Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Singapore Sling, it don't mean a thing

Nominalists and idealists might do well to choose the Singapore Sling as an example in their discussions, as it seems to TBA to be a drink that no two people make the same way. We've been known to spend a weekend ordering it in every bar we visit in NOLA, and getting a different drink every time.

Stumbling on the Esquire magazine Drinks Database (not a compendious collection by any means), we find yet another recipe we hadn't seen:

Singapore Sling

1 ounce London dry gin
1 ounce Kirschwasser
1 ounce Benedictine
club soda

Glass Type: Collins glass


Stir well with 2 or 3 ice cubes in a chilled cocktail shaker, then pour unstrained into a Collins glass and fill to taste with cold club soda or seltzer. Garnish with the spiral-cut peel of a lime.
The lime peel looks nasty in the picture, and the ice cubes give us pause, but this is at least the simplest Singapore Sling we've seen. Most recipes we've seen call for cherry heering, not Kirschwasser, so we will have to give that a try.

... NMC in comments finds the same confusion. I should note, however, that one blog reports that David Wondrich, presumably the author of the above recipe, published something different in Esquire Drinks, but with much more plausible proportions ... AND with Heering not kirschwasser???:
2 oz London dry gin
1/2 oz Cherry Heering cherry brandy
1/2 oz Bénédictine

Stir all well with 2-3 ice cubes, pour unstrained into highball glass, and fill to taste with club soda (or ginger beer, if you're of a mind to).
I really wasn't buying the entire ounce of Benedictine, but now I'm of a mind to e-mail Wondrich and ask what gives.


  1. one web page:

    "Trouble is, nobody seems to agree how to make this drink. The recipe I linked to above was not the same as the ingredients listed in Petrossian's menu, and just about every cocktail book I have has a different recipe listed."

    What's the deal with pineapple juice and recipes for this drink? I'm guessing that the dry/sweet choice on the cherry liqueur and the inclusion/absence of the pineapple are a big part of the variation here.

    And then there's the absence of grenadine or anything else to make it red. I see the Esquire recipe is from the guy who wrote IMBIBE!, who practically lives research on this topic. I still wonder about his recipe. He does note that this is a much less fussy version, but claims it is the original (yet no one has the original...)

  2. Thought of you on Dec. 31, NMC, looking at some fancy grenadine in our Fresh Market store in Ridgeland and wondering whether it would be up to your standards. Shoulda wrote it down.

    I think you're right on the cherry/pineapple issue; there's also the bartender's axiom that anything "tropical" should have pineapple in it.

    Glad you know who that Wonderich character is, the name meant nothing to me. I found his site looking for a recipe for brandy & soda, which has been a substantial part of 2011 thus far for me ....

  3. ... Also, given the Dutch East Indies' proximity, the Heering always made sense to me. Kirsch? Less so.