Let’s get some known facts out of the way first, shall we? The Singapore Sling was probably invented some time between 1913 and 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, who worked at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It certainly had gin. And ice. It may have had “cherry brandy” (by which we mean a cherry liqueur ... or perhaps not) and Benedictine. It may have also had lime juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, sloe gin, crème de cassis, orange bitters and/or the all-mysterious “bitters”.
Furthermore, let’s set some things straight. First, this drink, whatever it is, isn’t a sling. A sling is a lightly sweetened and chilled spirit, lengthened with water of some sort. This drink, with its citrus, bitters and liqueurs is much more like an early English Tiki drink than a proper sling.
In fact, so little is known about this drink’s ingredients that David Embury, writing in “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” (1948) claims that he’d never seen two recipes with the same ingredients. I would extend this, and say that we should differentiate between the Modern Raffles Hotel Singapore Sling, the Original version of the same drink, and the more generic “Singapore Sling”, which may or may not have a lot in common with the version served at the Raffles.