Want to learn how to make a Singapore Sling at home? This cocktail is a perfect example of a drink with a complicated history - there are many different versions which all claim to be true to the orginal. Our guide below features recipes & tutorials for the Singapore Sling (beginner to expert) taking you through the origins & evolution of the cocktail, a useful FAQ section and tips.

Singapore Sling Guide

Our ultimate guide to the Singapore Sling
Read our ultimate guide to making the Singapore Sling

The Bar Cabinet Notes


  • First seen: Early 1900's Singapore - closely associated with the Long Bar at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel (who credit it to bartender Ngiam Tong Boon)
  • Perfect for: A reprieve from oppressive heat and humidity
  • AKA: ‘Singapore Gin Sling’ 'Straits Sling'
  • Most noted for: Having no definitive agreement on the original recipe
  • Difficulty: ***

Why learn to make the Singapore Sling?

The Singapore Sling is an important cocktail for the amateur mixologist to learn to make - in many ways this drink captures the evolution of mixology itself. With no single agreed-upon definitive original recipe, the Singapore Sling is defined by a general outline of flavours and the purpose it was originally invented to serve - e.g. - to give drinkers a temporary respite from Singapore’s stiflingly hot and wet climate.

Most versions give the home mixologist an excuse to bring DOM Benedictine (an iconic historic herbal liqueur) into their lexicon of flavours, while venturing into the varied family of cherry brandies and liqueurs. No matter which version of the drink you choose to make, the resulting experience should be long lived, slow, and refreshing, like a shaded moment in the breeze.

In our article below you will learn about making the different versions of the drink and their balance of flavours - as well as some useful guidance for making the drink and the rich history behind it.

What is a Singapore Sling?

The Singapore Sling cocktail that most people are familiar with today is basically a sweet fruit punch with pineapple juice & gin - which is a far cry from the clean balanced drink it was originally intended to be. The International Bartenders’ Association cites only one recipe as the official Singapore Sling - this was the same recipe the Raffles Hotel served until late 2018. However, Raffles have recently updated the list of ingredients to create a dryer more refined drink, to get closer to what they believe was the original recipe.

On the other side of the spectrum are versions of the Singapore Sling that have minimal fruit juice, in an attempt to stay true to the pedigree of the cocktail while embracing the evolution the drink has undergone.

Common ingredients

Most recipes for the Singapore Sling incorporate the majority or all of the following ingredients:

  • Gin
  • Fresh Lime or Lemon Juices
  • Herbal and fruit liqueurs
  • Grenadine
  • Bitters

Most people associate the Singapore Sling as having pineapple juice can be - we cover this later in the article.

Why are there so many different version?

this is a drink that has been shaped by different cultures and notable moments in historyThe lack of rigid specifications for the Singapore Sling can make it hard for a home mixologist to choose which version to make as .

The original recipe is most closely associated with the Raffles’ Long Bar in Singapore - we try to separate the facts from the mythology in our 'brief history' section at the end of this guide.


"A delicious, slow-acting, insidious thing" - early 20th century food-and-cocktail writer Charles H. Baker Jr

The Science Of The Cocktail

The singapore sling flavour experience

The Singapore sling is a cocktail which has a forwardly fruity first sip but with a very subtle and complex earthiness that lingers on the palate. While many juice-based drinks are a single note of flavour that rings until the end, the Singapore Sling is a cocktail has faint hidden elements to be discovered and pondered with each sip.

While your mouth becomes accustomed to the fruit and sugars, the herbals and spices from the gin, liqueurs, and bitters become more apparent, slowing the pace of your drinking so that you can fully experience the subtle complexity of the cocktail. In the right context and with a properly made drink, the feverish world around you succumbs to a quiet moment of leisure - the refreshing pause that gave rise to the Singapore Sling in the first place.

