The Singapore Sling may be our national cocktail, but there is little patriotism can do when the cocktail is constantly presented to us as what is best described as a rapid transition to type 2 diabetes.
Over the years, the Singapore Sling has grown from a delicious, well-balanced cocktail bursting with exotic and local flavors to a must-have bucket list for tourists everywhere. And so, all the bars and restaurants looking to make a quick dime from sweaty, over-enthusiastic tourists were pushing their own versions of the drink.
It didn’t help that the cocktail wasn’t exactly a three-ingredient concoction; its long list of ingredients meant that to cut costs and time, these places used mediocre alternatives and lots of syrup to mask the saccharin, medicinal taste.
It wasn’t long before the cocktail’s reputation took a dip, especially among locals. Yet there is one more establishment that has stuck to everything the Singapore Sling stood for: Long bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. After all, it was in this same bar that Ngiam Tong Boon – then head bartender of the Raffles hotel – first made the cocktail in 1915. Because women sipping pure gin were frowned upon at the time, Ngiam offered this unique approach to Gin & Juice so that the ladies can enjoy their evening without judgment.
The original Singapore Sling was perfectly balanced with the acidity of citrus and pineapple, a slight sweetness of its liqueurs and a subtle bitterness of the herbal liqueur. The gin and three different liquors gave the cocktail an addicting boost, making it a tangy, refreshing and delicious drink, especially on a hot summer day.
Fast forwarding a century later, the very spirit of the cocktail still lives on at the Long Bar, and with its reopening after the Covid-19 lockdown is coming. Slingology, an exciting monthly series featuring Sling-inspired drinks by guest bartenders from some of Singapore’s best bars.
Now in its second installment, the event will see 28 Hong Kong Street create a trendy rendition called Tokyo Giant, instead using Luxardo Sour Cherry Gin and Sakura Vermouth for a Japanese twist. Other collaborations to look for include Atlas from September 26 to October 30 and Potato Head from October 31 to November 27, 2021.
To celebrate its 134th anniversary, Raffles Hotel Singapore and Long Bar will also work with Brass Lion Distillery to offer three unique cocktails, each inspired by the familiar flavors of Singapore and plants from Southeast Asia. From September 16 to 19, 2021, guests can look forward to creations such as Epal, a gin sour twist that combines cucumber and tangy green apple Yakult.
If you are a purist and want to recreate an authentic version of the cocktail at home, Raffles Hotel Singapore and Long Bar graciously offered us their revered Singapore Sling recipe. Read on to find out how you can nail the cocktail in all its original glory at home.
What you will need:
30 ml of Widges Gin
15 ml Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco
120 ml fresh pineapple juice
15 ml fresh lime juice
7.5 ml of Curaçao Sec Ferrand
7.5 ml of Benedictine
10ml Crawley’s ‘Singapore Sling’ grenadine
A pinch of Scrappy ‘Spice Plantation’ Bitters
A slice of pineapple
Cherry Luxardo Marasquin
1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker
2. Add ice and shake
3. Filter into a tall glass filled with ice cubes
4. Garnish with bitters, pineapple and cherry