Saturday, July 18, 2009

Singapore Sling Slush Cocktail - It's a Girl Thing

Singapore Sling Slush
The role of a defense attorney is not to believe in the innocence nor guilt of his client, nor to be made privy to more evidence than is necessary to defend the accused. How unfortunate, then, for Mr. Joyce of Messrs. Ripley, Joyce and Naylor of Singapore, that his client, Mrs. Leslie Crosbie, facing trial for a murder she committed in British Malaya, should open a complex abyss that sinks him into a perilous dereliction of legal ethics.
It is the 1920s, in a region of the world best known at the time for British imperialism, rigid racism and plantation commerce, that W. Somerset Maugham examines such an abyss in his compact and corrosive story, The Letter, one of six tales written under the umbrella of The Casuarina Tree. Maugham's Leslie Crosbie is as composed, dignified and well-bred a woman as she is a creature given to wild fits of rage, loathing and self pity. Joyce is as fascinated by her abrupt mood swings and the startling, pre-trial complications, as he is compassionate toward her husband, Robert, a hard-working and kind plantation manager. Were it not for the savage emotional toll that Leslie's arrest has exacted on Robert, and the growing possibility that she will, indeed, be executed for her crime, Joyce would never have bent his principles to procure a critical piece of damning evidence, the letter of the title.
The Letter
For Joyce, there is little comfort in the outcome of the trial, save the knowledge that his own wife is in every way exactly what Leslie Crosbie is not, a loyal, supportive, and sparkling woman of impeccable standards, and a gifted hostess whose "...million-dollar cocktail was celebrated through all the Malay States..."
Except for a passing reference to whiskey and soda, and a gin pahit, no other liquor is directly identified in the story, not even, surprisingly, Mrs. Joyce's renowned cocktail. Had the Raffles Hotel, the Singapore institution where W. Somerset Maugham was a frequent visitor, not already invented the feminine and stylish Singapore Sling, I could easily ascribe that libation to Mrs. Joyce as her very own mysterious concoction.
As is typical with classic recipes, the Singapore Sling has sprung all sorts of variations on its theme of pink gin. The one I'm serving here is my own riff, generally unaltered but for a quick whir in the blender to produce an icy froth that glitters in the sunlight as well as the brain. Cocktail geeks and other purists would likely disjoint their noses, but I trust that you will forgive my crime. After all, it's not exactly like I'm getting away with murder.
Singapore Sling Slush - Based on the Drink Boy recipe

Ingredients (per cocktail)

2 ounces gin
1 1/2 ounces Kirschwasser (a clear German cherry brandy)
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce Bénédictine (a French herbal liqueur)
2 teaspoons grenadine syrup
Juice of 1/2 lime
Juice of 1/2 orange
4-5 large ice cubes
Club soda
Maraschino cherry to garnish
Stirrer/sipping straw (optional)


Select a large highball or other oversized glass. Fill the glass with ice cubes, then add all ingredients except club soda and cherry garnish. Top with club soda to fill. Transfer contents to blender container. Blend in a few short bursts, using the ice crusher button if your appliance has one, until the ice is pulverized and foamy. Pour into glass and stir once to distribute ice. Garnish with cherry and serve immediately.


This post is for Simona of Briciole and Lisa of Champaign Taste, co-hosting their quarterly Novel Food event, which features recipes derived from or inspired by the food and drink we love to read about in our favorite literature.


  1. That looks so refreshing and delicious!

    I have received my book yesterday and I am ever si pleased with it! It is extremely interesting! Thanks!!!



  2. Just the thing for now! How I would love one of it on a relaxed Saturday evening.

  3. Oh, Susan, this is wonderful. Do you know, we just saw the movie (with Bette Davis) recently? SO GOOD. You must see it—and I must read the original story.

    Your Sling slush sounds delightfully refreshing, and I want to try it, too. Thanks so much for taking part in our event once again!

  4. I have neither read the story nor seen the movie, so I definitely need to catch up. A very interesting set of characters and I like W. Somerset Maugham. Gorgeous photos, as always, in particular the one of the opening pages. Thank you so much for participating!

  5. Isn't this the best event? You get to read AND cook! I love your photos and can try the recipe almost immediately, as I have Kirschwasser in the cabinet (we used it for grilled plums).

  6. OMG!! Thats super!
    Me and my hubby are great fan of this drink!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. I could really have gone for one of these last night... And while the blender might not satisfy "purists" I think it makes a lot of sense here.

  8. I so would love to have one of those Singapore Slings in my hand right now!

  9. I have not heard of "The Letter" though am intrigued. I don't drink, but if I did, I would most certainly have a Singapore Sling. Looks refreshing and good. Thanks for the info, always up for a good oldie.

  10. I want to watch this movie or read the book, I should proabbly go for the book first! The story sounds fascinating!
    this drink is perfectly cute and girly :)

  11. This looks very refreshing. Great recipe!

  12. Wow, two of my favorites in one post-- Maugham and alcohol :) I've never had a Singapore Sling before, Susan, but this one looks dazzlingly divine!

  13. I love love love Singapore Sling, and that is not just because I'm a Singaporean ;) Such a lovely photo ... I wish I can have one now.

  14. Thanks, Rosa. So glad you are enjoying your book!

    Soma - Definitely is for relaxing on those hot and sultry summer evenings. : }

    Lisa - Thanks! I've seen the Davis flick many times and love it. This is one instance where neither the movie nor the story disappoint, despite their subtle differences; both are really well crafted.

    Thanks, Simona. If you like Maugham, you will like "The Letter." As an added bonus, it is a short read, very compelling; you can finish it in a few hours and not have felt the time go by. Every word is riveting, a classic case of spare and powerful prose.

    Hi, Ruhama! Yes, I love this event. Kirschwasser's great. I like it so much better than the Cherry Herring that is more often listed in the ingredients.

    Thanks, Chakhlere! So you know what I'm talking about!

    Jessica - Very refreshing. Who could really complain about a frozen drink when you are parched and flagging?

    Welcome, Lori! It's really a delicious drink. Hope you try it. Thanks for your visit.

    Kim - It's a really great classic story, and the sling can be made Shirley Temple style: Ginger ale, grenadine, pineapple juice, lemon, lime, and a teaspoon Angostura bitters. Voila!

    Marta - It is a fascinating story. The movie is easier to come by than the book, though; it is generally not in print anymore. My copy came by way of an old bookseller via Amazon, who got it from the Lima, Ohio Public Library! : D

    Hi, Farida! Thanks! Good to see you!

    Thanks, Vaishali! The Singapore Sling is one of those classic old-guard drinks that's not very popular today, but well worth the mixology.

    Wiffy - Me, too. It was among the very first cocktails I ever tried (love a Planters Punch, too). Thanks always. : )

  15. We just watched the movie: what a great story and what beautiful acting! Now I will look for the book.