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Singapore Sling History

Ngiam Tong Boon created the Singapore Sling at Raffles Singapore

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The Singapore Sling, widely regarded as the national drink of the country, was first created in 1915 at Raffles Singapore by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. Primarily a gin-based cocktail, the Singapore Sling also contains pineapple juice as the main ingredient, along with grenadine, lime juice and Dom Benedictine. Giving it the pretty pink hue are cherry brandy and Cointreau. Bartender Ngiam deliberately chose to give the cocktail this rosy colour.

Following the turn of the century in colonial Singapore, Raffles Singapore was the gathering place for the community and Long Bar was the watering hole. It was common to see the gentlemen nursing glasses of gin or whisky. Unfortunately for the ladies, etiquette dictated they could not consume alcohol in public, and for the sake of public modesty, fruit juices and teas were their preferred beverage.

The talented Ngiam thus saw a niche in the market and decided to create a cocktail that looked like a fruit juice, but was actually infused with gin and other liqueurs. Masking it in pink gave it a feminine flair and together with the use of clear alcohol, he cleverly led people into thinking it was a socially acceptable punch for the ladies. With that, the Singapore Sling was born. Needless to say, it became an instant hit.

To hear more on the history of Singapore Sling from our Resident Historian Mr Leslie Danker, click here
For a demonstration on how to make your own Singapore Sling, click here

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Raffles. Legendary service since 1887.