It’s not often that a cocktail’s name actually refers to the place it was invented. The Japanese Slipper was created in Melbourne, the Americano came from Italy, and the Moscow Mule, as far as anyone can tell, was invented in Manhattan as a last-ditch attempt to improve vodka sales. In Singapore’s illustrious Raffles Hotel though, the Singapore Sling really was conceived one balmy evening in 1915.
Throughout the Roaring Twenties, the cocktail’s reputation grew as ex-pats flocked to Raffles’ Long Bar to drink slings by the bucketload. When the hotel was occupied by the invading Japanese during the Second World War, however, the recipe was lost: now all we have to go on is a hastily written note from one of the bartenders to a visitor in 1936. This simply adds to the mystique of the forgotten cocktail, which didn’t re-emerge until the 1970s. With a maraschino cherry and oh-so-exotic pineapple juice, it fitted the 70’s dinner party vibe perfectly and became trendy once again.
Now, as we’re looking for something to add a bit of sunshine to our November blues, the Singapore Sling is back once again in all its retro charm. But be warned, with the alcohol disguised by an innocent pink hue and welcoming taste of fruit juice, the Singapore Sling is actually rather lethal: primarily a gin-based cocktail, it also contains Benedictine, triple sec, and brandy. Don’t be tempted to leave out the maraschino cherries; Luxardo’s are the best of the bunch, and can also be used for a mean Old Fashioned. Raffles’ head bartender Carlos Elvis Philips has shared the recipe they use today.
Ingredients (serves 1)
30ml Dry gin
10ml DOM Benedictine
10ml Triple sec or Cointreau
10ml Brandy (Raffles use Luxardo Cherry Sangue Morlacco)
A dash of bitters
22.5ml fresh lime juice
60ml Fresh pineapple juice
Glass: A tall, slim Collins glass or highball
Garnish: Cherry and a slice of pineapple to garnish
- Chill a glass in the freezer, or by swirling a couple of ice cubes around in it.
- Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with lots of ice, and give it a good vigorous shake for about 12 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail into your chilled glass.
- Garnish with a skewer of cherry and pineapple wedge for full retro charm.
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