Sing, o goddess, of the rage of Singapore’s Merlion!...
4325 Ocean Boulevard, San Diego
Well, okay, Homer never got around to singing about Singapore, but the old Greek scribbler also never had Waterbar’s Merlion to get his inspirational juices flowing…
For those not up on their Singapore mythology, the Merlion is the half-lion, half-fish genius loci of Singapore that in an epic sea battle put the smack-down on Mother Nature’s angry winds and thereby, literally, helped put Singapore on the map. (In the native Malay language, “Singapore” means, “Lion City.”)
Waterbar’s own Homer of the Highball, barman Brian Gaudet says he developed the Merlion as an homage to the Lion City’s official cocktail, the Singapore Sling.
“The ingredients of a Singapore Sling are hotly debated,” Gaudet says. “There are multiple ways of making it, but one of the more popular has pineapple juice, which I choose to use because it has more of that tropical mouth feel to it, which fits well with our location.”
While one Merlion does not an ocean make, one look at the rest of Waterbar’s cocktail list shows how Waterbar puts the wet in wet bar. Each glass of splash on the menu is named for an aquatic deity (“Poseidon’s Cup”), sea nymph (“Thetis’ Love”), pirate stuff (“The Jolly Roger”) or other liquid lore (“Lady of the Lake”).
While Cointreau and gin are standard in the Sling, Gaudet says, vodka and Drambuie render the Merlion a different animal altogether.
“It’s sweet, tropical, complex and rounds out nicely,” he says. “You taste the sweet first of the raspberry and pineapple, and get the acid on the back end—not with so much bite to make your pucker but enough to make you want to go back for another sip almost right away.”
And because the Merlion likes its whiskey, it shares the taste of nary a drop with customers.
“The alcohol is hidden well in the Merlion,” Gaudet says. “The Drambuie comes through a little bit but with more of the orange note and the honey than the whiskey.”
1 oz. Tito’s Handmade Vodka
½ oz. Drambuie
½ oz. Chambord
1 oz. Pineapple Juice
½ oz. Lemon Juice
¼ oz. Lime Juice
2 dashes Orange Bitters
Give hard shake to all ingredients in cocktail tin, pour into tulip glass, and garnish with raspberry and pineapple slice.