Peter Heering Sling Award: You gotta be in it to win it

BARTENDERS, listen up.

This year’s Global Peter F Heering Sling Award is ramping up. The contest starts April 22, and here are the details…

First, start with the Singapore Sling. You know the one: gin, Cherry Heering, lemon juice, a hint of sugar, and a splash of soda. Doctor it up, and make your own interpretation of it. The drink must include Cherry Heering – no homemade syrups or other infusions are allowed.

Name the drink and take its picture. For a gold star, include the Heering bottle in the picture.

Starting April 22, you’ll be able to enter the drink at, or on the company’s Facebook page. Registration ends May 25. One winner per country will be announced in early June. The quarter-finals will take place on Facebook, where the public will vote for their favorites. Then a jury will select 15 semi-finalists, who will receive a tablet computer.

The semi-finals will take place in London in mid-August. Five finalists will then move on to Berlin in early October. All finalists will receive a trip to Berlin for the finals. The winner gets 500 euros, a fancy cocktail shaker, and the adulation of the masses.


MxMo XXXVI Hits You Where It Hurts

Happy Mixology Monday, fellow tipplers! The theme this month is Hard Drinks for Hard Times, and the host is the hard man himself, Matthew Rowley. What Matt wants to know is, has the recession affected your drinking, and if so, how? Matt, himself, has already chimed in on this problem, with a story that begins with his own recent job loss.

I understand where he’s coming from.

Y’see, in the last few months, my own working life as a freelance copy editor has dried up to nothing. When Jen and I moved to Providence in April of last year, I was very busy. So busy, in fact, that I was turning projects away and supporting both of us, while Jen searched for work in her field. I was so busy, too, that I didn’t see any reason to seek out other work, or make contingency plans in case things fell apart.

Which, of course, is just what happened. Things fell apart, and at the moment, I’m not working at all.

Fortunately, Jen’s salary is enough to cover our living expenses, so that any money I might bring in goes toward savings, travel, spendier bottles of liquor and wine, and so on.

As my workload has dwindled, our drive to the bottom of the liquor industry’s pricing structure has quickened. We’ve been rocking the Evan Williams since before Dave Wondrich sung its praises in Esquire. (At about $22 for a 1.75-liter bottle, it’s almost stupid not to buy it.) I’m feeling especially lucky in that my personal favorite martini is based on Beefeater, which we can get in 1.75L form for about $30 around here.

We’ve even lately–it is like confessing a murder–brought in boxed wines for our everyday drinking, saving our bottled-wine budget for weekends and holidays.

But enough about this–two more comments, and I’ll move forward with a drink recipe.

What Does This Mean for A Dash of Bitters?

I’m happy to announce that this month marks the third anniversary of this blog, A Dash of Bitters. Despite our recent change of fortunes, I have every desire to push on to year four, and I have plans for the next year that will stun and amaze you! I’ll even ask you to help me out with ideas for my Big Project of 2009! More on that in a week or two.

Is Dietsch Going to Tales of the Cocktail?

Less happily, my current unemployment is forcing me to reconsider my commitment to attending�Tales of the Cocktail this year. This is not an easy decision, but unless my workload rises to at least part-time levels soon, there’s no way we can save the money in the short time between now and July. Further, Jen has a newborn niece and an 88-year-old grandmother; she’s never met her niece and hasn’t seen her grandmother in three years. I have a teenaged nephew I haven’t seen since he was a pre-teen nephew. Our travel priorities for 2009 are for family, I hope you’ll understand.

If things change, I’ll be happy to let everyone know that I or we will be in New Orleans this July, but at this moment, I can’t possibly see it happening.


We’ve been living pretty high off the product samples lately, and they’ve really helped us eke our way through some otherwise-dry patches. I thought, for this MxMo, I’d put together a drink based almost entirely on product samples.

Main ingredient, Bulleit bourbon. I love this stuff. The mashbill is such that it apparently has the highest rye content of any bourbon on the market. I love rye, so perhaps that explains why I love Bulleit so much.

Next up, Cherry Heering, followed by B&B. A little Grand Marnier, some fruit juice, and a hit of bitters. Squirt on some charged water, and that’s your thing.

The bourbon, Cherry Heering, and B&B were all product samples. I had the Grand Marnier on hand, alongside bitters and citrus.

What we’ve got here is a Singapore Sling variant, of course. I call it the Recession Special Sling, after the hot dog specials at Gray’s Papaya in New York. We both loved it. Now, finally, the recipe:

Recession Special Sling, using whatever the fuck I had on hand already

2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. Cherry Heering
1/4 oz. B&B
1 oz. Grand Marnier
3 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. lime juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake, strain into a Collins glass, and top with club soda or charged water.�

photograph by Jennifer Hess.

Recipe testing

Now that the holidays are past and we don’t need to stock as many champagnes and digestives, I’m building up my liquor cabinet again, in hopes of expanding my drinks repertoire. One drink I’m eager to master is the Singapore Sling, but most recipes I’ve seen call for both Cherry Heering and Benedictine, which we don’t normally have on hand.

Still haven’t bought the Benedictine, but I did get a bottle of Heering. I have to say, I almost like it just on its own. It has a lot of depth of flavor and character aside from being just sweet cherry. I googled around for recipes that use it, and found this one, for a cherry cobbler.

Cherry Cobbler

  • 1½ oz. gin
  • 2 Tsp. (1 oz.) Cherry Heering
  • 2 Tsp. (1 oz.) Crème de Cassis
  • 2 Tsp. (1 oz.) lemon juice
  • 1½ Tsp. (¾ oz.) sugar syrup

Technique: Combine the liquors, lemon juice and sugar syrup with ice; shake well. Strain over ice and decorate with a lemon slice and cherry.

Man, is it just me, or is that way too sweet? Two ounces of sweet to an ounce and a half of strong! And doesn’t a cobbler require muddled fruit, or am I thinking of a different class of drinks?

When I actually mixed this, I used these proportions:

Cherry Cobbler

  • 1½ oz. gin
  • ½ oz. Cherry Heering
  • ½ oz. Crème de Cassis
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. sugar syrup

And even that was too sweet.

My second iteration went pretty far in the other direction:

Cherry Cobbler II

  • 2 oz. gin
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ¼ oz. Cherry Heering
  • ¼ oz. Crème de Cassis

Too dry. Next up, I’ll probably try this:

Cherry Cobbler III

  • 2 oz. gin
  • ½ oz. lemon
  • ½ oz. Heering
  • ½ oz. Cassis

In trying this stuff out, though, I came across another recipe using Cherry Heering, and this is one that we liked very much, but that story will have to wait for the next Mixology Monday, coming up in a few days.