At the fag end of the 20th century, Putin was coming into power in Russia, Bill Clinton was being impeached, George W. Bush was becoming the President of America, and the world at large was hoping for a miracle. In the sunny shores of swashbuckling Singapore, in the early 1900s, bartender extraordinaire Ngiam Tong Boon was stirring up a storm in a glass. Boon’s improvisation of the classic gin sling gave birth to the sassy Singapore Sling, a cocktail so on fleek that it could send the best of best in a heady trip down the clamouring, gaudy lanes of Singapore. Since then, a thousand (okay, that’s an exaggeration) variations of the Singapore Sling have come and gone, each leaving its impression behind. Taking inspiration from the 20th century stunner, here’s yet another version of the drink, with a Scottish twist.

The Process

You’d need a handful of ingredients before you start off. You need gin, cherry-brandy, grenadine, Benedictine, Cointreau, angostura bitters and our secret addition, Barrelhound Blended Scotch Whisky. The barrelhound’s spicy sweetness blends like magic with the sweet, tangy cocktail imparting it a richer body and adding stronger kick. Now, take a Collins glass, pack it with ice and chill it in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, combine the liquors and aperitifs in the following order and quantities. 1 ½ ounces gin, 4 ounces of pineapple juice, ½ ounce of cherry brandy, ½ of freshly squeezed lime juice, ¼ ounce of Benedictine, ¼ ounce Cointreau, ¼ ounce of grenadine, a few dashes of Angostura bitters, and lastly, the star of the show, ½ ounce of Barrelhound Blended Scotch Whisky. Now shake it well until the orange-hued red of the cocktail resembles the sky at sunset. Strain the cocktail into the chilled Collins glass over a fresh stack of ice. Garnish with a twist of an orange peel, a few maraschino cherries and the Singapore Sling with a Twist is ready to rock the party.

What a Clootie Pie!

Scotsmen love their clootie dumplings. It is a traditional pudding, one that is a must-have during Christmas and Hogmanay with a gracious serving of custard. These dumplings are actually a spiced pudding, stuffed with dried fruits, wrapped in a cloth, and simmered in water for a long time. Clootie dumplings are an experimental version of plum cakes, however, they aren’t quite as rich. Traditionally, these dumplings do not involve whisky as an ingredient. But can you really imagine Scottish holidays without whisky?Clooties, or cloth pieces have been used as a cooking instrument for the longest time. It has died out in most parts of the world, but the Scots like lingering onto traditions. Boiling in a clootie gives a skin like character to the outer side of a dumpling. Often people would leave the dumpling out to dry so as to let it form a crust on the outside. However, the oven does that job today on its own. For a true Scottish touch invoking strains of the legendary bagpipes, use 100 Pipers for the recipe.

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Blood and Sand: An ode to Bullfighter Juan Gallardo

Blood and Sand – now that’s a cocktail name which will make you think twice before ordering one. But far from the perplexing mix of orange juice, Scotch whisky, cherry brandy liqueur and sweet vermouth, the Blood and Sand surprisingly tastes great. The combination of the four mixes is fresh and rich at the same time. Depending on the Scotch used, it can be strong and smoky or easy and light.The redolent Blood and Sand made its appearance in the early 1900’s and derives its name from the 1922 Rudolph Valentino movie Blood and Sand, portraying the life of bullfighter Juan Gallardo. Its recipe was first recorded in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock.There are quite a few simple variations to the Blood and Sand, each adding a distinctive touch of its own. To decrease the acidic flavor of the orange, pink grapefruit juice can be used as an alternative. Some recipes leave out the juice altogether.A good option to enhance the flavor is to use Italian Vermouth. Islay scotches like Bowmore give the drink a smoky flavor which goes surprisingly well with the orange juice and cherry liqueur. An Ardbeg 10 Year Old also imparts smokiness to the drink.

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Sip on Serpent's Tooth for Succor This St. Patrick's Day

The Serpent’s Tooth, like the name suggests, is a cocktail with a bite. With spicy liqueurs, bitters and a dash of tart lemon juice, it definitely packs a punch. The origins of its name is uncertain. Some presume it to be borrowed from Shakespeare’s King Lear (“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!”). Others claim that since the drink has Irish roots, it is an allusion to the legend of St. Patrick.  And as we get close to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, let us tell you a little about the myth attached with this drink. St. Patrick was a Romano-British Christian bishop and missionary in fifth-century Ireland. A popular folklore maintains that he banished all the snakes from the country, after they attacked him on a hill-top. He was enduring a 40-day fast at the time, and in defense, managed to chase every snake into the sea.  No snake has ever been sighted in all of Ireland since the episode.  However, all evidence reveals that Ireland has never been home to snakes at all. Regardless, the tale is an entertaining one, and continues to be passed down generations. St. Patrick’s Day is observed to mark the passing away of this legendary saint. It is a day now marked by overflowing spirits and vibrant, verdant fervor. And, who can pass on an opportunity to drink and make merry with friends?

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