The weather may be gloomy outside here in Rainville, but it’s a good excuse as any to imagine your somewhere that has sandy white beaches, a warm breeze, and a seemingly endless blue ocean with a refreshing libation nestled gently in your hand. At least, that’s what the heck I’m picturing right now. Which, coincidentally enough, coincides perfectly with this month’s MxMo theme, Sours, which is brought to us by our juniper lovin’ Danish dame, Andrea from Gin Hound. It’s a welcome theme and change of scenery from what’s going on outside my window. Well, anyway, let’s let Andrea give us the lowdown.
“Some of the most iconic cocktails are Sours… 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.”
Well, that’s quite the range from which to scour for inspiration. But, it makes sense seeing as how “sours” have such a wide berth of structure and form. Sure, it’s for the most part the simple formula of base spirit + sugar + citrus = sour, but in reality, what constitutes the sugar and citrus (or sour) component might be more diverse and complex than one might think. There’s the classic Whiskey Sour that is the iconic poster child for the sour formula, but what of the Margarita or Sidecar? Clearly we can assume, these to are sours, simply using sweetened liqueurs as the sugar component. The mention of Daisies and Fizzes is quite interesting as well, since essential those two include spirit, sugar and “sour” with slight modifications. Collins, Fixes, Smashes and even Tiki’s are usually sours that have evolved into more complex forms of their predecessor. Indeed, a complex conundrum this can be.
Speaking of Tiki, I’ve been tinkering around with different long drinks as of late and thought to myself this would be as good as any place to start. I went to Hawaii last summer for a stint and, well, it’s full what most people would consider iconic Polynesian style drinks, though most of us cocktilian types would question their authenticity since mostly you are given overly sugary, fruity, blended smoothies more than a real Tiki. Nice thing is, I found a resurgence of the almost defunct Okolehao spirit produced by Island Distillers. Okolehao is a strong spirit distilled from the ti plant and has a very unique, flavor profile. It’s interesting stuff, kinda sweet and musky with an interesting almost rye/unaged brandy character with a tropical fruit nuance and a bit of nuttiness. It’s definitely its’ own classification, and perfect for a sour style cocktail.
I felt the uniqueness of the Okolehao would blend perfectly with a dry fino style sherry and some passion fruit and tropical citrus. The end result was a very complex and strong sour that was both refreshing and full flavored. In fact, this may very well be a true original cocktail, at least, I’d like to think so. Cheers.
1 1/2 oz Okolehao
1/2 oz Fino Sherry
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz Unsweetened Pineapple juice
1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
8 to 10 drops Bittermans Elemakule Tiki Bitters
1 Egg White
Garnish with a half lime shell or whatever tropical fruit you wish.
Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin without ice, dry shake hard for 10 seconds. Add ice, shake hard again for another 10 seconds. Fine strain into a double rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish and Enjoy.
Color: Cloudy pale yellow and green hues
Flavor: Complex and strong with passion fruit, spiced clove, ti root, brandy notes, pineapple and tart lime