Balancing the drink elements

With this cocktail, as with many others, the interplay between acids and sugars is at the forefront of the balance of flavours. The key elements are as follows:

  • Fructose - Fructose is fruit sugar which has a slow lasting sweetness in comparison to the initially aggressive sweetness of sugar cane and corn syrup - this is abundant in the pineapple juice

  • Sucrose - The cherry and benedictine liqueurs are sweetened with sucrose (as is grenadine)

  • Citric acid - Citric acid from the limes (and pineapple if used) provide a sharpness of flavour

  • Malic acid - Whereas lemon juice contains almost 100% citric acid - limes have a more complex balance of acids - one such acid is malic acid which provides the sustained sour, tartness which helps to balance the sweet flavours

  • Astringent Tannins - The balane of astringents from the herbal liqueur, triple sec, gin, and bitters (and some higher quality grenadines) provide the extra dimension between the perceived tartness of the acids and sweetness of the sugars and give the Singapore Sling its unique identity

The flavour experience

Together the sucrose from the liqueurs and the citric acid from the fruit juices give the drink its initial sweet and sour streak, which quickly fades. The fructose from the pineapple and the malic acid from the lime continue to linger.

While bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme found in pineapples, literally cleanses your tongue of a microscopic layer of flesh (ref) and the sugars attached to it, leaving your palate clean of the sweet and sour flavors that initially dominated it.

The air bubbles introduced to the mixture by shaking it lighten the mouthfeel at first, but as the ice melts in the glass and further dilutes the drink, those bubbles dissipate, and the ingredients’ intensities lessen. All the flavors become less and less pronounced until the mild last draw washes away all that was before it.

The appearance

The pink colour of the drink primarily comes from the use of cherry liqueur - one of the most common of these is Cherry Heering but others can be used resulting in different flavour profiles and colours. The use of grenadine also contributes to the rich deep hue.


Recipes And Tutorials

Our ultimate guide to the Singapore Sling
Read our ultimate guide to making the Singapore Sling

To help you understand both the evolution and the methodology behind the Singapore Sling, we‘ve created a small group of recipes, from the late 1900's to modern day. This will introduce the novice to (and remind skilled mixologists of) the key details that make the Singapore Sling an iconic cocktail.

We will look to cover:

  • Choice of ingredients
  • Preparation methods
  • Presentation & garnishing options

As always - you can just dive straight in and try whatever version takes your fancy!


Recipe 1 - Beginners

Easy Singapore Sling (Without Benedictine)

One of the oldest known recipes with the name 'Singapore Sling' comes from Henry Craddock’s definitive 1930 book The Savoy Cocktail Book. This version doesnt require DOM Benedictine as an ingredient and so makes an introduction to the Singapore Sling easier for the beginner. Craddock also has a recipe 'Straits Sling' (which does contains DOM Benedictine) in the same book - which many argue to be the true successor to the modern Singapore Sling (see our brief history of section later).

Craddock’s Singapore Sling stays somewhat true to the historic definition of the archaic pre-cocktail era “sling:” which was simply a spirit sweetened with sugar and diluted with water. But here, Craddock shows the sling’s evolution towards cocktail, with a liqueur as the sweetener and largest spirited ingredient, with a little lemon juice added.

The Recipe:

QuantityIngredient
1½ partsCherry Liqueur (e.g. - Heering)
¾ partGin
½ partLemon Juice
½-1 partSoda Water

The Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients in your small shaker tin
  2. Fill your large shaker with ice.
  3. Pour your ingredients over the ice.
  4. Combine your small tin with the large one and shake the drink until the large bottom tin is uncomfortably cold to the touch.
  5. Prepare a collins glass and add ice and the soda water (adding the soda water first avoids separation of the drink)
  6. Use a hawthorn strainer and pour the drink into the collins glass.

The Result:

This version of the drink could be described as resembling an alcoholic cherry lemonade. Thanks to the low amount of lemon juice and its dilution with soda water, none of the ingredients step forward in a forceful way. Instead you have a very mellow refreshing drink with the hint of botanicals from the gin slightly cutting through the balance of sweet cherry and sour lemon.


Recipe 2 - Intermediate

1913 Singapore Sling

The easy Singapore Sling recipe above does not use DOM Benedictine - however realistically this herbal liqueur is an absolute requirement to give a Singapore Sling its signature taste. This next recipe introduces it as an ingredient and you will see the extra dimension that is added to the drinks flavour.

