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Sour


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#1 lostmyshape

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 02:05 PM

i was just reading the thread on "Which glass?" which concerned sours (the drink) and it got me thinking about sour, the flavor. i'm trying to get better at inventing my own drinks or doing variations on drinks. it seems that my only options for sour are lemon and lime. am i limiting myself here? is there something other than citrus that can bring sour to my drinks? a sour liqueur?

and how about sours, the drink? trying to get the definition of a sour from slkinsey's post in the "Which glass" thread:

I think it very much depends on the Sour.  Or perhaps it depends on what we are calling a Sour.  In its most basic form, a Sour is simply base spirit, citrus juice and sugar.  When we start branching out by using a liqueur in place of the sugar as a sweetener, I think it becomes more than "just" a Sour.  Thus, for example, Gary Regan's classification of the formula base spirit, citrus juice and Cointreau as a "New Orleans Sour" and so on.


so, can we call anything with citrus a sour? what about an aviation? a type of sour? would adding egg to an aviation be a good idea or bad idea?

i think i need to get the joy of mixology and do some studying.

noah

#2 mbanu

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 04:11 PM

so, can we call anything with citrus a sour?  what about an aviation?  a type of sour?  would adding egg to an aviation be a good idea or bad idea?

i think i need to get the joy of mixology and do some studying.

noah

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This can be tricky sometimes. There are some drinks that are called Sours that aren't technically Sours, kind of like how the Singapore Sling is called a Sling while not technically being a true Sling. Here are some possible common principles for a proper Sour:

* Sours are short drinks (ie of cocktail size and strength)

* A sour is constructed around one or a combination of dry base spirits, such as bourbon, or rum & brandy. This base should be the main alcoholic component of the drink. A few dashes of Angostura or Pernod are also acceptable, as long as their keep their place as accents in the drink.

* Sours contain a nonalcoholic souring agent (usually lemon or lime juice, but any sufficiently sour liquid will do), and a nonalcoholic sweetening agent (sky's the limit here, anything from plain sugar syrup to grenadine to orgeat to maple syrup). Barring that, a larger quantity of one nonalcoholic sweet & sour mixer can take the place of the individual sweet and sour ingredients (such as Rose's sweetened lime juice in the Gimlet)

* A sour contains no liqueurs, unless used as an accent. Liqueur Sours which replace the nonalcoholic sweetening agent with a sweetened liqueur could be considered Sours, I suppose, but are rarely called such, and in my mind are a different category of drink.

Here are some examples of Sours, if it helps in understanding the category.

Whiskey Sour

2 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice

Shake and strain.

Daiquiri

2 ounces rum
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce lime juice

Shake and strain.

Jack Rose

2 ounces applejack
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce lemon juice

Shake and strain.

Gimlet

2 ounces gin
1 ounce Rose's sweetened lime juice

Shake and strain.

Substituting egg white or orange juice or some other mostly neutral filler for a portion of the souring agent or the sweetening agent to lighten their strength is a common use. Take the Gin & Sin, a Sour in which a portion of the lemon juice has been switched out for orange to make a less tart cocktail.

Gin & Sin

2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce orange juice

Shake and strain.

As long as the base principles are observed, you can really start getting complex. For instance, here is a Sour I pulled from CocktailDB known as a "Natural". (I adjusted the proportions slightly, but the recipe is essentially the same)

Natural Cocktail

1 ounce rum
1 ounce brandy
1/4 ounce orgeat
1/4 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce lemon juice

Shake and strain.

Although it has more ingredients, all the ingredients still fall into the main categories. The rum and brandy are the base spirit. The orgeat and grenadine combine to form the nonalcoholic sweetener, and the lemon juice takes the role of the nonalcoholic sourer.

Edited by mbanu, 19 October 2005 - 04:34 PM.


#3 cdh

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 04:49 PM

Think tamarind. It is as sour as citrus, but nicely different. And it goes quite well with dark spirits. Just make sure to strain it first, otherwise you might get unsightly fibers in your drink.

