Singapore Sling

The Creation of the Singapore Sling®


Step back in time…to colonial Singapore in the early 1900s, a bustling entrepôt: where officers serve their Queen and hope for more, where merchants and many come to seek their fortunes, creating a melting pot of languages, cultures and relationships…

The young officer stepped into the cool embrace of the hotel lobby, leaving the frenzied bustle and the sweltering heat of the tropical afternoon behind him. His mind occupied with the duties of the day, he made his way to the bar, and that was when he saw her.

With painted lips of crimson that curled up in the slightest hint of a smile and eyes that glittered with bemusement as she looked about her, the young woman sat by herself at the furthermost corner of the room – as if content enough with the boisterous chatter that surrounded her. She was the most beautiful woman he had seen in his life.

“Ngiam!” the officer whispered urgently to the barman. 

“Hmm?” said the barman, glancing up at the familiar voice.

“Who is that dazzling beauty sitting over there?”

“Ah, that’s Lady Chin, sir. The youngest daughter of a local silk merchant. Would you like me to send over a scotch, sir?”

The officer sat down and shook his head. “Goodness no, old chap. A scotch is simply not classy enough for a woman of her bearing!”

He thought for a while.

“Please make something for her!” he pleaded with his friend. “A cocktail. Something alluring. Something red. Something which will match her totally!”

Ngiam was someone who was up for any challenge, especially creating a cocktail in aid of his old chap’s future happiness.

And so, the Singapore Sling® was created.


The sparkling scarlet concoction reflected its exotic roots: enticing fruity notes of pineapple juice intermingled with Grenadine Syrup, Cherry Brandy, Angostura Bitters, D.O.M. Bénédictine and Cointreau, giving rise to a sweet yet strong, subtle yet seducing cocktail drink. Before long, everybody was asking for the drink. And it became known as the “Commander’s Drink”. In the Hainanese dialect, the word “Commander” is known as “司令” pronounced as “si ling”. And hence “Sling®”. As for the officer and his lady, like any good story, the story ended happily ever after with a wedding.

The Perfection of the Singapore Sling®

Eighty years later, the Orient’s most famous cocktail would be reborn.


Inconsistencies were emerging in the taste, texture, quality and presentation of the cocktail. And so, with an entrepreneurial spirit and love of a good challenge, a Singaporean named H.S. Chow began a tireless quest to perfect the Singapore Sling®. In his devotion to the subtle nuances of taste, he sought to refine and perfect the drink’s signature taste and sophisticated finish to ensure a pleasing consistency and flavour that was true to the iconic drink. After two decades of tireless experimenting, in 1985, he finally perfected the Singapore Sling®.

Today, the Singapore Sling® is one of the world’s top 10 cocktails, making its appearances in Hollywood blockbusters such as Cocktail and Pirates of the Caribbean. It is served on many airlines including Singapore Airlines, luxury hotels and many prestigious Food and Beverage establishments.

With more than a century’s history, True Heritage Brew Singapore Sling® has evolved from an innovative drink to an established national brand that is making inroads into the international marketplace with True Heritage Brew leading the way.