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Singapore Sling

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The Singapore Sling is a cocktail that was developed sometime before 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon (嚴崇文), a bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore. The original recipe used gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and fresh pineapple juice, primarily from Sarawak pineapples which enhance the flavour and create a foamy top.

Most recipes substitute bottled pineapple juice for fresh juice; soda water has to be added for foam. The hotel's recipe was recreated based on the memories of former bartenders and written notes that they were able to discover regarding the original recipe. One of the scribbled recipes is still on display at the Raffles Hotel Museum.

Recipes published in articles about Raffles Hotel prior to the 1970s are significantly different from current recipes, and "Singapore Slings" drunk elsewhere in Singapore differ from the recipe used at Raffles Hotel.

The current Raffles Hotel recipe is a heavily modified version of the original, most likely changed sometime in the 1970s by Ngiam Tong Boon's nephew. Today, many of the "Singapore Slings" served at Raffles Hotel have been pre-mixed and are dispensed using an automatic dispenser that combines both alcohol and pineapple juice to pre-set volumes. They are then blended instead of shaken to create a nice foamy top as well as to save time because of the large number of orders. However, it is still possible to request a shaken version from bartenders.

By the 1980’s 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 again become a semblance of its former self.

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References

Singapore Sling, en.wikipedia.org

Singapore Sling, www.artofdrink.com

Happy Hour: Singapore Sling, www.yumsugar.com

The Sling Story A Drink to Capture Hearts, www.singaporesling.com.sg