Blues, originally uploaded by matthew paul
The sling's origins are linked with the invention of the "cock-tail" itself. At the dawn of the 19th century, the two were practically synonymous. The earliest known definition of a cocktail gives a vague description of a mixed drink (liquor, sugar, water, bitters) and notes that "it is vulgarly called a bittered sling."
It has managed to become one of my favorite drinks, despite the fact that I normally don't care for gin (a Gimlet being the other notable exception to the rule). Here's my go-to recipe for this classic cocktail:
1.5 oz gin
0.75 oz sweet vermouth or sherry
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz simple syrup
dash or two of Angostura bitters
Shake all but the soda water with ice, strain into a tumbler or highball over ice, top with soda, and garnish with a lemon peel.