I've a had fine tamarind margarita, which is indisputably a paragon of the sour drink class.

Edited by cdh, 19 October 2005 - 04:50 PM.

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#4 eje

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 09:10 PM

Think tamarind.

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Not to mention my other favorite agua fresca ingredient, Jamaica (Rosella, Roselle, Jamaica Sorrel, Hibiscus, karkadé...)!

If that's not sour, nothing is!

I've been meaning to get some and experiment with mixed drinks.

-Erik
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#5 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 04:23 AM

what about passionfruit?

1 1/2 shots Raisin-infused Makers Mark
1 shot Passionfruit Puree
1/2 shot Vanilla Syrup

Shake with ice, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


what about grapefruit?

Wibble created by Dick Bradsell

1 shot Plymouth Gin
1 shot Plymouth Sloe Gin
1 shot Grapefruit Juice
1/4 shot Fresh lemon Juice
1/4 shot creme de mure (blackberry liqueur)
1/4 shot Gomme Syrup

Shake with ice, and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Lemon Twist.

Cheers!

George

#6 dsoneil

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 05:38 AM

In the next issue of Mixology: The Journal of the American Cocktail, I have written an indepth article about sweet and sour. One area I discuss is how wine is a perfect example of a balanced sweet and sour drink. Using wine as the template for a cocktail, I mixed up new cocktail to better explain how sweet and sour balance each other out. This drink tastes like wine, cheap wine, but it's an interesting lesson in cocktail making.

Plonk Cocktail
2 oz (60 ml) White Grape Juice
1.25 oz (35 ml) Pisco / Grappa / Vodka
0.25 oz (7.5 ml) Vermouth (White)
0.5 oz (15 ml) Acid Blend Solution*

Shake with ice and strain into a wine glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Your local wine making store can supply you with the powdered wine acids needed to make this drink. You can make acid blend by dissolving 1 tablespoon (roughly 12 grams) of acid blend powder or tartaric acid into 1/2 cup (120 ml) of warm water. This will give your cocktail the proper amount of acidity to balance out the sweetness.

The future article goes into more scientific detail about using lemon and limes and how the acids balance out with sugar to make great cocktails. Also, the alcohol strength of the drink plays a part in how sweet and sour are precieved. Drinks in general, tolerate acidity better when the alcohol content is higher.
[size="3"]Darcy S. O'Neil[/size]
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#7 lostmyshape

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 09:45 AM

mbanu, thanks for the clarification. makes a lot of sense. so a "sour" is a base alcohol, nonalcoholic sweetener and a nonalcoholic sourer... are there any alcoholic sourers?

wanted to try a pisco sour last night, but the lousy PA liquor store doesn't carry pisco. so i checked out the brandies and bought a brandy de jerez, instead, because it looked interesting and the price was right. i haven't really explored brandies before and really enjoy this one. anyway, i tried a sour with the brandy and really enjoyed it. used an egg and thought it was a nice touch.

i dropped a bit of angastura bitters on top and my favorite part of the drink was how the spicyness of the bitters mingled with the sour flavors. might have to try it with a teaspoon of benedictine.

definately going to try the suggestions for other sour fruits.

and darcy, i'll have to check out the next issue of Mixology, but i'm not sure i'll be trying the Plonk. had enough cheap wine to last 2 lifetimes. but, would something like powdered wine acids come in handy in making cocktails?

#8 mbanu

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 01:34 PM

wanted to try a pisco sour last night, but the lousy PA liquor store doesn't carry pisco.  so i checked out the brandies and bought a brandy de jerez, instead, because it looked interesting and the price was right.  i haven't really explored brandies before and really enjoy this one.  anyway, i tried a sour with the brandy and really enjoyed it.  used an egg and thought it was a nice touch. 

