The Singapore Sling: past, present and future
There has been an article on the Singapore Sling on Liquor.com: A DRINK I STILL LOVE: THE SINGAPORE SLING - Contributed by -
and I am rather skeptical about it. So skeptical in fact, that my comment was that:
No true classic can be based on a lie... The problem is, that the "Raffles Singapore Sling" is based on such a deception. It began with a (rather small) marketing lie - a story, that the long lost recipe has been found again. Whoever knows only a bit about cocktail history could smell this lie 1 mile against the wind: the story states, that the original has been created in the 1930's - problem is, that grenadine hasn't been used until the mid to end 50's - and using pineapple juice has also been pretty unorthodox in cocktails (and basically never be seen). Hence the version is total b.s.! What started as small promotion - just grew to an unstoppable beast. Yes - the straight sling is a good drink - even though most people won't go with it. But there, bartender needs to be edutaining. Like e.g. a sommelier which doesn't sell sweet, low quality sparkling wine...
Not only the past far back of an original sling, but also the "Singaporean Sling" past reveals, that the drink never has been served with the given recipe (Raffles). As I have pointed out, pineapple juice hasn't been a "believable" cocktail ingredient until the mid 40's - neither grenadine - neither that many ingredients altogether. The recipe which is believable is the Straits Sling. The original sling for sure hadn't had eau de vie and gin and Benedictine as recipe. But a revived recipe might just had this. And maybe (that is a big IF), the Singapore Sling just replaced the eau de vie with cherry liqueur (also quite believable). In the younger past, we know all the monster, which we created: a "tutti-frutti" punch without real definition nor character.
There are people who are holding up a "Straits Sling approach" - others just doing as they were told to (by Peter Herring marketing, the IBA as well as the false Raffle's story).
I good example is the article linked above. No further explanations needed...
For such a troubled drink, there is a great reasoning for tweaking it. It just makes sense. So where do we begin:
The tweaked classical version of a Singapore Sling
- Gin: we can use basically any high quality gin. Preferably one with 47% abv - as this is what keeps helps to shine through.
- Juice: pineapple juice is always quite thick, which "muddles" the taste. I would probably clarify the pineapple juice and carbonate it. And then use it instead of soda water (two birds with one stone - you would use pineapple juice - as some people expect, however use it in a different way) - and if you are clarifying already - why not doing a blend of pineapple and lime?
- Benedictine: I like to see the Benedictine as replacement for bitters and use it sparely - maybe instead of orange bitters - (you can still use a dash or so aromatic bitters).
- Cherry Herring: I think we can be pretty confident, that most people associate Singapore Sling with Peter Herring. But instead of mixing it in - we could make a liqueur espuma for the top.
The tweaked crowd pleasing version of a Singapore Sling
- Gin: same approach...
- Juice: Lime juice only...
- Club Soda: In this version we would use Club Soda!
- Benedictine: We could add some - or make some small jelly drops of Benedictine for garnish...
- Cherry Herring: We keep as is - but float on top.
- Pineapple: You might have noticed, that we kept the pineapple juice out... This though had a reason, because we could add a good dollop of pineapple sorbet on top of the drink (which would make it "crowd pleasing". The ice ball need just to be as big, that it seals the glass, that you could float the Herring over it, without it directly dropping down.