On this hot summer evening I wanted to make something a little refreshing - and perhaps a break from the heavy cocktails that I've been making of late. Reading through a couple of books, I came upon the Philly Sling, created by bartender Derek Brown. It appeared to have some refreshing qualities as well as a bit of complexity. As a bonus, I suspected my wife would like it, as it includes applejack and sloe gin. The one hangup that I briefly considered is that it looks and tastes like a chick drink, though it has a fairly high booze quotient. At home that is no barrier, though at a bar perhaps some people would go for something manlier.
1.5 ounces of applejack
1 ounce of sloe gin
0.75 ounce of lemon juice
0.25 ounce of simple syrup
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Shake ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
Taste (flavor, balance, and clarity): 7.5
This was an interesting drink. In stark contrast to the Monkey Gland Cocktail, it did not prominently feature a single ingredient. Rather, it produced a fairly mellow, if a bit sweet swirl of flavors. The applejack and sloe gin - somewhat similar in my book in terms of strength of alcoholic and flavor and the degree of sweetness paired off, with the lemon and the bitters cutting the sweetness. I'm not sure if the simple syrup was necessary for balance but perhaps it was good to dampen the drink a bit. All in all, quite pleasant and easy to consume.
Versatility (when and for whom the drink works): 8
I think that the Philly Sling works in a number of settings. It's complex enough to sip and juicy enough to casually imbibe at a party or crowed bar (though the color indicates a chick drink). That fact notwithstanding, I think a lot of folks would enjoy it, perhaps excepting those with very little tolerance for cocktails that are a bit on the sweeter side.
Hassle (Cost and Time):6
The Philly Sling is some work to make. In addition to juicing a lemon, it requires simple syrup, which I had made recently. As for cost, its moderately expensive, as real sloe gin isn't cheap.
The Philly Sling is a quality cocktail that I will make again, especially for company when they don't want something too daunting. It had a balanced, if slightly sweet flavor profile and was pretty refreshing.
I might omit the simple syrup next time. I'm not sure if it really accomplished much. I also might try using lemon bitters instead of angostura.