As you mix your first Singapore Sling you’ll note that the color is decidedly pink. There are some out there, myself included, who naturally shy away from all things pink. It’s a self protection mechanism of sorts. I ask of you only one favor at this time. When you get that first Singapore Sling fully mixed, turn off that anti-pink mechanism just long enough to take your first sip. After that it won’t matter any more. You’ll gleefully consume the rest of the drink, pink color be damned.
This drink is more complex than it would seem at first blush. I assumed that the flavor will be overly sweet and fruity from the pineapple and liqueurs. This is where the club soda is key. It lightens the sweetness of the drink and adds a small amount of effervescence. As you bring the drink up for that sip you’ll notice a gentle and entirely pleasant earthy aroma. This is from the Benedictine and to some degree the bitters.
Now for the flavor. Tremendously refreshing. Some recipes call for lime or lemon juice while others, the Joy of Mixology recipe included, do not. I found that the citrus juice added a slight hint of sourness to the drink that was necessary to round out the flavors. Without it the drink was simply overly sweet for my palate. The bitters aren’t directly present as they are in some cocktails, the Manhattan for example, but they are there. Overall the flavor is well balanced and quite delicious.
In looking at recipes I found a multitude of variations. There were two that stood out to me. One recipe didn’t call for pineapple juice at all. This changes the flavor profile of the drink entirely. I’d go so far as to say the resulting drink isn’t a Singapore Sling at that point, but rather something else, delicious or otherwise. The pineapple juice is absolutely essential. Another recipe I ran in to included all the usual ingredients in their usual amounts but left off the club soda. While the resulting drink was very good I don’t think you could call it a sling any longer. Slings are a class of sparkling sours, of which the Tom Collins is also a member. So, to leave off the club soda is to remove the cocktail from the sling category.
Once all the proverbial dust had settled my favorite recipe is the one found in Vintage Cocktails and Spirits by Ted Haigh. This recipe includes both the citrus juice that I like and the club soda that’s essential. If you find yourself looking for a delicious summer drink look no further than the Singapore Sling. You could easily mix them up by the pitchure and add a splash of soda to each as you pour them.
Singapore Sling (Vintage Cocktails and Spirits)
2 oz Gin 3/4 oz Cherry Heering 1/3 oz Benedictine 1/3 oz Cointreau 2 oz Pineapple Juice 3/4 oz Lime Juice 2 Dashes Grenadine 1 Dash Angostura Bitters Club Soda