The Singapore Sling is a South-East Asian cocktail. This long drink was developed sometime before 1915. by Ngiam Tong Boon, a Hainanese bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore. It was initially called the gin sling, – a sling was originally an American drink composed of spirit and water, sweetened and flavored.
D. A. Embury stated in the Fine Art of Mixing Drinks: “Of all the recipes published for [this drink] I have never seen any two that were alike.” The Times described the “original recipe” as mixing two measures of gin with one of cherry brandy and one of orange, pineapple and lime juice. An alternative “original recipe” used gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and fresh pineapple juice, primarily from Sarawak pineapples which enhance the flavor and create a foamy top.
The hotel’s recipe was recreated based on the memories of former bartenders and written notes that they discovered regarding the original recipe.
Recipes published in articles about Raffles Hotel before the 1970s are significantly different from current recipes, and Singapore Slings drunk elsewhere in Singapore differ from the recipe used at Raffles Hotel.
By the 1980s, the Singapore Sling was often little more than gin, bottled sweet and sour, and grenadine. With the move towards fresh juices and the re-emergence of quality products like Cherry Heering, the cocktail has begun to resemble its original version.