Singapore Sling

by :: [Cocktail ]

Singapore Sling
1½ oz
Cherry Brandy
½ oz
Pineapple Juice
2 oz
¼ oz
Lime Juice
½ oz
Grenadine Syrup
½ oz
Soda Water
3 oz

Fill a Collins glass with crushed ice and add the soda water. Shake the remaining ingredients with ice and strain into the glass. Garnish with a cherry and orange slice.

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singapore slingNo discussion on cocktails is complete with out discussing the Singapore Sling. The history of the Singapore Sling was thoroughly documented by Mr. Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh in the Journal of Mixology (a book in which I also contributed an article). However, this post is going to deal with flavour and why the Singapore Sling is a great example of a creative cocktail. If you want to impress guests, friends, family or customers, throw away your old recipe and try the following Singapore Sling recipe.

The Singapore Sling, when done properly, is a well balanced drink with tons of flavour. Most clubs and bars that serve this drink have disgraced the Singapore Sling by taking a number of short cuts and passing it off as a sling. For example, on a relatively popular cocktail website, the recipe for a Singapore Sling is as follows:

Singapore Sling Impostor
1 oz gin
1½ oz cherry brandy
1½ oz grenadine syrup
splash sweet and sour mix
Fill with club soda

(Danger do not make this, may cause esophageal expulsion or disappointment)

This recipe is extremely quick to make when you are tending the bar, but it lacks the character of a true Singapore Sling. Plus, this combination of ingredients isn't all that appealing.

singapore sling recipeThe recipe to the left is very close to the original, but the fact is that the original recipe was lost, so a recipe similar to the original Singapore Sling was created, through some research. Making this drink for people takes a little bit longer than the Impostor version, but the results are well worth the effort. Basically, the difference is between a fine dining experience and McDonald's. If you just feel like a quick drink, by all means whip up the Impostor Singapore Sling, but if you have the time, make the classic version.

When I make a Singapore Sling I like to use quality ingredients. For example, I will use a good quality gin, like Plymouth Gin or Tanqueray, a good cherry brandy like Cherry Marnier or Bols Cherry Brandy. Use Cointreau, or a decent triple sec and always use fresh juices when possible and use Pomegranate Juice or syrup instead of grenadine.

The great thing about cocktails is that you can modify them for your personal preference, just don't use a name already being used, it creates confusion. This is what happened to the Singapore Sling and the Mai Tai and many other drinks. Now I'm sure someone is going to say that the version I make isn't actually following the original recipe. I believe it follows the "spirit" of the recipe. For example Cherry Marnier is a cherry brandy, actually a cherry flavoured cognac. The use of pomegranate juice is probably close to what the used in 1915, plus most grenadine sold today is a coloured sugar solution flavoured with vanilla and almond extract. Not exactly the same.

As a bartender, consistency is what creates a great experience. If you went to the aforementioned fine restaurant and you received a Happy Meal and a bill for $100 you wouldn't be to happy. So, a good bartender will always stick to the original recipe.

Give this Singapore Sling recipe a try, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

If you liked this cocktail, you will also like the Strawberry Daiquiri.


11 Comments on Singapore Sling

By Darcy O'Neil on December 30, 2005 10:54 PM

Personally I like a good margarita, but I wouldn't turn down a martini either. I find a margarita shows some character and balance, a modern martini has basically turned into a cold glass of vodka. So, my preference for a martini would be gin (Plymouth) and dry vermouth. I love drinks with real flavour so I don't like my martini's extra dry.

Thanks for visiting the site! Darcy

By Lonnie Bruner on December 31, 2005 3:49 PM

You know, I think I prefer the grenadine to the pomegranate juice. The grenadine gave it a more tangy flavor and brought out the other ingredients whereas the pomegranate hid them all and just made it taste like an overly fruity beach beverage. Thanks for the excellent recipe though; I will no longer make cosmos for my wife. The Singapore Sling is the new Cosmopolian.

And Darcy, you are correct: definitely Plymouth gin is the way to go with the Martini.

Cheers, and happy new year!


By Darcy O'Neil on December 31, 2005 5:35 PM

Hey Lonnie,

I think I forgot to mention that I use only a couple of drops of the pomegranate juice.

The is also a good recipe over at Shaken Not Stirred for grenadine made from pomegranate juice.

By Rick on March 31, 2006 7:51 PM

I was surprised not to see more references in the cocktail blog world to such a fine drink as the Singapore Sling.

I really like how you've emphasized the importance of making the drink properly. For the few extra seconds it takes, it's well worth it.

I just took a look at the Singapore Sling on my own blog, and I must agree that this is a fine drink.

I think I would disagree with you in only one way, though. I do not think you need to whip out the Plymouth. Gordon's definitely seems to work as well, although I'm open to a discussion on the matter.

By George Sinclair on February 14, 2007 8:08 PM

I just put my analysis of the Singapore Sling up on my site


By John Cox on March 4, 2007 5:22 PM

It's truly amazing how many recipes you can find of this drink. In the diffordsguide alone there are three, all which are good. One is very similar to yours, albeit with a bit of lime juice added to the mix, and another has both lime and orange juice (fresh sqeezed of course!) replacing the pineapple, and an extra float of cherry brandy. This is the version I like the best. I have actually been omitting the Benedictine, but will soon be adding it to the mix to see if the original really is the best!

By Cheryl on August 20, 2007 3:23 PM

In the recipe for the Singapore Sling Imposter what is the sweet and sour mix?

Answer: Here is some good information on Sour Mix

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