The gin-based Singapore Sling, invented in 1915 by Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, is considered a pre-Prohibition era classic. However, recipes vary so wildly you may wonder if you’re even drinking the cocktail you think you ordered.
MercBar at The Esplanade offers a classy version that could rearrange your thinking about this oft-adulterated refresher. Pineapple juice gives it a sweet tropical touch, nicely offset by the honeyed, spicy nuance of Benedictine D.O.M., an herbal French liqueur invented by a 16th-century monk. Although the cocktail is decidedly fruit-forward, thanks to Cherry Heering (an elegant cherry-flavored brandy) and Bauchant Orange Liqueur (an equally elegant, Cognac-based elixir made with three types of oranges), it also offers a savory undercurrent that distinguishes it from the frothy soda pop versions that dominated the ’80s. A grown-up drink for reluctant grown-ups.
You can whip this one up in seconds on a balmy afternoon. Add 1 oz. gin, ½ oz. Cherry Heering, ½ oz. fresh lime juice, ¼ oz. Benedictine D.O.M, ¼ oz. Bauchant Orange Liqueur (Cointreau or Triple Sec work, too) and ¼ oz. grenadine to a canister with ice, shake a few seconds and strain into a footed Pilsner glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated lime slice, a banana leaf and a cherry.
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