“Pink slings for pale people”.

Just take a look at it. It’s pink! It has an umbrella! It’s tropical! An effectively forgotten drink,…You don’t get much more 70s, when it comes to cocktails, than the refreshing Singapore Sling.

The Singapore Sling is one of those wonderful drinks that we probably have all heard of, but perhaps have never had. If you’ve ever sipped a Singapore Sling, you already know just how special this classic cocktail is – it’s at once both sweet, tart, and strong, with just enough bitterness to round it all out.

The roots

As to who invented the earliest Singapore Sling? That, I’m afraid, remains lost in the mists of time, but here’s my favorite story:

The bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore: this is the place. The good bartender is Ngiam Tong Boon. The time 1915.

The young English officer, leaving the frenzied bustle and the sweltering heat of the tropical afternoon behind him, stepped into the cool embrace of the bar and that’s when he saw her.

A true beauty across the long bar with her painted lips of crimson red that curled up in the slightest hint of a smile, and eyes that glittered with bemusement as she looked about her. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his entire life.

“Ngiam!” the officer whispered urgently to the barman.

“Hmm?” responded the barman nonchalantly, glancing up at the familiar voice.

“Who is that dazzling beauty sitting over there?”

“Ah, that would be Lady Chin, Sir. The youngest daughter of a local silk merchant. Would you like me to send over a scotch?”

“Goodness no, old chap. A scotch is simply not the right drink for a woman of her bearing!”

He thought for a while. “Please make something for her! A cocktail. Something alluring. Something red. Something which will match her totally!”

Ngiam was one person who was up for any challenge. And especially creating a cocktail for his old chap’s future happiness.

And so, the Singapore Sling was created, a sparkling scarlet concoction reflected its exotic routes a sweet yet strong, subtle yet seducing cocktail drink. And before long, everybody was asking for the drink. And it became known as the “Commander’s Drink”. In Hainanese dialect, the word “Commander” is known as “司令” pronounced as “si ling”. And hence Sling. As for the officer and his lady, like any good story, the story ended with a wedding and a happily ever ending.


The makin’s

1 12 parts gin
12 part cherry heering
14 part Cointreau liqueur
14 part Bénédictine
4 parts pineapple juice
12 part lime juice
13 part grenadine
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 maraschino cherry & a slice of pineapple for garnish

The drill

Shake with ice

Strain into an ice filled collins glass

Garnish with cherry and slice of pineapple


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