Singapore bartender Samuel Sim throws yummy doubt onto the classic Singapore Sling.
I created this drink when I worked at Kite, and it’s still on the menu. The Singapore Sling was the first complex cocktail that I was allowed to make when I first started bartending at the now defunct Living Room at the Marriott Tang Plaza Singapore. Most people dislike the Singapore Sling because it’s too sweet, but I kind of like it – it’s my first drink, and I have a sweet tooth. For the Suspicious Slinger though, I counter the usual sweetness of the Singapore Sling with a shrub instead, so you still get the pineapple flavours through the drink. The addition of champagne vinegar and a bit of sugar balances it out, so you get a nice, punchy, sour kick. Gula melaka, the palm sugar used in local Peranakan desserts, is sweet, but there are also slight touches of savoury notes, so it gives contrast to the drink. And instead of Benedictine DOM to give the classic its herbal kick, I use yellow Chartreuse. I find DOM’s flavour too heavy, and Chartreuse gives me more space to control how much I want to add in, without messing up the drink. Overall, my Suspicious Slinger is still sweet, but more tart and sour, instead of being overly syrupy. This drink started as The Legalised Slinger – slinger’s another term for a drug dealer – but we changed it to The Suspicious Slinger: if you didn’t know what a pineapple shrub is, or gula melaka, you’ll be wary of the drink because of its suspicious ingredients.
The Suspicious Slinger
45ml London dry gin
15ml Cherry brandy
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
5ml Gula melaka syrup(1:1 dilution)
30ml Pineapple shrub*
20ml Lemon juice
1ds Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients and serve in a highball glass over ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with dehydrated pineapple wheel studded with pink peppercorns and fine salt.
*To make pineapple shrub: Boil 1kg pineapple puree, 300ml Champagne vinegar and 600g sugar, cool and strain.
Samuel Sim was the group beverage manager for The Supermarket Company in Singapore.