Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Sling

As noted in Dale DeGroff's superlative The Essential Cocktail, the class of alcoholic beverages known as slings have been around longer than the venerable cocktail itself: a sling is simply strong liquor plus water plus sweetener, so a cocktail was a bitters sling until at least 1806. According to Jerry Thomas in 1862 (by way of the helpful Musings on Cocktails), a sling was a teaspoon of powdered sugar, half a glass of water, half a glass of spirits (probably whiskey or a Holland gin), and a lump of ice. The sling did long and honorable service in a number of forms as it morphed into the fruitier and currently better-known Singapore Sling, while the rest of the sling family languished in obscurity.

Tonight we mostly followed DeGroff's recipe, with a few necessary and a few improvised substitutions. This makes a very light and summery drink--an alternative gin and tonic, perhaps for those who really can't stand quinine.

  • 1 1/2 oz gin (we used Beefeater's)
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (we used Lillet, more by dogma than anything else)
  • 1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice (we used lime cause that's what we had)
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • Dash of Angostura
  • top with club soda
  • garnish: lemon
lemon garnish by feleghazy

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