Singapore Sling

Published On September 6, 2012 | By Ken Leung | Cocktails, Gin

Traces of British Colonial life still linger in today’s Hong Kong as reminders of its particular swirling blend of east and west–modest Buddhist temples close to grand Christian churches, feng shui principles guiding the design of high-rise office towers, one of best Chinese noodle/dumpling places in town taking its name from a Scottish city, high tea with Chinese pastries, etc.

With a few exceptions, the city drives to devour anything considered old and replace it with something new. In the bustling Central district just off of a major street lies a restaurant named Jimmy’s Kitchen, a city institution that has survived since 1928. The dark-wood paneled pub atmosphere, with white table cloths and a maitre d’ in an impeccable black and white uniform, set the tone for many generations as the place to go for international cuisines. (Today, Hong Kong, has many more compelling options.)  Jimmy’s was the destination for businessmen to settle deals over Turtle Soup, Escargot, Beef Wellington, Bangers and Mash, Vindaloo, or the house version of Chinese Fried Rice.

It was so clubby, male, foreign . . . and sophisticated, especially to me, as a teenager on one particular visit. I had dined there with my family previously, but on this Saturday, I came with my father. We were immediately greeted by the statff since my father was a regular. We were escorted to his regular table, a quiet alcove that was both cozy and provided a great view of the restaurant.

I had my favorites at Jimmy’s: Baked Pork Chops over Fried Rice. Steak Diane, the famous French Onion Soup, and the ever alluring Indian Chicken Curry served with Basmati Rice, Pappadam, and an array of condiments. Even though the heat of the curry posed a challenge for me, I kept on ordering it. My father would tease me about clutching the tall glass of iced water to sip between bites.

After ordering lunch, the waiter asked about our choice of beverage. My father ordered his usual, gin and tonic. I then said I wanted to have that, too. A little taken aback since he had only observed me consume a few drops of wine at family banquets, my father paused then ordered a Singapore Sling for me. He said that I’d like it better. Since I had no basis of comparison at that point in my life, I trusted his decision and tried to patiently wait for it to arrive.

At the sight of the translucent ruby beverage, I immediately fell in love with its appearance. I took my first sip while my father studied me for a reaction. The fruitiness was pleasant, but I could not decipher the taste of alcohol. I told him that I liked it a lot and that I felt like an adult. He chuckled and said he was glad his son had grown up right in front of his eyes.

At the end of that wonderful luncheon, my father then confessed that he told the waiter to add nothing more than a splash of gin to my beverage. I was a bit disappointed at my father’s trick, but quickly realized he probably knew more about what I could handle than I did. Years later, the memory of that Singapore Sling with my father at Jimmy’s Kitchen still lingers.

What started off as another luncheon instead ignited a long-term passion to discover the right cocktail appropriate to the occasion. Please join me and my friends on this new journey to that perfect beverage.

 

Ken is the man behind the blog Hungry Rabbit

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About The Author

Ken Leung
has been delivering killer cocktails with us since the very beginning. Ken is blogger atHungry Rabbit. Follow Ken on twitter @hungryrabbitnyc.

12 Responses to Singapore Sling

  1. Kristen says:

    Seriously – you all are killing it with these recipes. As a cocktail fan, my list of ones to try is growing larger and larger! Gorgeous pics!

  2. MikeVFMK says:

    I know, I’m part of this blog so it’s kind of like commenting on your own blog. But, it’s different. Ken, I’ve made many Singapore Slings in my time but I don’t recall one being this beautiful. Really something with gorgeous photos.

  3. Stunning photo and recipe, but I fell for the writing even harder. Having grown up in HKG from 92-98 this post has me itching to return and be enthralled and dazzled by all that has changed since my last visit in ’05. Ken you are right – from what I’ve experienced, Hong Kong is always transforming and always glittering with the new. But my favorite visual snapshots + memories are of those historic jewels of ancient temples and beaten/battered down apartment buildings juxtaposed with the gargantuan steel/glass structures of tomorrow. I expected great things from this collaboration [having been a long time follower of many of y'all] but this post is what sold me. Please keep it up!

  4. naomi says:

    LVOE LOVE LOVE this recipe and gorgeous photo! Shoot-love this new blog with you boys. Great idea.

  5. Russell says:

    I love this drink. Don’t tell the other boys but this might be my favorite so far! I love this story too – I too had a trickster of a father and a first alcoholic drink moment similar to this.

  6. I love the sound of this drink and it’s absolutely gorgeous!!

  7. Would it be wrong to want one of these for breakfast?

  8. Helene says:

    My son is studying at a University in HK for four months. I am going in November. After reading this post I am so excited to go visit HK. That Singapore Sling is one of the first drink I ordered in bars and it’s so good. I have never heard of Angostura bitters. Beautiful pictures, keep the drinks coming!

  9. The Singapore Sling is one of those drinks I’ve heard of before, but never actually tried. These photos make me want to whip one up this weekend! (Or now.)

  10. Awesome photo man. This has always been one of my favorite drinks. Great capture of it.

  11. Lora says:

    This is a great story, Ken. You brought me to that moment and I love this drink. Looks fantastic:)

  12. Michael Toa says:

    Finally got round to check out the blog and I love it! Singapore sling has got to be my favourite cocktail. Great story and such beautiful pictures. Now, I’m heading to the bar….

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