The below recipe takes inspiration from a 1913 article in the Singapore Weekly Sun newspaper which makes reference to 'a really decent Sling', which contained "one cherry brandy, one Domb (i.e., D.O.M. Bénédictine), one gin, one lime juice, some ice and (soda) water, (and) a few dashes of bitters"

The Ingredients:

QuantityIngredient
1 partsGin
1 partCherry Liqueur (e.g. - Heering)
1 partDOM Benedictine
1 partLime juice
1 dashAngostura bitters
½-1 partSoda Water (for topping up)

The Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients in your small shaker tin.
  2. Fill your large shaker with ice.
  3. Pour your ingredients over the ice.
  4. Combine your small tin with the large one and shake the drink until the large bottom tin is uncomfortably cold to the touch.
  5. Prepare a collins glass and add ice and the soda water (adding the soda water first avoids separation of the drink)
  6. Use a hawthorn strainer and pour the drink into the collins glass
  7. Garnish with a pineapple slice and a cherry (optional)

The Result:

The exchange of lemon for lime juice adds an extra dimension to the sharpness. This recipe has quite a high proportion of DOM Benedictine so the flavour is quite obvious. The Angostura bitters also add an extra dimension.


Recipe 3 - Advanced

The International Bartenders’ Association Singapore Sling

The Raffles Hotel (the self-declared home of the Singapore Sling) served the next recipe until 2018, which is presumably why the IBA adopted it. This version is very different from what the original must have been over a hundred years ago, no doubt, given the ingredients available and the culture at the time, but visitors flocked to its bar nonetheless for decades, to taste its contemporary fruity concoction as a tourist event in itself.

The Raffles offered this recipe on menus and other material throughout the hotel.

Also, notice the absence of added club soda, taking the drink completely away from its “sling” origins.

The Ingredients:

QuantityIngredient
1½ partsGin
½ partCherry Heering brandy
¼ partCointreau
¼ partDOM Benedictine
4 partsPineapple juice
½ partFresh lime juice
⅓ partGrenadine
1 dashAngostura Bitters

The Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients but the grenadine in your small shaker tin.
  2. Fill your large shaker with ice.
  3. Pour your ingredients over the ice.
  4. Combine your small tin with the large one and shake the drink until the large bottom tin is uncomfortably cold to the touch.
  5. Use a hawthorn strainer and pour it all into a collins glass filled with ice.
  6. Garnish with a pineapple slice and a maraschino cherry

The Result:

This version is in many ways a boozy fruit punch - the addition of Cointreau and reduction of Benedictine adds additional fruit flavour while decreasing the herbal quality. The grenadine increases the fructose and/or sucrose depending on its quality, and makes it pink. All in all, this variation might be a bit too sweet and lack nuance for some palates, but it is a fun refreshing fruity drink, suitable for throngs of holidaymakers looking for a good time.

With this version, the pineapple juice adds a new sweetness and mouthfeel while replacing part of the soda from the first recipe, leaving the foundation of the drink less diluted. The pineapple also adds a distinctive 'ead' to the drink when shaken


Recipe 4 - Expert

The Bar Cabinet Singapore Sling:

The Raffles Hotel re-invented its Singapore Sling in 2018, introducing a drier better-balanced version of the drink. They didn’t change the proportions of the drink but the ingredients themselves. Instead of Cherry Heering, they have switched to Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco Liqueur which we use in our final and recommended version of the drink

We have also elected to use pineapple juice rather than soda and both angostura and orange bitters - the angostura bitters can be dropped on top of the pineapple head and formed into pleasing patterns.

The Ingredients:

QuantityIngredient
1½ partsDry Gin
½ partLuxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco Liqueur
½ partDOM Benedictine
1 partPineapple juice (not from concentrate)
1 partFresh lime juice
1 dashOrange bitters
1 dashAngostura Bitters

The Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients in your small shaker tin.
  2. Fill your large shaker with ice.
  3. Pour your ingredients over the ice.
  4. Combine your small tin with the large one and shake the drink until the large bottom tin is uncomfortably cold to the touch.e
  5. Use a hawthorn strainer and pour it all into a collins glass filled with ice.
  6. Float the grenadine on the top.
  7. Garnish with a pineapple slice and a Luxardo cherry.

The Result:

The mixture of botanical from the gin, the bitters, and the herbals from the DOM Benedictine make for a complex underlying flavor. The less sweet flavour of the Luxardo Murlacco create a new balance to the tartness from the fruit juices, making for a more measured experience for drinkers looking for an elevated cocktail.