Monday, April 27, 2009

Sling Time In Singapore

As a lot of you already know, I am a gin man, with gin and tonic being a favourite drink along with the recently discovered gin based Negroni. If the Negroni was the drink of la dolce vita, the Gin Sling (or Singapore Sling) was the drink of the era of colonialism while sitting at the Long Bar in Raffles. I remember my first Singapore Sling at the oh so terribly adult age of 16, sitting down for cocktails before dinner on the roof of the Singapore Hilton around the swimming pool with the lights of Singapore spread out below. I felt so grown up and sophisticated, thinking that this was one of the most divine things I had ever drunk.

The original Singapore Sling was created sometime between 1910 and 1915 in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, that fabled outpost of the Empire in Singapore. Even today a trip to Singapore must include a visit to Raffles. Again I remember, this time when I was around 14, and not alowed to partake so to speak, my parents sitting down in Palm Court of Raffles having a Singapore Sling. The guest list of Raffles reads like a who’s who of famous people, with Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling crossing its famous lobby. Set in tropical gardens, the hotel was a British oasis in an all too unfamiliar Asian world.
Unfortunately the original recipe was lost in the 1920,s however here is what I consider the best.
1 1/2 ounce gin
1/2 ounce Cherry Herring
1/4 ounce Cointreau

1/4 ounce Benedictine

4 ounce pineapple juice

1/2 ounce lime juice

1/3 ounce grenadine

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Garnish: Cherry and slice of pineapple
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

So, now you don’t have to trek all the way to Raffles to have one ( however I urge you to), you can create one at home, sit underneath or next to the potted palm on the terrace or patio, and think of England!

PS. Fly Singapore Airlines where the drink is available free in all classes, even in Row55!


  1. I had my first Singapore Sling in Venice, of all places; it was truly divine. I've yet to find a particularly well-made one here in New York, however.

  2. Well, I was in Raffles and had to do it. Just had to. Being a gin man myself, and lover of Maughn, Kipling et al, had my first post dinner at the Long Bar. Great story goes along with it (but for another time)


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