During an Absolut vodka party, I met with Filippo Baldan, Spirits Manager of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. He told me about a Danish cherry liqueur that is used in the original recipe for a Singapore Sling cocktail. And indeed after investigating a bit further, I realised that he was completely right. Denmark has been able export their wares far and beyond apparently, even all the way to the Raffles in Singapore!
Cherry Heering, the main ingredient in the classic gin drink the Singapore Sling, is a Danish liqueur that is dark red and has the flavor of black cherries. It was invented in the 1700s or 1800s by its namesake, Peter Heering. Cherry Heering is made by soaking slightly crushed Danish cherries and a blend of spices in neutral grain alcohol. It is then aged in casks for up to five years, with sugar being added throughout the process to give it the slightly sweet taste.
Cherry Heering can be used as a substitute in many cocktail recipes that contain cherry brandy. Its rich flavor will add depth to many different brandy drinks, such as the Ulysses or the scotch-based Blood and Sand cocktail. Many bar tenders like to use Cherry Heering because it is such a versatile liqueur, and can be used in many drinks. A popular way to use it is in a Brigadier, which includes Cherry Heering, green Chartreuse, and hot chocolate; or in the Cherry Samba, which has Cherry Heering, cachaca, and a smoky single-malt scotch.
The Singapore Sling is the most popular cocktail for the use of Cherry Heering. It was created by a bartender at a hotel in Singapore before 1915 and today there are many different variations to the recipe that can be found. In the original recipe there was gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine, and fresh pineapple juice. The fresh pineapple juice in this cocktail is the most important ingredient, as that is what gives it the foamy top that it is known for. Some will use a pineapple juice that is not fresh, and therefore soda water needs to be added to make the foam.
To create your own Singapore Sling at home, you will need two ounces of gin, three-quarters of an ounce of Cherry Heering, two teaspoons of Benedictine, two teaspoons of Cointreau, two ounces of fresh pineapple juice, three-quarters of an ounce of fresh lime juice, a splash of real pomegranate grenadine, and a splash oh Angostura bitters. Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain into a glass, and garnish with pineapple and cherry. If you do not use fresh pineapple juice, add a splash of soda water to create the signature foam on top.