Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Sours


I ordered a Whiskey Sour the first night Brian took me to Top Flor. I remember feeling like it was a confident but safe cocktail order. Of course in someways, I was right: David Woodrich has called Sours "the children of punches" meaning that they are as easy to make as they are to drink; And of course, I was wrong too, because a Whiskey Sour is basically a whiskey and water that goes down much, much too easy. Sours are trouble if you are out for the first time, at a bar, with a boy you find so handsome that you have to drink just to shutter the nerves.

A Sour is lovely if you fancy a drink and your bar or fridge is quite bare. It requires only an alcohol, sugar, some citrus, and some water. You don't even need a cocktail shaker. A jar with a resealable lid will serve just fine - and it multiplies well! The first party I ever tended bar at served a Whiskey Sour as their signature cocktail and I mixed in a pitcher.

For almost a hundred years (from 1860 to 1960) the Whiskey Sour was considered the most American of cocktails. It was and is quick and simple, without fuss or flair, and quite flexible. The only point of argument among barkeeps of a Sour may come from its name sake: the sour.

Now, I am partial to a balanced sour, without too much sweetness, but gentle enough to still taste the liquor in the citrus. Some keepers demand that a Sour bite your teeth and clench the jaw so much so that your lips pucker. Recipes vary in the use of a whole lemon, a half, or a quarter to one drink. Taste and determine what you prefer. Then make yourself a drink or make your friends some punch.


2 ounce liquor: whiskey bourbon gin

1 ounce water

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 a lemon, lime, or orange

Combine in a mason jar filled with ice. Lid and shake. Enjoy but be careful.

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