Welcome back to Mixology Monday, the longest running online cocktail party in existence! This month, Andrea over at Ginhound has tasked us with the theme of “Sours.” As she puts it:
Some of the most iconic cocktails are Sours. Of David Embury’s core six cocktails two are sours: The Daiquiri and the Sidecar.
There is a reason for this: A perfectly balanced sour is a work of art. What has happened to the Margarita shows exactly what is at stake when mixes replace bartender skill.
For this month’s MxMo I suggest that we test the sour to the limit: Are there citrus besides lemon, lime and grapefruit that works in a Sour? Is citrus the only possible souring ingredient? Could vinegar or other tart fruits or vegetables be used? Let’s also include the Daisies and the Fizzes – that widens the playing field with eggs and whatever makes you fizz to play with.
Let’s play with the garnish – or just take Jerry Thomas’s advice from The Bon Vivant’s Companion: In mixing sours be careful and put the lemon skin in the glass.
A sour is basically a variation on a liquor that has lemon juice and sugar added to it. Simple enough, right? Doug at The Pegu Blog does the heavy lifting in describing a Sour for his post in the midst of Tiki Month. You read his description and made it back? Yeah, I couldn’t have done any better so I’ll just link to him this time. I love citrus and sour flavors, so when I suddenly realized that I had not done anything for this month, my mind went in a thousand directions. Wax eloquently on a 2 parts rum: 1 part lime juice daiquiri? Play with the luxardo in my bar cabinet to add a highlight to a whisky sour? Use the limonata in an improved highball? What to do for this month’s MxMo?
When you have homemade limoncello, everything looks like a sour.
Then I remembered my latest cocktail craft project. Why not use my homemade limoncello as the primary component of citrus and sugar. Good enough. I also have some of my homemade gin left from the most recent batch from last month’s Mixology Monday. Gin + Limoncello is a good start, but to bring fresh citrus into this I went with ruby red grapefruit juice freshly squeezed. Finally, I needed something to really add a zing to the drink …. lemon infused white balsamic vinegar! Why not? Sours for quite a while had a red wine float on top adding depth and a counterpoint from the wine’s deeper flavor. Balsamic Vinegar is just aged grape must.
I made my rough draft of the drink and was pleased, but detected a touch more bitter than I wanted. Admittedly, this batch of my limoncello had a slightly more pronounced bitter component so that was probably to blame. My wife took a taste and said it was good and tasted like something I would like. Either I have completely infected her with the love of gin, bitter, and tart flavors or I was on to something here. I grabbed the agave syrup and on this batch added just a small amount. The balance with the agave was fantastic. Tart, bracing, with that spine of bitterness pulling some of the subtle spice from the gin out. The balsamic added a clarity to the flavor, acting like salt on chocolate, to bring the sour notes to the forefront.
- 1 ounce Gin – I used homemade, but a London Dry of any sort should hold up
- .5oz Limoncello – my homemade version is close to 80 proof and more tart than sweet.
- .5oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
- .5oz Lemon infused White Balsamic Vinegar
- .25oz (or less) agave syrup
- Combine ingredients in a shaker ⅔ full of ice.
- Shake well.
- Strain into serving glass
- Garnish with grapefruit peel