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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with club soda

17May 12

Tom Collins

Tom CollinsDuring my years on the road, I have learnt a great deal about local drinks and mixes in the different regions I have visited. And although every country is proud of a particular beverage, there are drinks which are famous anywhere you go. The Tom Collins is one of them. Whether in South America or Asia, in a big city or a beach bar, this cocktail is a must on every bartender’s list.

The main ingredient to a Tom Collins is gin. It’s a tremendously refreshing drink and great to sip on hot, damp afternoons while watching the West Indies play England at cricket in Barbados. This is actually where I started drinking it.

According to history, the Tom Collins was first mixed by an American bartender named James Collins, somewhere in the state of New York in the late 1870s. As the story goes, he used Old Tom gin, a sweeter type than the London dry brand, to prepare the cocktail. He then named the drink using a mix of both his name and the gin’s.

The Tom Collins became so famous worldwide that there is even a cocktail glass named after it. It became so popular, that it has inspired a load of spin-off drinks such as:

  • John Collins (replace the gin with whiskey)
  • Joe Collins (replace the gin with scotch)
  • Ivan Collins (replace the gin with vodka)
  • Sloe gin Tom Collins

To me, it tastes like delicious lemonade, with no noticeable alcohol trace. This can be very dangerous, especially on a warm afternoon in a tropical country. In other words, be careful how many you drink if you intend to walk back to your hotel after 7 hours of cricket.

Needed:

  • 45ml Old Tom gin
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of super fine sugar
  • 60ml club soda
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • 1 slice of orange

How to prepare it:
1. In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar. Shake well.
2. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes.
3. Add the club soda.
4. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice.

Time: between 2 and 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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06Apr 12

Singapore Sling

Singapore SlingWhen I think of extravagant places I have visited, Singapore always pops up in my mind. Although it is as complex and beautiful as the rest of Southeast Asia, there is something about this place that makes it unreal. The same happens whenever I taste the most famous cocktail this tiny country has ever produced: the Singapore Sling.

The drink is said to have originated at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel (named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Modern Singapore as a trading post of the East India Company in 1819) by a bartender called Ngiam Tong Boon sometime in the early 1920’s. When in this country, you will be offered the Singapore Sling, also referred to as “the lion’s drink”. This is due to the fact that Singapore means “lion city” in Malayan.

The key (and often overlooked) ingredient in a Singapore Sling is Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur which boasts over 30 herbs in its mix. According to history, it was originally meant as a woman’s drink, hence the attractive pink colour and sweetness in its taste.

Another component is a dash of Angostura Bitters which adds a nice touch to various tipples, such as a magic flute or champagne cocktail.

This drink is extravagant as it mixes together 8 different beverages. That’s a lot for a country which is one of the 15 smallest in the world! Another enlightening fact is that Singapore has the world’s third highest GDP per capita and has the largest man-made fountain in the world.

Probably the oddest fact about this cocktail is that no one really knows what the original recipe is. The closest, though, is probably the one served at the Raffles Hotel. So if you are ever in Singapore, I highly recommend you visit the place and try this magnificent and extravagant cocktail.

Ingredients:
• 30 ml Gin.
• 15 ml Cherry Brandy.
• 120 ml Pineapple Juice.
• 15 ml Lime Juice.
• 7.5 ml Cointreau.
• 7.5 ml Dom Benedictine.
• 10 ml Grenadine.
• A Dash of Angostura Bitters
• Club soda.

How to prepare it:
1. Put the Gin, Benedictine, Lime juice, Grenadine, Cointreau, Pineapple juice and Bitters in a shaker with cracked ice and shake five times.
2. Pour into a chilled Collins glass.
3. Top off with club soda.
4. Pour Brandy over the back of a spoon into the center.
5. Garnish with a cherry and an umbrella.

Time: between 3 and 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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