Over the last few years we’ve seen a genuine interest and resurgence in classic cocktail categories from martinis to flips, fizzes and back again! The category de jour seems to be the sour, which in itself is one of the oldest ‘families’ and includes the likes of the Margarita, Daiquiri and the Sidecar. As with many of the great classic styles it is built up on the 3 pillars of spirit, citrus (traditionally lemon) and sweetener (sugar syrup, triple sec, grenadine). The earliest printed reference of the classic sour cocktail can be found in Jerry Thomas’ The Bartenders Guide dating back to 1862. This recipe is using whiskey, however variations of this were being drunk for many many years before and will have most probably seen whiskey being substituted by gin and brandy by the English. Here’s that original Jerry Thomas recipe:
Use small bar-glass
Take 1 large tea-spoonful of powdered white sugar dissolved in a little Seltzer or Apollinaris water
The juice of half a small lemon
1 wine-glass of Bourbon or rye whiskey
Fill the glass full of shaved ice, shake up and strain into a claret glass. Ornament with berries.
As you can see this original did not call for egg white, which in the present day is the most common way to serve any sour. The addition of the egg white came much later on in the form of the Pisco Sour from Peru. This variation of this classic cocktail is sold in incredible numbers at places like Ceviche, Coya and Chotto Matte in London as well as numerous other bars and restaurants across Europe and the rest of the world. Created in Lima, Peru in the early 1920’s by Victor Vaughen Morris at his namesake Morris Bar, this was a popular spot for the Peruvian upper class and English speaking foreigners. At this point there is still no evidence of the infamous egg white but we finally get to thank Mario Bruiget for adding this and also a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Mario also worked at Morris bar and what we would now consider to be the modern day sour recipe was finally born towards the end of the 1920’s.
Fast forward to present day and the addition of egg white to any drink can sometimes be a concern for bar operators and consumers alike, if the eggs are not stored correctly there is a real danger of salmonella. To help solve this problem Giffard recently released Egg White Sugar Syrup, which is certainly a fantastic alternative for these customers and venues who may have issues with fresh egg white (see below for a classic Pisco Sour recipe including Giffard Egg White Syrup).
With there being a lot of love around the globe for so many timeless cocktails we are seeing the classic sour along with some incredible twists and variations appearing on more and more drinks lists. This can only be a good thing as when made well this is one of the best cocktails you will ever have! The perfect balance of the sweet and sour complimented by a premium spirit (you can’t go wrong with Pisco, whisky or gin) and all rounded off with the beautiful velvety texture of the egg white makes for one tasty libation and deserves its place as one of the best classic cocktails of all time.
30ml Giffard Egg White
20ml Fresh Lemon juice
dash Angostura bitters
Hard shake first 3 ingredients with ice for at least 45 seconds and strain into glass. Add a dash bitters to the top of the drink.