Many will know the famous nickname for Singapore, which derived from its depiction on many world maps as simply a “little red dot”. The term is now used proudly in self reference by this thriving independent nation. I have a puzzle box with little red dots too, so naturally had to pair these two.

The “sling” family of cocktails arguably predates the actual “cocktail” and may have been a bridge from the popular punches of the early 1800’s in America to the cocktail itself. A sling back then was essentially a single serving of punch, made with spirit, sugar and water, but no bitters. Things got much fancier at the turn of the next century, especially at, say, the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore. They were famous for their sling, made with gin, lemon (or lime), ice, soda water, and … other stuff. The other stuff is so mysterious because there are now so many versions of the drink and the cocktail history books are not so helpful. A modern day Singapore Sling at the Raffles includes pineapple juice, cherry brandy, Benedictine, grenadine and bitters too. But Historian David Wondrich has combed the old newspaper archives from Singapore and established what is likely to have been the true additions in the original version: red cherry brandy (the drink was historically pink), lime juice, and Benedictine (and a few dashes of bitters). I’ve chosen to make Whitechapel’s version (a modern gin joint in San Francisco) of this classic, which sticks to the original formula. It’s one of the best. Cheers!


Singapore Sling (Whitechapel)

1 ½ oz London dry gin

¾ oz Cherry Heering

¾ oz Benedictine

1 oz lime

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Club soda

Build the ingredients in an ice filled Collins glass, top with the club soda, and give it a stir. Garnish with a little red dot.


For more about this dotty little box see:

Boxes and Booze: Connecting the Dots