The Singapore Sling

The Singapore Sling

From Raffles to Your Home Bar: Mastering the Singapore Sling

An Iconic & Delicious Cocktail

Whether you’re a cocktail enthusiast or a curious beginner looking to dive into the world of classic cocktails, you've probably heard of the Singapore Sling.

This iconic cocktail isn’t just a delightful mix of flavours though - but also a piece of cocktail history. In this blog, we'll explore the fascinating background of the Singapore Sling, breaking down its ingredients, guide you through the method of creating it, and dive into the details of what makes each ingredient special.

So, grab your cocktail shaker, round up some friends to try it with, and let's get started on this flavourful journey!

Background of the Singapore Sling

This is a cocktail which has definitely stood the test of time, charming drinkers with its vibrant colour and complex taste for over 100 years. Its origins trace back to the early 20th century, and like many classic cocktails, it has an intriguing story to it.

The Birth of a Classic

The Singapore Sling was created in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender at the Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel in British Colonial Singapore. At that time, it was considered socially unacceptable for women to drink alcohol in public.

To address this, Ngiam crafted a cocktail that looked like a simple fruit juice, allowing women to enjoy an alcoholic beverage without attracting undue attention. The original recipe has evolved over time, but the essence of the Singapore Sling remains the same - a refreshing and fruity concoction with a definite alcoholic kick.

It's Evolution and Continuing Popularity

As the cocktail gained popularity, bartenders around the world began experimenting with the recipe, leading to numerous variations. Despite these changes, the Singapore Sling has retained its status as a beloved classic. Its association with the Raffles Hotel adds an air of exoticism and sophistication, making it one of our definite must-try cocktails for both newbies, and those who regularly enjoy a cocktail.

The Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore

Ingredients of the Singapore Sling

Crafting this delicious cocktail involves a blend of several ingredients - which may look intimidating. However rest assured, this is simple to make, with each component contributing a unique flavour profile to the final cocktail.

Here's a look at what goes into making this delicious drink:

Gin: The base spirit, providing a robust and botanical foundation.

The heart of the Singapore Sling, gin is a versatile spirit made from juniper berries and various botanicals. Its herbal and floral notes provide the perfect backbone for the cocktail.

Cherry Heering: A Danish cherry liqueur that adds sweetness and a deep red hue.

This rich, dark red liqueur is made from Danish cherries and a blend of spices. It’s known for its deep cherry flavour and slight almond notes, making it an essential component of the Singapore Sling.

Benedictine: A herbal liqueur with a complex flavour profile.

A French herbal liqueur, Benedictine is crafted from 27 different herbs and spices. It has a sweet, honeyed flavour with hints of herbs and spices, adding depth and complexity to the cocktail.

Cointreau: An orange-flavoured triple sec for a citrusy touch.

A premium triple sec, Cointreau is made from sweet and bitter orange peels. Its bright citrus flavour balances the sweetness of the other ingredients.

Pineapple Juice: For a tropical sweetness and refreshing quality.

Freshly pressed or high-quality canned pineapple juice adds a tropical sweetness and a lush, velvety texture.

Lime Juice: To add a zesty tang.

Freshly squeezed lime juice provides a sharp, tangy contrast to the sweet and fruity components.

Grenadine: For additional sweetness and a lovely pink colour.

A sweet syrup traditionally made from pomegranate juice, grenadine adds both sweetness and a beautiful pink colour to the cocktail.

Angostura Bitters: To balance the sweetness with a hint of bitterness.

These aromatic bitters are made from a blend of herbs and spices. Just a few dashes add a layer of complexity and help balance the overall sweetness.

Soda Water: To top up and add a bit of fizz.

A splash of soda water adds a refreshing effervescence, making the cocktail light and easy to drink.

Method to Create this Iconic Cocktail

Now that we know what goes into a Singapore Sling, let's look at how to bring these ingredients together to create the cocktail. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making the perfect Singapore Sling at home:

Step-by-Step Recipe


30ml Gin (any robust gin will work - we like it with Tanqueray No. Ten)

15ml Cherry Heering

7.5ml Benedictine

7.5ml Cointreau

120ml Pineapple Juice

15ml Lime Juice

10ml Grenadine

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Soda Water, to top up

Garnish: Pineapple slice and maraschino cherry


 Prepare Your Tools:

Gather a cocktail shaker, a strainer, and a tall glass (a hurricane or highball glass works well).

Mix the Ingredients:

In the cocktail shaker, combine the gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine, Cointreau, pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine, and Angostura bitters. Fill the shaker with ice.

Shake It Up:

Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds. This will chill the ingredients and mix them thoroughly.

Strain and Serve:

Strain the mixture into your glass filled with ice. Top up with a splash of soda water for some fizz.


Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry. This not only adds to the visual appeal but also enhances the tropical vibe of the cocktail.


Sip and savour the complex blend of flavours, imagining yourself in the tropical setting of the Raffles Hotel.

The Allure of the Singapore Sling

So, what is it about the Singapore Sling that makes it so appealing? The obvious answer is it’s simply a delicious drink – but let’s look at some of the other aspects that contribute to its enduring popularity.

A Perfect Balance of Flavours

The Singapore Sling is a masterclass in balancing flavours. The botanicals in the gin, the sweet cherry notes from the Cherry Heering, the herbal complexity of Benedictine, and the citrusy kick from Cointreau all come together harmoniously. The pineapple and lime juices add a refreshing tropical twist, while the grenadine and bitters round off the drink with sweetness and a hint of bitterness.

It's Visual Appeal

The vibrant pink hue of the Singapore Sling is undeniably attractive. It’s a cocktail that not only tastes great but also looks stunning, making it a perfect choice for social media snaps and impressing guests at parties.

The Historical Charm

Drinking a Singapore Sling is like taking a sip of history. Its origins in the elegant Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel add a touch of nostalgia and sophistication. The story of its creation, intended to allow women to drink alcohol discreetly, adds an interesting cultural context that makes each sip a little more special.

It’s also interesting to note that the bar sells between 800 and 1200 of these cocktails each day! This makes up around 70% of the drinks revenue in the bar.


While the classic recipe is a must-try, the Singapore Sling is also a versatile cocktail that lends itself to experimentation. Bartenders and home mixologists alike can tweak the ingredients to create their own versions, whether by adding different fruit juices, or experimenting with various gins. Cocktails are after all perfect to experiment with.

Social Experience

Enjoying a Singapore Sling can be a social experience. Whether you’re making it at home for friends or ordering it at a bar, it’s a conversation starter. Sharing the history and the unique flavour profile can enhance the enjoyment and make it a memorable experience.


The Singapore Sling is more than just a cocktail; it's a celebration of flavours, history, and social connections. Its complex blend of ingredients, vibrant appearance, and intriguing backstory make it a favourite among cocktail enthusiasts and a great choice for those new to the world of cocktails. Whether you’re sipping it at the Raffles Hotel or mixing one up in your kitchen, the Singapore Sling is sure to delight and impress.
So, next time you’re in the mood for a drink that’s both refreshing and rich in history, give the Singapore Sling a try!

Cheers to enjoying one of the world’s most iconic cocktails!

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