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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Singapore Sling

I’ve never been to Singapore or to the Raffles Hotel where, legend has it, the Singapore Sling was invented by Ngiam Tong Boon around a hundred years ago.  I have, however, slung back some slings in my day.  Unfortunately, my Singapore Slinging days were my younger days and, due to the strength of this drink and the fact that it goes down as easily as a cherry soda, my memories of it are none too clear.  Let it suffice to say that this is one drink you should definitely enjoy in moderation.

Technically speaking, a sling is any drink made with gin and lemon or lime juice.  The Singapore Sling contains gin, lime juice, and several other ingredients.  There is even a special glass for slings.  If you become a real devotee, you might want to order some.  Otherwise, use a highball glass if your preference is for a sling on the rocks or use a cocktail glass if you like yours up.

The original Singapore Sling recipe was allegedly lost and had to be reconstructed later.  Exactly how this could have happened is unclear to me (perhaps the keeper of the recipe had too many slings, or maybe the story serves to enhance the legend), but there have always been enough variations of this delicious drink available throughout the civilized cocktail-drinking world to keep imbibers happy.  The many recipes available for this cocktail play with the ratio of gin to kirsch, or with the amounts of Cointreau and Benedictine.  Do not, however, consider any recipe without Cointreau and Benedictine to be authentic.  Simplified versions of cocktail recipes exist to help bartenders in production environments crank out a lot of drinks in less time for non-discerning drinkers.  (Try to avoid emulating either of these.)  Avoid using these variations unless you are missing some of the ingredients.  As Mr. Rogers says, take your time and do things right.

Singapore Sling

1 oz. Bombay Sapphire® Gin

1 oz. Kirsch (cherry brandy)

4 oz. pineapple juice (see mixing instructions)

1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice (1 lime) (see mixing instructions)

½ oz. Benedictine

½ oz. Cointreau or Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec)

1 dash Agnostura® bitters

1 dash grenadine

Use the ingredients as listed to serve on rocks in a highball glass. Combine ingredients with cracked ice in a shaker.  Shake lustily while thinking about slowly spinning ceiling fans, sarong-clad maidens, and the lost tropical splendors of old Singapore (not necessarily in that order).  Strain into a highball glass full of ice.  To serve straight up in a cocktail glass, halve the pineapple juice and the lime juice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.    Garnish with a wedge of pineapple and a maraschino cherry. 


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