Singapore Sling Cocktail

By Robert Hess

The Singapore Sling was originally created by Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore in the early 20th century. It is a wonderful drink that we probably have all heard of, but perhaps have never had. And because this recipe is often incorrectly recorded in most recipe books, even if you think you've had it, you probably haven't.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz Gin

1/2 oz Cherry Heering

1/4 oz Cointreau

1/4 oz Benedictine

4 oz pineapple juice

1/2 oz lime juice

1/3 oz grenadine

dash Angostura Bitters

Instructions

Shake with ice.

Strain into an ice filled collins glass.

Garnish with cherry and a pineapple slice.

Comments
Chris CV 13 Oct 2010
9:34 am

Yay, a new one!

This is a fantastic drink (I first made after finding it on DrinkBoy a couple months ago).  If today’s Straits Sling was the true original, I much prefer the replacement.

Quick question: why do you always list it as Cherry Herring instead of Heering?

Keep up the good work!

Trevor 14 Oct 2010
1:10 pm

Who is this beardless impostor!?
Finally a new one, I’ve been waiting forever!  What brand of grenadine do you use?

a10tive1 14 Oct 2010
9:11 pm

That looks sooooo good pouring into the glass.  Off to the liquor store tomorrow!

blair frodelius 15 Oct 2010
7:14 am

Nice to see you back online, Robert!

Robert Hess 15 Oct 2010
9:23 am

@Chris… dang… I do keep listing it as Herring instead of Heering, don’t I.

@Trevor… in this episode I happen to be using Angostura grenadine, mostly because that is what I had on hand.

@everyone… glad to have new season of episodes started! We filmed about a half-year’s worth of episodes in our most recent filming session, so there should be new episodes relatively regularly for a while.

Chris Milligan 15 Oct 2010
10:38 am

Nice job Robert!

Chris CV 15 Oct 2010
11:34 am

Oh, I thought maybe you knew some old story about how it was traditionally called Herring, but through some comedy of errors, it turned into Heering.

blair frodelius 15 Oct 2010
12:20 pm

I suppose you could be a little “hard of heering”.  :)

Michael Schultz 18 Jan 2011
8:38 pm

I have seen this recipe quoted on other websites and I will certainly be trying it out… You say it is perhaps the recipe that is currently being used at the Raffles Hotel.  What do you think of Charles Baker’s formula, which he claims he got in 1926 (“and thereafter never forgotten”), well enough before the bartenders themselves forgot it , according to the lore:
    “The original formula is 1/3 each of dry gin, cherry brandy, and Benedictine; shake it for a moment, or stir it in a bar glass, with 2 fairly large lumps of ice to chill.  Turn into a small 10 oz highball glass with one lump of ice left in and fill up to individual taste with chilled club soda. Garnish with the spiral peel of 1 green lime. In other ports in the Orient drinkers often use C & C ginger ale instead of soda, or even stone bottle ginger beer.
    Our own final improved formula calls for 2 parts dry or Tom gin, to 1 part cherry brandy and 1 part Benedictine.  This is dryer, not too sweet.  We also use a trifle more ice in the glass than the Raffles technique.  One lump melts too quickly where we live among the coconut palms!”
—Charles H. Baker.  The Gentleman’s Companion, Vol. II, Exotic Drink Book.  Crown Publishers, New York, 1946.

steve7500 27 Jun 2012
1:20 pm

Damn,That looks good. Not a cheap drink to make - it better be good. I will try both these recipes and when I do,I’ll let you know.

Brad Simpson 2 Dec 2012
12:31 am

Robert,

This is one of those drinks that has been challenging me. I’ve found a billion and one recipes for it, and all vary significantly. I am curious about a couple of things, though.

1) Doesn’t this take the basic “Sling” concept and beat it with the complicated stick? I have found several books that make this drink as a traditional gin sling(gin, water, sugar, and lemon) with an addition of cherry(be it cherry liqueur, cherry brandy, kirsch, or Cherry Heering specifically).

2) I noticed that you still had quite a bit of liquid left in your shaker after pouring(as did I, when I made this). I’ve seen references that call for this drink to be served without ice(which makes no sense to me), or in a gigantic tiki glass. I assume that because you were filming, that excess just went down the drain. How would you handle that in the bar, if someone were paying for it?

3) I’ve also seen several recipes that suggest the addition of soda water or ginger ale to this drink. I could see that making a significant difference in the end product, diluting the flavours to some degree and adding an element of effervescence. What are your thoughts on this?

I can see that 2 and 3 could be taken in a contradictory context, which is certainly not my intent.

Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Robert Hess 2 Dec 2012
2:28 pm

Brad,

The recipe I present here should be seen as being one of the more accurate versions, at least if you are looking for a Singapore Sling using the recipe that Raffles Hotel in Singapore (where it was invented) says is the real one.

As for it being “sling”... You are correct, this isn’t a sling in the true sense of the category, but then neither is a “Chocolate Martini” a “Martini”, but that doesn’t stop people from calling it such. :->

As for the “remainder” in the shaker… this is a result of my not having quite the right size of glass available, or in my tuning the recipes measurements in order to fit the glass I was going to serve it in. There are essentially three ways a bar could/should deal with this. First and foremost, if this is going to be a drink they regularly serve, then they should carefully pick glassware/recipe so that it will fit properly. If that isn’t the case, and they do end up with some leftover, then either they serve the leftover “on the side”, or they could provide some “tastes” to other customers at the bar using the leftover. This works especially well if one or more of the other customers appeared to be curious about the drink.

As for the soda addition… I’ll refer again to my opening, the recipe as represented by Raffles doesn’t use soda water.

You might also want to check out the “Straits Sling”, which is a recipe that just might possibly be more like the “original” Singapore Sling, then the one presented here.

-Robert

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