The Abridged History of the Singapore Sling

The Honourable House vs The Esteemed Opposition

The Honourable House vs The Esteemed Opposition

A Pointless Rant/Open Letter to the Evil Proprietors of Raffles Hotel

Dear Whoever,

Let the wide open world take heed of the ghastly shame you have brought upon the toupeed heads of your stodgy old clientele! In their turgid bellies lie the traces of your vile pre-mixed concoction. Reprehensible! How will they fashion themselves after the likes of Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad when the noisome taint of premixed cocktails has tarnished their artistic proclivities? No longer will they be able to pat their turgid bellies, placated by an authentic cocktail, feet raised upon the back of a sweaty Chinaman and claim to be real gentlemen made of the honour wrought by enduring their White Man’s Burden?

How shall they write epic tomes of less than heroic knavery and/or societal disillusionment when they become cognizant of the bastard-brew in their bellies? How will their corpulent wrists blunt the nibs of their pens with tales of splendorous sword fights? How will they thumb at their oval spectacles and comment on the tepid air while savouring the finest hand-rolled cigars exquisitely crafted from tobacco painstakingly nourished with the sweat of the natives?

You have failed them, and how you have failed them!

Signed,

An Angry Gentleman

The “Real” Singapore Sling

The original “Singapore Sling” wasn’t even called the “Singapore Sling”, it was known as the Gin Sling or the Straits Sling. Cocktail aficionados attribute the creation of the enticingly pink cocktail (originally created for the purposes of females who were too mannish to drink an Old-Fashioned and too coquettish to drink  Whiskey on the rocks) to a certain Ngiam Tong Boon.

The earliest versions of the Singapore Sling did not have their manliness further subverted by doses of citrus juices, while the contemporary incarnation served up at the Long Bar is served up with generous amounts of pineapple and lime juice. Ironically, the current Singapore Sling is enjoyed by a much larger audience and isn’t reserved for effeminate men. But irony be damned I say, and cheers to everyone who imbibes the pallid pink drink that puts Singapore on the map.

In all honesty, the aversion to pre-mixed cocktails I get, but what of the difference in ingredients?

Here is the version served at Raffles Hotel circa 2010

30ml Gin

15ml Cherry Brandy

120ml Pineapple Juice

15ml Lime Juice

7.5ml Cointreau

7.5ml Benedictine

10ml Grenadine

A Dash of Angostura Bitters

Garnish with a slice of Pineapple and Cherry

Here is a version from Robert Vermiere’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them, circa 1922

Straits Sling

2 dashes of Orange Bitters

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

1/8 gill of Benedictine

1/8 gill of Cherry Brandy

1/2 gill of Gin

Pour into tumbler and fill up with cold soda water.

In conclusion, don’t recoil in abject horror at piddling details, don’t pretend to be worthy of the charm of Raffles Hotel in its heyday, don’t thumb your nose at the offending citrus juices. Simply refer to the second recipe presented above and do it yourself.  Don’t make the proprietor of Raffles Hotel any richer if you don’t like his Singapore Sling, and most importantly, don’t throw your arms up in exasperation when your concoction doesn’t taste half as good as the pre-mixed one at the Long Bar.

There are waaay too many conflicting reports by stoic defenders of the original Singapore Sling and exhortations of change by witless people who claim that the citrus juices add a “floral bouquet” to the cocktail. There, its settled :  We’ll Just Never Know, Will We?

Also, take note that this is a blog and not an encyclopedia, not even one of the internet policed variety.

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2 Responses to “The Abridged History of the Singapore Sling”

  1. wilma Says:

    HAI I LOVE YOUR POST CAN I KOPE IT

  2. Rubin Gassman Says:

    Hi, i must say fantastic site you have, i stumbled across it in Google. Does you get much traffic?

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