Sunday, March 27, 2011

Exhibit #57: Seminar in Sour pt. II

Even many unversed in booze history know that the sour, particularly its whiskey manifestation, has been a workhorse of American drinking for more than a century – a century and a half, in fact. Tonight we look at some of the stranger sours that were current at the end of the 19th century, when standard practice was to serve them up, in a specialty glass. Similarly, our liquor pours tonight are 2 ounces, in keeping with that time. Although the drink category is a broad and enduring one, the Sour’s flirtation with odd ingredients and flourishes was short-lived, with new drinks of this type falling back into the cocktail orbit in following years. This stands very much in contrast to the Fizz, the second most-enduring of the old drink paradigms, which continued to spawn variations – and lots of them – for many years.

Blackthorn Sour $8
Sloe gin, lemon juice, homemade pineapple syrup, and a little apricot liqueur, up.

Delicious Sour $10
Applejack, peach flavored brandy, lime juice, a little sugar, egg white, up with a splash of soda. Consider this one a double. It may also be shared and split into two glasses on request. Although egg white became a traditional feature of a Sour in Europe (and thereby, South America…hello Pisco Sour), and even here for a brief spell following Repeal, Sours featuring egg white are not common.

Dizzy Sour $9
Mellow, old rye whiskey, lemon juice, syrup, and a little Benedictine with a Jamaica rum float. This one is practically a double as well.

Egg Sour $8
Cognac, orange curacao, lemon juice, syrup, a whole egg, up. Goes down easy, as many egg drinks do.

Fancy Sour $6.50
Dolin rouge vermouth, Luxardo maraschino, lemon juice, and dashes of Angostura and orange bitters, up. Here we see exactly how these somewhat baroque sours began to seem more like cocktails to many barmen – the base spirit here is an aperitif rather than liquor, and you’ve got a cordial replacing sugar, and then some bitters, too? That’s a long way from booze / lemon / sugar, and makes more sense as a cocktail. This drink makes for a good nightcap since it is significantly less vigorous booze-wise than the others on tonight’s list.

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