Singapore Sling Showdown

I wrote most of this post about a month ago, but didn’t finish until today.

Finally purchasing my first bottle of Cherry Heering, I also picked up some pineapple juice so I could treat my family to a round of Singapore Slings. I realised this was a great opportunity to test out a few recipes to see which I preferred (you tend to make a lot of these when you have a 2L carton of pineapple juice sitting in your fridge which would otherwise almost never be touched). I ended up experimenting with four and a half different variations on the modern Raffles recipe which everyone seems to be mixing nowadays.

Method for all recipes: Mime shake all ingredients except soda. Shake briefly with ice, strain into a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Top with soda, if using. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry.

1 Gin
1/2 Cherry Heering
1/4 Cointreau
1/4 Benedictine
3 Pineapple juice (unsweetened)
1/2 Lime juice
1/4 Grenadine
Dash Angostura bitters

1 1/2 Gin
1/2 Cherry Heering
1/4 Cointreau
1/4 Benedictine
4 Pineapple juice (unsweetened)
1/2 Lime juice
1/4 Grenadine
Dash Angostura bitters

The first of these was too light and the pineapple definitely dominated the second.

1 1/2 Gin
1/2 Cherry Heering
1/4 Cointreau
1/4 Benedictine
3 Pineapple juice (unsweetened)
1/2 Lime juice
1/4 Grenadine
Dash Angostura bitters
Top with ~1 soda water

The soda improved the foam a lot, and made the mouthfeel of the drink a bit clearer whilst still being quite rich.

After several days I finished my bottle of Cointreau. I’d seen some sources recommend Grand Marnier over Cointreau, so I gave this a try. I also still found the pineapple a bit too strong in the mix, so it came to this:

Aaron’s Ultimate Preferred Singapore Sling Recipe As Of Nowish:
1 1/2 Gin
1/2 Cherry Heering
1/4 Grand Marnier
1/4 Benedictine
2 1/2 Pineapple juice (unsweetened)
1/2 Lime juice
1/2tsp Grenadine (optional?)
Dash Angostura bitters
Top with ~1 soda water

It was the best I’d made so far. The switch to Grand Marnier, even used in such small quantity, made a significant difference, eliciting a richer and luxurious overall flavour. I left out the grenadine when I made it the first time, and haven’t really tested yet to see what sort of effect its inclusion has other than on appearance so I’ll just say you can be flavour safe skipping it entirely.

Now for a few comments:

  • I mime shook here to get more of that beautiful pineapple froth without having to shake too long with ice; when serving drinks on ice, especially long drinks, I try not to dilute too much before hitting the rocks lest the drink get too watery towards the end.
  • I don’t know how people get their Slings to be a nice bright colour. I’m not talking neon red, but say a pinkish/golden blush. Maybe it’s the juice I’m using, but Cherry Heering is a really dark liqueur and using the standard amount turns my drink a deep, muddy red. Even using grenadine doesn’t help much colourwise. I’m not fussed though, because it still looks great with the foam on top and the flag garnish.
  • I’d like to see how this tastes with freshly pressed pineapple juice.

Since the Heering’s hit my shelf, this drink has been a hit with my folks and friends. It’s even a good gateway drink perhaps- complex enough to get people to think and appreciate what they’re drinking, yet sweet and accessible. I’d say it’s the kind of drink with a deep, rich and complex flavour, but without detailed separation; it’s difficult to pick out the component ingredients. It’s also the kind of drink that’s incredibly delicious, and you should mix yourself one right now.

Refreshingly tropical enough to be drunk in the height of summer (or in Singapore for that matter), yet rich enough for the heart of winter (if your heater’s on). Distinctive and complicated enough to be a mixological landmark, yet not something that will challenge neophyte palates. I can see this becoming a staple around the house as a crowd pleaser all year round.

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Published in: on September 25, 2009 at 6:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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