For all those travelling around the world in seven cocktails, we are now open for boarding. Let’s take a trip from Singapore to London, enjoying the history, geography and recipes for some mixed drinks that will bring an international touch to your holiday season or celebration. You could even host a travel-themed cocktail party!
Let’s start in Southeast Asia with the Singapore Sling. The luminescent pink cocktail was created by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon while working in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel, sometime in the 1910s. Visitors to Singapore still flock to the Raffles bar to sip on a Sling.
This recipe is the current issue from Raffles Hotel. The very original was lost to history, and this version was conjured up from notes and staff memories.
15 ml Heering Cherry liqueur
7.5ml Dom Benedictine
120ml Pineapple juice
15ml Fresh lime juice (about one small lime)
10 ml Grenadine
A forceful dash of Angostura bitters
Garnish with pineapple and Grenadine soaked cherry
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add enough ice cubes to make the shaker approximately three-quarters full. Cover while shaking hard and fast until the shaker feels cold.
Strain the cocktail into a hurricane or highball glass containing ice. If you want, garnish with pineapple and cherry.
Tip: If this drink is too sweet for your liking, top up with some soda water and stir it through.
The Manhattan has conflicting origin stories, but the one thing they agree on is that the cocktail was first mixed in its namesake location during the late 1800’s. Over the following half-century, the classic American cocktail appears in numerous recipe books with variances in ingredients. The Manhattan Club which lays claim to one origin story, serves their version of the drink to the following recipe.
60ml parts rye whiskey
30ml sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well (never shake) and pour into a chilled lowball or coupe glass.
Tip: For a dry Manhattan, replace the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth; or make it “Perfect” with equal parts of both.
Next stop: South America and the official Brazilian drink by law, the Caipirinha. The Caipirinha is thought to have been conceived in Paratay, São Paulo for medicinal purposes towards the end of World War I. The original was a combination of cachaça (spirit made from sugar cane), green lemon, honey and garlic. Sometime down the line the honey and garlic got substituted for sugar and ice, giving birth to the Caipirinha of today. In 1922, Brazilian modernists chose the caipirinha as the official Brazilian drink for Modern Art Week, which introduced the Caipirinha to the world.
3/4 green lemon
3 tablespoons white sugar
Place the sugar in a lowball glass. Cut the lemon into wedges and place skin side up in the glass. Gently muddle the lemons, then add ice and cachaça to the glass. Stir and enjoy!
The next stop on our around the world adventure is Cuba. In the late nineteenth century, American expat Jennings Cox, was successfully mining iron outside Santiago de Cuba. Legend has it that while entertaining one evening, he ran out of gin. Cox dashed out to buy whatever liquor he could and returned with rum. To the rum he added lemon juice, sugar, mineral water and ice. His guests loved the drink and asked him what it was called. Cox chose to name his cocktail after a nearby beach village named Diaquiri. Later Hemmingway took to the cocktail while he was spending time in Cuba, and created his own rendition. Below is Jennings Cox’s original recipe, which can be used to make a batch for six people.
6 tsp Sugar
6 cups (1.4L) of White rum
2 cups (0.5L) of Mineral water
Juice lemons and add liquid to the sugar, rum, mineral water in a bowl. Mix well, then add ice. Ladle into coupe glasses filled with ice.
Now we escape to Florence, Italy where in 1919 Count Camillo Negroni demanded a stronger drink. The bartender at Caffe Casoni, Fosco Scarselli, responded by replacing the soda water in the Count’s Americano with gin, and garnishing it with orange peel instead of lemon rind. A Negroni makes a great pre-dinner cocktail and post-meal aperitif.
1/3 Campari bitters
1/3 Red vermouth
Orange for garnish
A Negroni can be prepared directly in a chilled lowball glass. Pour all the ingredients over ice and stir gently. Cut a wedge of orange and place in the cocktail to finish.
The Black Russian
Arriving in Brussels, Belgium we will be staying at the Hotel Metropole where in 1949 bartender Gustave Tops created the first Black Russian cocktail. He created the simple Russian vodka, coffee liquor mixture in honour of hotel guest, Perl Mesta, the US Ambassador to Luxembourg.
The Black Russian
50ml parts Vodka
Pour both ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir before straining into a lowball glass filled with fresh ice.
Tip: For a sweeter drink, increase the portion of Kahlúa to vodka.
The final stop on our “Around the World in 7 Cocktails” journey, is London. Here we meet the creation of James Pimm, the owner an oyster bar in London in the mid-1800s. On the menu was a gin-based drink containing various herbs and liqueurs, offered as a tonic to aid digestion. This first concoction was dubbed Pimm’s No. 1 Cup. Subsequent cups have come and some have gone, but the classic No. 1 remains a British favourite, and curiously popular in New Orleans. Make it by the pitcher full with this recipe.
Lemonade (Lemonade in the British/Aussie sense: clear and carbonated i.e. Sprite or 7-Up for Americans)
Fresh fruit (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced oranges, cherries)
Fill a pitcher with ice. Add a large handful of fresh fruit, a few slices of cucumber and one-part Pimm’s to three-parts Lemonade. Stir and finish with a squeeze of lime, and some fresh mint.
I hope you enjoyed your boozy trip around the world in cocktails. Please travel with us again soon!
Peace, love & inspiring travel,