Singapore Sling

The Singapore sling is a classic cocktail with loads of variations…here’s how to make it the real way! It’s complex, fruity, bubbly and just plain fun.

Singapore sling

Want an impressive cocktail that’s fruity and refreshing? Try the Singapore Sling! This one’s for the adventurous drinker because it calls for a whopping 8 ingredients! It’s the longest ingredient list of any of our cocktail recipes and has a few specialty ingredients. But if you want to experience a classic cocktail and don’t mind the challenge: it’s a must try! The combination of fruity, sweet tart and bubbly is intriguingly complex and just plain fun.

What’s a Singapore sling?

The Singapore sling is a gin cocktail invented in Singapore around 1915. It was most likely created by a bartender at the Raffles Hotel. A classic “sling” is made with water, sweetener and liquor. The Singapore sling is a variation on a gin sling with some added ingredients. It’s essentially a single serving punch. Today there are lots of variations on the theme of this recipe. Some bartenders even make a shortcut version using gin, sour mix and grenadine. But we think that’s cheating! Here’s how to make a Singapore sling…the real way.

This cocktail is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning that it has an “official” definition. The ingredients in a Singapore sling are:

  • Gin
  • Cherry liqueur or cherry brandy
  • Cointreau
  • Lime juice
  • Benedictine
  • Grenadine
  • Pineapple juice
  • Angostura bitters

As you can see, the ingredient list is impressively long. But this is what gives it a complex flavor that’s sweet, tart, bitter, fruity, and bubbly all at once. If you don’t have Benedictine you can get away with omitting it. But otherwise, you’ll need all these ingredients to make a true Singapore sling. Let’s chat through a few of the more unique ingredients…

Singapore sling

The cherry liqueur to use

There are a few types of cherry liqueur: what’s best to use here? Cherry liqueur is a dark red sweet liqueur made from cherries. Cherry brandy is another name for this type of liqueur. Here are a few notes on what to use:

  • What to use? A common type of of cherry liqueur is called Cherry Heering. It’s red in color and tastes just like cherries. You can also find other brands of cherry liqueurs: we used one made by a local distillery for this cocktail.
  • What not to use? Don’t use Maraschino liqueur: it’s clear and has a bit different flavor. Also don’t use Kirsch: it’s unsweetened.
  • What other cocktails use cherry liqueur? Try the Blood and Sand.

What is Benedictine, exactly?

Benedictine is an herbal liqueur made in France. It’s made with 27 different herbs, flowers, berries and spices, and was invented in the mid 1800’s. It’s sweetened with honey, and the flavor is lightly sweet and spiced. Benedictine is not used in many classic cocktails, so we recommend it only for the adventurous home bartender.

  • How much does Benedictine cost? Benedictine is available at most liquor stores. A bottle costs about $30.
  • Do you need Benedictine in a Singapore sling? Yes, if you’re going traditional. But you can get away with omitting it as a cheater’s version: the recipe only uses 1/4 ounce.
  • What other cocktails use Benedictine? Try the Vieux Carre.
Grenadine syrup
Homemade grenadine syrup is all natural

Grenadine: make your own!

Grenadine is a non-alcoholic syrup that’s red in color: it’s used in lots of drinks in addition to the Singapore sling. Contrary to what most people think, it’s not cherry flavored: it’s made of pomegranate juice! The word grenadine actually comes from the French word for pomegranate. Here’s what to know about grenadine:

  • Try making it homemade! Many grenadine syrups you buy at the store have artificial flavors and colors. So we have a recipe for all natural homemade grenadine! The flavor is incredible and it comes out with this brilliant red color. Go to How to Make Grenadine.
  • What other cocktails use grenadine? There are lots of grenadine cocktails, including the Tequila Sunrise, Clover Club and the famous Shirley Temple mocktail.

More about Cointreau

Cointreau is the most common of the liquors in the Singapore sling, so perhaps you’ll already have this one on hand. It’s an orange liqueur with a beautiful orange perfume flavor. It’s higher quality than Triple Sec, with a more robust and balanced flavor.

Cointreau is most well known for its use in the Classic Margarita! If you buy a bottle, you’ll have lots to make with it. Try all our Best Cointreau Drinks like the Sidecar and Cosmo.

How to make a Singapore sling

How to make a Singapore sling

Have you compiled all the ingredients? Phew. The main time involved in this drink is getting out and measuring all the components. Once you’re past that part, it’s a breeze! Here’s what to do:

  1. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake (Don’t have one? Use a mason jar!)
  2. Strain into a glass and splash with soda water. Strain the drink into the Hurricane glass, the traditional way to serve this drink. Add a splash of soda water (about 1 ounce or so).
  3. Garnish: Garnish with a cocktail cherry and if you’d like, an orange slice.

When to serve a Singapore sling

The Singapore sling is a stunning drink you can use to impress! Because it’s so complex in the ingredient list, we recommend for adventurous drinkers only. It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Signature drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Singapore sling

Classic Singapore Sling


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The Singapore sling is a classic cocktail with loads of variations…here’s how to make it the real way! It’s complex, fruity, bubbly and just plain fun.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce cherry liqueur or cherry brandy
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce Benedictine (optional but traditional)
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ice, for serving (like clear ice)
  • Soda water, for serving
  • For the garnish: cocktail cherry, orange wedge (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake it until cold.
  2. Strain the drink into a hurricane or highball glass that’s filled with ice. Top with splash of soda water (about 1 ounce or so). Garnish with a cocktail cherry and orange wedge.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Singapore Sling

More gin drinks

Gin is the star in so many of the great cocktails! Here are some great gin cocktails to try…and we promise, all of them are easier than the Singapore sling!

  • Gin Fizz or Ramos Gin Fizz Super classic, they’re sweet tart with a frothy egg white foam topping.
  • Tom Collins Light, bubbly, sweet tart, and just plain fun.
  • Bramble Drizzle a lemony gin sour with candy-sweet blackberry liqueur for a stunning drink.
  • Bijou Cocktail Its name evokes glittering jewels: gin for diamond, vermouth for ruby and Chartreuse for emerald.
  • Gin Gimlet A classic cocktail made of lime juice, simple syrup and gin. Totally refreshing!
  • Gin Gin Mule A gin-based spin on the Moscow mule.
  • Corpse Reviver A classic cocktail that’s crisp, tart and perfectly balanced! Just as unique as its name.
  • Gin Sour A classic sour that’s the perfect balance of lemon, gin and syrup.
  • Clover Club Tangy and bright pink, with grenadine, gin, and an egg white foam on top!
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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