Mixology Monday time again! And not a moment too soon. We were getting a bit one-dimensional with our cocktails here at the farm (playing with Old Fashioned variants mostly), so it is always good to get the creative juices flowing (pouring?). Here is the theme from the excellent Ginhound Blog (they took the name before we could):
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.
Ah, sours, one of our favorite types of cocktail. And just like last month’s theme of Highballs, it is a good reminder that there are only a few “families” of basic cocktails and that most creations are just riffs on a common core. So with this in mind, we got to work.
The cool thing about a sour is the basic construct is so easy: spirits, sour and sweet. The hard thing is making them all play nice together. Too much of any ingredient can make a sour into a mess. And while we are not big fans of the term “balanced”, it is the right term for a good sour. The sour brightens your palate, the spirits give some kick and the sweet smooths the flavor. Alchemy.
Now we just needed some inspiration. In our case, since some of the crew are in Kauai (with a much smaller bar to work with), we chose to use local ingredients as our core. And in Hawaii that means sugar and pineapple, at one time both were the primary crops of the islands. We also have a bounty of local citrus (Tahitian and Calamondin limes) and local rum, Koloa from here in Kauai (good stuff). We also got some local coconut flavored sugar…hmmm. Time to make a local daiquiri variant….that may delve into the realm of tiki. But both daiquiris and tiki drinks tend to be sours, so when in Kauai……
The Hanalei Sour combines fresh muddled pineapple, lime juice, coconut sugar (or just superfine sugar), Koloa Gold Rum and Tiki Bitters (Angostura in a pinch). We also garnish with fresh pineapple, lime, rim the glass with the coconut sugar (vanilla sugar would also do well here) and add some bitters to the foam on top of the drink. Is this really a sour? Or more tiki? Not sure. But we are sure it tastes good.
One last note, we go very light on sugar. The drink is tart, but when you rim the glass with sugar you get a new layer of sweet. Just when you think the drink may be too tart, the extra sugar kicks in. Worth a try with any of your favorite sours….
The Hanalei Sour:
- 2 oz. Gold Rum (Koloa)
- 3 or 4 large chunks of pineapple (or 3/4 oz. pineapple juice)
- 3/4 oz. lime juice
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (or superfine sugar), plus more for garnish
- 4 dashes Bittermens’s Tiki bitters (sub Angostura)
- Lime wheel, for garnish
- Pineapple wedge, for garnish
- Rub the rim of a cocktail glass or coupé with a line wedge and rim the glass with the sugar.
- Place pineapple pieces (or juice) and sugar into a cocktail shaker and muddle thoroughly. Add ice, rum, lime juice and 2 dashes of bitters. Shake until well chilled and strain into the glass.
- Garnish the rimmed glass with the lime wheel and pineapple wedge. Gently add 2 more dashes of bitters to the foam on top of the cocktail. Serve.