The Singapore Sling is a kind of cocktail. It is named thus because of two simple reasons. First, it is believed that it was invented by a bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon who was working at a Singaporean hotel. Second, it is a kind of sling cocktail. There was a time when the Singapore Sling was called a gin sling because, well, it is a gin-based sling cocktail.
How Is the Singapore Sling Made?
It is important to note that the Singapore Sling was invented at some point before 1915. As a result, it has been around long enough that it has seen significant divergence. For example, there is one version that features gin mixed with cherry brandy plus orange, lime, and pineapple juice. Similarly, there is another version that features gin mixed with Cherry Heering, Benedictine, and pineapple juice. The extra amusing part is both of these are supposed to be the original version, though to be fair, they are supposed to be recreations of the true original based on a mix of the bartenders' notes and the bartenders' memories. In any case, there is an IBA-approved version of the Singapore Sling, which would be the version that sees use in its bartending competitions. Naturally, it features gin. Moreover, it uses cherry brandy, Cointreau, Benedictine, and Grenadine. On top of that, the Singapore Sling includes pineapple juice, lime juice, and Angostura bitters. This version is supposed to be made by pouring everything into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, shaking the result well, and then pouring the result into the glass. After which, it is supposed to be garnished with pineapple as well as cocktail cherry.
How Did the Singapore Sling Come to Be Created in Singapore?
As for why the Singapore Sling is called the Singapore Sling, well, Singapore has been very popular for quite some time. For those who could use a refresher, it is a rare example of a city-state that exists in modern times, meaning that it is a single city that is nonetheless also a country in its own right. Singapore is situated on a single main island plus a few dozen smaller islands and islets, which have see a fair amount of increase over time because of land reclamation efforts. It is interesting to note that there was once a Kingdom of Singapura situated on the island. Apparently, it was a trading port of some note, with the result that it was influenced by both the Majapahit and the Siamese. Eventually, the Kingdom of Singapura was attacked by either one or the other of those two powers, thus causing its ruler to found the Sultanate of Malacca after fleeing there. However, that wasn't its end. Instead, that happened in 1613 when it was burned to the ground by Portuguese raiders operating in the region. The Kingdom of Singapura never recovered, meaning that the island remained unimportant for a couple of centuries afterwards.
The modern Singapore was connected to the British from the very start. In 1819, a British governor named Stamford Raffles came upon the site, with the result that he soon recognized it as a natural port that would be well-suited for what he had in mind. At the time, the island was under the rule of the Sultanate of Johor. Conveniently, said state happened to have been quite divided at the time because many of the ruling Sultan's officials were loyal to the ruling Sultan's elder brother who was off in exile. The British being the British, Raffles offered to bring said individual back to the Sultanate of Johor plus pay both him and his chief supporter on an annual basis in exchange for the right to establish a trading post. Something that would eventually turn into the outright acquisition of the island. By the mid 1820s, Singapore had become a part of the Straits Settlements, which were ruled as a part of British India in those times. Just a decade afterwards, it had managed to become the capital of said region. Unsurprisingly, Singapore saw a huge boom in population because of this as well as other events. For context, it had been home to about 1,000 people before the founding of the trading post. By 1860, the population had increased to more than 80,000, which was made possible by a great deal of immigration.
In time, Singapore became more and more important as a part of the British Empire. For example, when the rubber industry became established in both Singapore and Malaysia, it benefited because it served as a global center for sorting the stuff as well as moving the stuff. Similarly, when the British decided to put a naval base in the region for the purpose of securing their possessions, Singapore was the natural choice. Unfortunately, that was not enough to prevent Singapore from being invaded and conquered by the Empire of Japan during the Second World War. The British had plans to retake it, but those plans were never carried out before the end of the war. Post-war Singapore was not in a good position. The occupation had been unkind, which is unsurprising considering what the Empire of Japan did throughout its conquests. Moreover, the failure of the British to hold Singapore had done enormous damage to its image in the eyes of the locals. Eventually, Singapore was one of the regions that united to form Malaysia in 1963. However, its government and the central Malaysian government continued to clash, so much so that it was eventually expelled from the country in 1965. Despite this, Singapore has managed to prosper. For proof, look no further than the fact that it is one of the Four Asian Tigers, with the result that it continues to be highly-rated in terms of health, housing, education, safety, and other important considerations. Based on this, it should be clear that Singapore was a very part of the British Empire in the early 20th century. As a result, it isn't that strange for it to have been the homeland of a new cocktail, which would prove to be popular enough to spread throughout the English-speaking world and beyond.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith