Gin sometimes gets pigeonholed into Martinis and Gin & Tonics, but it’s actually a very versatile spirit. It even finds its way into the occasional Tiki drink. This is one of the oldest and the best, and probably one of the most abused recipes, the Singapore Sling. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
The Singapore Sling
1 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Benedictine
1 oz Cherry Liqueur
1 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Juice
1 barspoon Dry Curacao
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 splash Soda Water
Fill a highball glass with ice, then add all of your ingredients. Give everything a stir, drop in a straw, and enjoy. A garnish of tropical fruit is optional.
The Singapore Sling has a murky origin in the late 19th Century in southeast Asia but eventually came to be associated with the Raffles Hotel in (of course) Singapore in the 1910s. Near as anyone can tell, the original recipe called for equal measures of dry gin, Benedictine, Cherry Heering liqueur, and lime juice. That version definitely stands out as unusual to a modern palate, and the Benedictine and cherry liqueur can make it feel a bit medicinal. But it’s actually pretty good just as it is.
Unfortunately, that simple and solid recipe has been twisted and warped over time. Order a Singapore Sling at two different bars and you’re likely to find three different recipes. I’ve seen orange liqueur, pineapple juice, and grenadine, all of which are fine additions to this recipe, but also sour mix and other unnecessary, artificial ingredients. I’ve heard that you can get Singapore Slings on tap at the Raffles, but they won’t actually include most of the original ingredients.
So I updated the recipe a bit to plant it more squarely in the modern realm of Tiki drinks without changing the character of the drink. Start with a dry gin, like Plymouth, herbaceous Benedictine, and a quality cherry liqueur–we like Haus Alpenz Orchard Cherry liqueur. Lime, the fresher the better, is essential, and passion fruit juice adds a zippy, citrusy punch. Dry curacao is one of those ingredients that I never thought of as particularly Tiki, but it very solidly is–citrusy but in a really exotic way. The Peychaud’s bitters help bind all those other ingredients together into a complex drink, layered with spicy and herbal and sweetly citrusy flavors, that’s way more than the sum of its parts.
There’s a lot going on in this drink, which can seem a bit intimidating to people just starting to build a home bar. But it’s actually quite easy to make once you have your ingredients, and really just the gin, Benedictine, and cherry liqueur are critical spirits. Once you have those and some fresh citrus, you can make a great Singapore Sling – and all you have to do is pour your ingredients straight into the glass and stir. Easy!
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper