My Grandfather’s Singapore Sling

singapore sling / a thousand threads

The Singapore Sling is a funny drink. Order it up on your next vacation and you’re likely to receive something that closely resembles a Mai Tai… a slice of pineapple, maybe even a tiny umbrella. But the history of the drink is much more complex.

It is generally agreed that the Singapore Sling was created by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore sometime in the early 20th century, but that’s where the agreement ends. While the Raffles still serves a version of the drink, and proudly displays the safe in which Mr. Ngiam locked away his precious recipe books, they admit that the original recipe was lost long ago. The current version was formulated by Ngiam’s nephew during the 1970s… but a quick search will reveal that even the “original” remains far from the only version.

The Singapore Sling has been interpreted and re-interpreted many times over, but to me, my grandfather’s will always be the one.

I wish I had a beautiful story to share with you about my grandfather’s holiday recipe… how it evolved through the years to become the very best representation of the drink. The truth is, it might not be the best, but the very sight and smell of it reminds me of the holidays, even if I wasn’t allowed a taste until well after I’d moved away from home.

Today, many of my family’s longstanding holiday traditions have faded, a sad side-effect of living so far from each other (and one that I swear every year I will remedy) but the sling remains. Wherever we all might be on Thanksgiving and Christmas, it just isn’t the holidays without this drink.

… and maybe a little Tom Waits, but that’s another story altogether.

Singapore Sling

1/2 Lime
1 oz Gin
1/2 oz Sloe Gin
1 oz Cherry Brandy
7-up

Muddle 1/2 a lime in a rocks glass, fill halfway with ice. Combine gin, sloe gin, and cherry brandy in a shaker with ice; shake for 10 seconds. Strain into glass and top with 7-up.

One Comment

  1. Posted November 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I love this-the recipe, the tribute to your grandfather-it’s perfect! Enjoy this weekend, darling!

5 Trackbacks

  • By Welcome Back! « A Thousand Threads on November 28, 2011 at 5:06 am

    […] had a nice early Thanksgiving dinner, complete with a Singapore Sling, and spent a cozy, relaxing day recovering at home.  The next morning we managed to wake up nice […]

  • By Christmas Tradition « A Thousand Threads on December 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

    […] house, where it would already smell delicious.  With Grandma’s dip on the table and Grandpa’s Singapore Slings on the way, we would always leave an hour or so to catch up with family before dinner, torture when […]

  • By Christmas Tradition on December 20, 2012 at 10:59 am

    […] year growing up, my family would gather on Christmas Eve for clam chowder and a slightly confused version of a singapore sling… and to this day I can’t let a single year go by without a big […]

  • By My grandmother's gingersnaps | A Thousand Threads on December 18, 2013 at 10:10 am

    […] I have my own home, my few remaining family traditions, and these gingersnaps, and Singapore Slings… and my grandma’s cranberry relish, which is and will always be my favorite holiday […]

  • […] My heart swells to ten times its size at just the thought of my grandparents’ home in those days… warm, inviting, and filled with the scent of freshly-baked pie, with appetizers at the ready and grandpa at the counter mixing singapore slings. […]

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