There’s wild ambiguity around the Singapore Sling cocktail recipe, not only for its dubious origins and character but also for its indistinct ingredients. Perhaps that is why the Singapore Sling has become a classic; being exotic and vaguely untamed at the same time.

The acclaim for the rosey coloured cocktail can be attributed to Ngiam Tong Boon who worked at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, which back in the day, was renowned for making the best ‘gin sling’ in town.

Cocktail ingredients; an unresolved business

The Singapore Sling was believed to have appeared on the menu somewhere between 1900 and 1915. The ingredients used for the cocktail then were gin, lemon or lime juice, ice, soda water and most likely cherry brandy and Benedictine. Possibly even a float of red wine, but that remains an unknown to this day.

The drink is also referred to by some as the ‘Straits Sling’, because Singapore was in 1836, grouped with Penang and Malacca to form the Straits Settlements. Over time, Singapore gradually became synonymous with the drink’s rising popularity around the 1920s, so the ‘Singapore Sling’ eventually stuck and the cocktail has retained this moniker ever since.

Unfortunately, the indecision surrounding the cocktail's recipe meant that the Singapore Sling was never left with an exact formula of ingredients, leaving the finality of each individual drink up to the interpretation of the bartender.

Today, venues have been known to start with what is loosely understood as the original ingredients and proportions, and throw in some pineapple juice, splashes of cherry brandy, Cointreau, Bénédictine, grenadine and a couple of dashes of bitters until it hits the right spot.

So in the spirit of reinterpreting and reinventing a classic cocktail recipe, Diageo Bar Academy consulted with the bar manager of Hong Kong S.A.R China, outfit Wyndham the 4th and Diageo World Class finalist, bartender Tom Wood to present three different takes of this historical cocktail. What will your interpretation of the Singapore Sling look and taste like?

Singapore Sling recipe reinventions

1. Classic Raffles Singapore Sling

This rendition of the classic Singapore Sling cocktail recipe aims to retain the drink’s iconic Raffles heritage.

Cocktail ingredients

40ml Tanqueray gin

10ml Cointreau

10ml Cherry heering

10ml Benedictine

20ml Lemon juice

50ml Pineapple juice

Dash Angostura bitters

Preparation
  • Shake with ice and strain
  • Top with soda
  • Garnish with mint sprig, orange slice & cherry




  • 2. Rich Man’s Sling

    The Rich Man’s Sling cocktail recipe is created for the discerning guest who demands a hint more decadence. Testament to Singapore’s changing bar culture and urban environment.

    Cocktail ingredients

    30ml Tanqueray gin

    10ml Cherry Heering

    10ml Benedictine

    20ml Lemon juice

    20ml Pineapple juice

    Preparation
  • Shake with ice and strain
  • Top with champagne
  • Garnish with orange twist





  • 3. Spice & Sling

    This Sling takes its inspiration from across the Indian Ocean to the heart of India. By the early 1900s, a distinct Indian community had formed in Singapore, now known as Little India, and with it brought the influence of exotic spices and colours.

    Cocktail ingredients

    50ml Tanqueray gin

    20ml Pineapple & cardamom shrub

    10ml Yellow chartreuse

    10ml Lemon juice

    20ml Pineapple juice

    Preparation
  • Shake with ice and strain
  • Top with soda
  • Garnish with cardamom pods



  • By Marc Rodrigues and Brittany Lee Waller for Drinks World Asia, a quarterly trade magazine for the Asian beverage industry.