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Egg cocktails are fun when one is feeling particularly old-fashioned. Here's one I enjoy on occasion, if you're looking to get rid of the rest of the carton. :) Not sure what it's called...

1.5 ounces brandy
1.5 ounces Grand Marnier
1 medium egg
A few dashes of bitters

Shake and strain, grate a little nutmeg on top and serve.

*Edit:

I've found these approximations helpful when using eggs in cocktails.

1 medium egg = 1.5 ounces (1 ounce egg white, 1/2 ounce egg yolk)
1 extra large egg = 2 ounces (1 1/4 ounces egg white, 3/4 ounce egg yolk)

Edited by mbanu, 20 October 2005 - 02:22 PM.


#9 dsoneil

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 04:43 PM

and darcy, i'll have to check out the next issue of Mixology, but i'm not sure i'll be trying the Plonk.  had enough cheap wine to last 2 lifetimes.  but, would something like powdered wine acids come in handy in making cocktails?

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I suppose you could use the powdered acids as ingredient. I use a small amount of citric and malic acid in "sweet and sour mix", gives it a little more bite with a crisp, clean finish. However, I only do that when I need to make a large amount for a party or such. Saves a little on juicing too (i.e. you don't need as many lemons or limes). If you use powdered acids, I highly recommend adding the zest from the fruit to get the essential oils, creates a better flavour.

For most drinks though, I just use simple syrup and fresh fruit juice for sour's.
[size="3"]Darcy S. O'Neil[/size]
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Website: Art of Drink
Book: Fix the Pumps

#10 eje

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 11:52 AM

Picked up some Jamaica blossoms last night at a local hispanic market and made a strong Jamaica "tea" by combining 1 cup of rinsed blossoms with 3 cups of water and steeping for 2 hours. Strained and squeezed through cheeseclost. Added about a cup of sugar and stirred to dissolve.

Definitely more intensely colored and flavored than the agua fresca I've had in restaurants. I'll have to post a picture, because, man, if you are looking for a "blood substitute" for halloween, this is the stuff! Also, non-reactive stainless and glass containers and cooking vessels only, unless you want a lovely red hue.

In any case, I am hoping to give it a try with tequila and/or rum in a sour tonight.

One interesting thing I noticed when I was stirring in the sugar was a tendency to rather easily form persistent bubbles. I was hoping this might be the case, since Jamaica (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is in the same family as "Marsh Mallow". I might be able to skip the egg and still get a nice foam.

-Erik
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#11 slkinsey

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 01:30 PM

Erik, I assume that the "Jamaica flowers" of which you write are the same thing that is more commonly called (by Jamaicans anyway) "sorrel?"
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#12 eje

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 02:20 PM

Erik, I assume that the "Jamaica flowers" of which you write are the same thing that is more commonly called (by Jamaicans anyway) "sorrel?"

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Well, I guess it depends who you talk to! The dried flowers of this particular hibiscus are called by several names in various cultures. In Mexico, and more commonly to me, it is typically called "(Flor de) Jamaica" (ha-my-kah). Another common name is "Roselle". The plant also has various medicinal and culinary uses in the Middle East and Africa. Not sure what it is called there.

Click here for more information than you probably need.

-Erik

PS. According to the website above, in "North Africa and the Near East" it is called, "karkadé or carcadé".

added note.

Edited by eje, 21 October 2005 - 05:09 PM.

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Erik Ellestad
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Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#13 Rob Simmon

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 04:31 PM

I think lemon and lime (and possibly grapefruit) are required for a sour. It's my understanding that other ingredients aren't even close in acidity (although I'd love to see a list of the pH of ingredients). I've played with raspberries and pomegranate, and neither is sour enough (which explains why raspberry syrup and grenadine ended up as sweeteners).

I'd love to try experimenting with malic acid, but suspect it would impart an artificial flavor. Maybe pureed crabapples?

