Sipping Sours

All this recession business has me in a bit of a sour mood. And you know what they say: when life gives you lemons, make a whiskey sour! Or a pisco, midori or rum sour, as the case may be.

Winter is the perfect time to delve into this citrus-friendly group of cocktails, with the abundant availability AND relative affordability of oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit in your grocery store. Let’s start with the classic.

The whiskey sour has become a tried and true winter favorite in Miss M’s household. Ina Garten provides a great basic recipe in her book, Barefoot Contessa at Home. This is apparently her favorite cocktail to offer guests (she likes to serve it along side a green herb dip, a recipe that I’ll be trying out on some friends to accompany my tonic tasting this weekend – more on that later!). I like this version because it relies on both lemon and lime juice. In a pinch, I’ve subbed some organic, bottled lime juice for the fresh when I was lacking limes and loving laziness.

Barefoot Contessa’s Fresh Whiskey Sourbarefootcontessa
Serves 4

• 3/4 cup whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey)
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
• 2/3 cup sugar syrup
• Ice cubes
• Maraschino cherries

Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice, and syrup. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and pour in the drink mix 2/3 full. Shake for 15 seconds and pour into glasses. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.

My proclivity for whiskey sours goes a long way back. In fact, we used to make big batches for tailgates in college, using cheap bourbon and frozen lemonade concentrate with delightful results. Still, I’m ready to branch out from this traditional choice. The Meyer Lemon Sour has me the most excited. According to my Food Lover’s Companion, the Meyer lemon could best be described as a cross between an orange and a lemon. Our food history lesson for the day tells us that the Meyer lemon is “named after F.N. Meyer who in 1908 imported it into the United States from China, where it’s been grown for centuries.” They’re characterized by a sweeter and less acidic juice than regular lemons. If I can’t put my hands on some Meyer lemons, I’m thinking a 50/50 mix of lemons and oranges might do the trick nicely. I found this recipe over on the Food Network, where it’s attributed to Mr. Bobby Flay.

Meyer Lemon Sour
Serves 6

• 12 ounces whiskey (recommended: Jim Beam)
• 9 ounces Meyer Lemon Sweet and Sour Mix, recipe follows
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 6 slices Meyer lemon
• 6 maraschino cherries

Shake the first 3 ingredients vigorously in a cocktail shaker or in a large container with a lid. Pour into glasses over ice. Garnish with slices of Meyer lemon and maraschino cherries.

Meyer Lemon Sweet and Sour Mix
4 cups Meyer lemon juice
1 cup simple syrup
2 egg whites
Pinch salt

Combine all the ingredients.

A brief bit of Internet research quickly expanded my limited sour knowledge. Apparently the sour category applies to any drink that combines liquor, lemon or lime juice and a sweetener. So it doesn’t have to actually have the word sour in its title—margaritas and sidecars also belong to this family. Why not add a sour to your winter cocktail family today?!

Posted by Miss Mojito

7 responses to “Sipping Sours

  1. Miss M,
    I had forgotten about whiskey sours! Which is surprising because I love all things citrus. And, they are so easy to make. I believe I’ve got some rye whiskey at home, so….

  2. This is awesome. I always associated whiskey sours and such with that awful cloying mix people will use. I love having a recipe with fresh ingredients. Thanks!

  3. you mention a rum sour… i’m not as much a whiskey drinker (but those rare nights that i am, watch out….), but i do love my rum. does this recipe translate well??

  4. I do not make whiskey sours much, but I love everything Ina so I will have to give these a try!

  5. While I love the idea I don’t think I will ever be able to have one again. Bad experience drinking them out of a water bottle in college. That sweet smell the next day just did me in. Oh wait that was an Amaretto Sour – those I can’t do. Maybe without the Amaretto these would be ok.

  6. I would love a cocktail that has the juice from the maraschino cherries as an ingredient- so good!

  7. I haven’t tried making the rum sour myself, but I did some reading up on it and it sounds pretty tasty. This recipe sounds the most interesting to me – I like the idea of a splash of dark rum to spice things up:
    Combine 1 1/2 ounces light rum, 3/4 ounces lime juice and 1/2 ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Serve over ice with a splash of dark rum and a maraschino cherry.

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