While at Petrossian we tried another one that had popped up on their Specialty Cocktails list -- the Singapore Sling, a classic since its invention at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore around 1915.

Trouble is, nobody seems to agree how to make this drink. The recipe I linked to above was not the same as the ingredients listed in Petrossian's menu, and just about every cocktail book I have has a different recipe listed.

If you've ever had and enjoyed one of these, you might be interested in reading "The Origins of the Singapore Sling: Some Facts, Some Fancies", by Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh. It's a fascinating and fairly exhaustive look into the history of this drink, with no less than six different recipes for it. Try 'em all! (I'm particularly interested in tasting the differences between making it with Cherry Heering, a sweet cherry liqueur that some recipes call for, and cherry eau de vie, a dry cherry brandy.)

I'll post two here, the original "Straits Sling" with the dry cherry brandy (kirsch), and the one you see more often nowadays.

"Straits" Sling

2 dashes of Orange Bitters.
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters.
The juice of half a lemon.
1/8 gill (1/2 ounce) of Bénédictine.
1/8 gill (1/2 ounce) of Dry Cherry Brandy.
1/2 gill (2 ounces) of Gin.

Pour into a tumbler and fill up with cold soda water.

Singapore Sling

This recipe comes from Dale DeGroff, who says,

"The following is the only and real recipe for the Singapore Sling (also the best tasting). I have a fax from the [Raffles'] head bartender sent to me at [The] Rainbow [Room] several years ago with their original recipe... all the others, whether they are in books or not, are wrong AND they don't taste good! Everyone quotes Baker's version -- it is wrong and doesn't taste good.

3 ounces pineapple juice.
1-1/2 ounces gin.
1/4 ounce lime juice.
1/2 ounce Cherry Heering.
1/4 ounce Bénédictine.
1/4 ounce Cointreau.
1 dash Angostura bitters.

Shake with ice, strain. Top with a little soda water. Garnish with a flag (orange wedge and cherry on a pick).

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Chuck Taggart   email chef (at) gumbopages (dot) com