sling may have actually originated as the Straits Sling, with the original Singapore Sling being a far simpler drink of gin, cherry brandy, lemon juice and cherry.

In writing about the drink in 2011, Jeff Burkhart calls the Slingapore Sling "a virtual mosaic of European colonialism," citing the British, Danish, French and German origins of its ingredients. He also recounts how the drink devolved to just gin, grenadine and sweet and sour mix by the 1980s, but its fresher form has enjoyed a revival with the current interest in mixology.

I like the recipe from PDT. This isn't as simple as the one Wilson identifies as the original version, but it has a nicely balanced list of fresh ingredients far better than what Burkhart saw in the 1980s.

Singapore Sling
Adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan

2 oz. pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. cherry heering (I used Cherry Kijafa)
1/2 oz. grenadine
1/4 oz. Cointreau (orange liqueur)
1/4 oz. Bénédictine liqueur
1/4 oz. lime juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry and pineapple, mint sprig or citrus garnish

Combine all ingredients (except garnish) in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold and strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and pineapple (the PDT recipe) or other combinations.


  1. This was better than any cocktail I had in Vietnam.

    Yeah... I was in 'Nam.

  2. I think I had one of these at our favorite Chinese restaurant once. I liked yours better.

  3. Thanks. I bet our "favorite Chinese restaurant" uses sour mix in it instead of fruit juices.