First published Oct 2014. Updated Aug 2017.
I make this live on “Simply Singapore”, complete with a shaker mishap! Scroll down to the recipe to watch the video.
Singapore Sling – an iconic name in cocktail folklore and probably one of the most messed around, messed up and bastardised drinks in mixology history. As much as I love history, I shan’t bore you to death with the how, the who, the when, the what if and the “are-you-sure?” of Sling legend, because let’s face it, no one really knows. A lot of what you read about the Singapore Sling is conjecture, at best.
The one thing that we all do agree on is that it was probably created by Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at The Long Bar, Raffles Hotel (image below), either in the very early 20th century or the very, very late 19th century. Some say it was originally called the Gin Sling, some say it was known as The Straits Sling (the Straits of Singapore being the body of water surrounding northern Singapore) but I think we all do pretty much agree that the original Sling bears only a slight resemblance to the current signature drink sold at The Long Bar.
Enough background knowledge? As mentioned in the Margarita post, I spent a whole lot of time in The Long Bar, munching on peanuts, chatting up bartenders, belting out the odd song or two with the live band when I could be persuaded, and more importantly, honing my craft as an expert in The Singapore Sling, and ya know nothing beats experience! I’ve had good, I’ve had bad and I’ve had downright ugly!
So, I hear you ask, what goes in the
damn drink then? Well, the original sling, and I use that phrase lightly, had gin, cherry brandy, D.O.M. Bénédictine, some sort of bitters, lime juice and some water. Somewhere along the line, pineapple juice went in the mix to add sweetness to the drink, which might explain its popularity with the ladies and it becoming quite the fashionable ladies’ drink for a while.
I still have a handwritten recipe from a bartender who used to go easy on the juice, and doesn’t top it up with soda, giving you more of a hit with each sip. I shall be sharing with you this particular recipe as well, which is of course very similar to the one from The Long Bar which is printed on cards and displayed at every table on its premises.
Then there is also the Singapore Cricket Club Singapore Sling or the Cricket Club Sling. Another favourite place of mine – to watch cricket, exhibition tennis matches and of course, The Singapore Sevens. Once again, using my sheer powers of persuasion, I got this ancient looking bartender to cough up, ok bad phrase, to hand over, his so called secret recipe, although I’m thinking not so secret because in researching this post I came across the exact recipe a few times on the Web.
The story goes that 2 members of the Cricket Club mixed their own Sling when they were refused the drink at the bar because it wasn’t in keeping with the high standards of the club! With the CC recipe, you have equal portions of 3 spirits, lime juice, bitters and soda water. I think this very basic and simpler recipe is important because it gives us a glimpse of what the original, unadulterated Singapore Sling might have been like.
What does the Singapore Sling taste like?
Singapore Sling leans towards sweet, given the amount of pineapple juice in it. With so many liqueurs in it, there are so many flavours and aromas at play, every sip is a real treat to the senses! Fruity and herbal at the same time. You have to drink it to believe it and truly enjoy the delights a real Singapore Sling has to offer!
Here’s your chance to make the real thing!
Singapore Sling on YouTube
♥ Do you like this recipe? Please give it a 5-star rating below! And when you make it, share it on Instagram or any other social medium and tag me @azlinbloor. Thank you … Lin ♥