#14 eje

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 11:18 AM

As hoped, the Jamaica (sorrel, karkarde, etc.) liquid thickened (coagulated!) slightly overnight and when shaken vigorously with ice formed a 1/4 inch thick froth of tiny pink bubbles which floated attractively atop the blood red cocktail.

However, with just 1.5 oz silver tequila, a bit of sweetener, and 1 oz of Jamaica liquid, the drink was a bit single noted. I think the juice of half a lime is in order for a truly delicious and sour cocktail.

-Erik
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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#15 slkinsey

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 04:40 PM

Erik, have you considered infusing the Jamaica into booze instead of adding it to the drink as a nonalcoholic component?
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#16 eje

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Posted 22 October 2005 - 05:11 PM

Erik, have you considered infusing the Jamaica into booze instead of adding it to the drink as a nonalcoholic component?

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Sam,

All the agua fresca or liquado recipes I've seen, call for the dried "flowers" to be simmered briefly in water and then steeped for a couple hours (or overnight). Without heat, I don't think you would get very good expression of the color or flavor. Maybe if you could get the flowers fresh?

Not sour related;but, new to me, click here for the most cohenent and pop up free of several recipes I ran across for a Jamaican Sorrel Punch that looked pretty darn tasty. Might have to get some Wray & Nephews to go in it...

-Erik
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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#17 eje

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 06:37 PM

Reformulated Jamaica Sour:

1 oz. Jamaica Tea (1 cup Jamaica flowers steeped in 3 cups water, strained and cooled)
1/2 tsp. sugar syrup
1.5 oz Blanco Tequila (Herradura is my current fave)
Juice of 1/2 lime

Combine in an iced cocktail shaker and shake, shake, shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Posted Image

My wife's current suggestions for the drink's name are either the Chupacabra or the IV.

:laugh:

Edited by eje, 26 October 2005 - 06:44 PM.

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Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#18 slkinsey

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 08:26 PM

Awesome foam, dude!
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#19 lostmyshape

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 09:26 AM

very attractive cocktail... i say go with "the chupacabra." how does it taste?

Edited by lostmyshape, 28 October 2005 - 09:26 AM.


#20 eje

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 11:06 AM

very attractive cocktail... i say go with "the chupacabra."  how does it taste?

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My wife and I really like it. The lime brightens up the cocktail and brings another layer of flavor that it needed. Hopefully, I will try it out on some other "victims" in the near future.

I also tried it with a white rhum agricole, and found I preferred the tequila.

The gelatinous texture of the jamaica tea really does come very close to approximating the mouth feel that egg white usually brings to a sour. Plus, it's vegetarian. Of course it is pretty dark red...

The Jamaica tea (Hibiscus, Karakade, Sorrel...) part has a similar sweet/tart flavor to other dried fruit like rose hips and tamarind. It has a darker and very "red" flavor, not overly fruity; but, closer to cherry than either rose hips or tamarind. To me there is also something smoky and very earthy in there.

I did find a few recipes for "Jamaica Sour". Rum, grenadine, and lime usually. While I'm sure they have grenadine in Jamaica, I don't imagine there are many pomegranate trees in Jamaica. I wonder if grenadine was a European or American substitution for what I'm calling Jamaica tea or Jamaican Sorrel Punch?

unhappy with flavor description.

Edited by eje, 28 October 2005 - 12:11 PM.

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#21 mbanu

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 10:30 AM

mbanu, thanks for the clarification.  makes a lot of sense.  so a "sour" is a base alcohol, nonalcoholic sweetener and a nonalcoholic sourer...  are there any alcoholic sourers?

and darcy, i'll have to check out the next issue of Mixology, but i'm not sure i'll be trying the Plonk.  had enough cheap wine to last 2 lifetimes.  but, would something like powdered wine acids come in handy in making cocktails?

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The Pucker liqueurs are alcoholic sourers. Technically they've been sweetened a bit, so I guess technically they're sweet-and-sour, but they're an example. :)

I'm not usually a fan of powdered acid blends. Too close to being cheap sour mix.