Complex and dazzling, the Singapore Sling is how you level up your cocktail skills. You won’t look at your own hands the same way again after making one of these beauties!
Despite the name, the common origin of the Singapore Sling is from a Chinese bartender by the name of Ngiam Tong Boon. Crafted in 1915 at the Raffles Hotel, the most common theory about this drink is that Ngiam created it as a solution for women who wanted to drink discreet gin-based cocktails. The pink color disguised gin’s color while also providing a blushing appearance that made it hard to resist.
But no matter where this cocktail came from, there’s one detail that’s indisputable: it’s absolutely delicious. The Singapore Sling is incredibly balanced with its tropical and herbaceous flavor, and doesn’t lean too hard in any one direction. The extra splash of sweetness is just icing on the cake (or pineapple on the cocktail, if you prefer). If you usually steer clear of very savory or very bitter beverages, you’ll fall in love with this fruity delight.
Fans of the fizzy and tart Ruby Slipper or the refreshing Gin Sour will fall in love with the Singapore Sling. As someone who often craves balanced and juicy cocktails, I can’t recommend this recipe enough.
What Gin to Use in a Singapore Sling
While I’m the first one to recommend experimentation when it comes to cocktails, this drink’s complexity can be daunting. I’ll suggest the most common types of gin used for the Singapore Sling so you know what the final result will taste like.
London Dry Gin is a fantastic pick since it doesn’t have any added sugar, allowing the other ingredients to shine through. It’s heavily aromatic and comes with a variety of botanicals for that herbaceous kick, such as juniper and coriander.
However, if you have a sweet tooth, Old Tom-style gin is a solid choice. Since it’s barrel-aged and has a slightly sweeter flavor, you can make your drink more dessert-like with little effort.
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or measuring tool
- Tall glass (Collins or highball glass)
- 1 1/2 ounces of gin
- 1/2 ounce of Cherry Heering
- 1/4 ounce of Cointreau
- 1/4 ounce of Benedictine
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 1/3 ounce grenadine
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Club soda to top off
- For garnish: pineapple slice and maraschino cherry optional
- Pour the gin, Cherry Heering, Cointreau, Benedictine, pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine, and Angostura bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake well until the outer shaker is frosty – about 20-30 seconds.
- Strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes.
- Top off with club soda, give it a gentle stir, and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.
Tips and Tricks to Make a Perfect Singapore Sling
- Mind the sweetness levels! If you prefer to err on the side of caution when mixing drinks, follow the recipe closely, particularly with the Cointreau. Too much will make your drink far too sugary.
- Fresh pineapple juice tastes best. While there’s nothing wrong with a quick canned solution, your cocktail will sing when it’s made with chopped pineapple. The flavor is juicier and much fresher.
- Use a highball glass for the best drinking experience. This drink’s beautiful color needs to be admired in its fullest! You can also balance heavier chunks of pineapple than with smaller glasses.
- Don’t add ice until you’re ready to serve. If you want to prepare the Singapore Sling in advance, mix everything but the ice and store it until you’re ready – leaving the ice inside will water down your drink’s flavors.
Singapore Sling Variations
- Straits Sling – while having a similar style to the Singapore Sling, this variation has no pineapple juice, the addition of soda water, lime juice instead of lemon, orange bitters, and cherry brandy over cherry liqueur.
- Starlet Sling – also uses lemon juice instead of lime, orange bitters, soda water, and a dash of orgeat syrup.
- Smuggler’s Cove Sling – this Sling variation uses demerara syrup, orange bitters, club soda, and a lemon slice.
- Mocktail Singapore Sling – All you have to do to create a delicious non-alcoholic version is remove the alcohol and add a bit more juice/syrups.