Sour mixed drink recommendations.
July 5, 2006 3:14 AM   Subscribe

Sour/bitter mixed alcoholic drink recommendations.

I'm looking for sour mixed drinks to enjoy.

I like my alcohol to taste like alcohol. I enjoy stouts, ales and lager and when I want something with a bit more kick, I enjoy (good, old, single malt) whisky.

However, I know veritably nothing about mixed drinks and want to expand my repertoire (and take advantage of more of the shiny bottles behind the bartender). The only mixed drinks I have enjoyed have been gin & tonic, vodka martinis and screwdrivers. The latter being just about borderline too 'sweet' for me (depending on the quality of the orange juice used). I can drink Fruitburst Whateveritas, but I don't really enjoy it.

So, hivemind, please help me find mixed beverages that satiate my desire for 'oomph' in drinks. I apologise for the vagueness of the question, as I don't really know what 'base' alcohol is good to use for what I desire (otherwise I would've used one of the online databases...)

I'll drink anything once or twice.
posted by slimepuppy to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
find a spirit called 'sourpuss'.

they have about 4 or 5 different flavours.
posted by psyward at 3:18 AM on July 5, 2006

Try a whiskey sour - they are lovely.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:29 AM on July 5, 2006

If you like gin and tonic, and you like a less-sweet screwdriver, then you should try a Tom Collins, which is gin and lemon juice.

I'll warn you, though, that they're not a reliable bar drink, since a lot of places will just make them with sour mix. It may take some looking to find a place that'll make a real one in your area.

You say you've liked vodka martinis — have you tried a gin martini? Definitely more "oomph" there.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:14 AM on July 5, 2006

greyhound - grapefruit juice & vodka
salty dog - a greyhound with a salted rim.
bulldog - grapefruit juice & gin (w/salted rim)
highball - bourbon & soda water.

Look through ExtraTasty, you'll find lots of inspiration.
posted by sluggo at 4:22 AM on July 5, 2006

Yeah, you'll probably like a whisky sour. My simple recipe goes like this:

Put whisky and lemon juice (I like a 2:1 ratio) into a shaker filled with ice, add a small amount of sugar.
Drain into a glass, top up with soda water. Cheers!
posted by blag at 4:47 AM on July 5, 2006

I nominate the Pisco Sour as your new signature drink. However, you'll be wise to only drink this at home, as few bars will carry pisco (but any good liquor store will) and even fewer will serve you anything made with raw egg. A good pisco sour is divine, and something about the egg whites helps prevent hangovers.

Pour the following over ice in a shaker, shake into a brothy cool misxture, and strain into a glass.

* 2 ounces Pisco
* 1 ounce Lemon Juice
* 1/4 ounce Simple Syrup (or a teaspoon of powdered
sugar and a dash of seltzer)
* 1/2 Egg White
* 1 dash Angostura Bitters.
posted by mds35 at 5:33 AM on July 5, 2006

My candidate for the Worst. Web. Site. Evah. belongs, unequivocally, to the fine folks who purvey Angostura Bitters, a unique herbal flavoring agent that is a key ingredient in a number of drinks. There are various other well known bitters, all of which are generally flavoring agents made by infusing herbs or spices with grain alcohol, and diluting.

One of my favorite summertime drinks is Campari and soda, over ice. In the summer, I also enjoy Dry Rob Roys, and always make mine with a drop of Angostura, although many people restrict the addition of bitters to the traditional Rob Roy made with sweet vermouth, and tend to use 2-4 drops of bitters in these.
posted by paulsc at 5:36 AM on July 5, 2006

Yeesh. That IS a terrible website, but that 1824 rum is amazing if you can find it.
posted by mds35 at 5:39 AM on July 5, 2006

You might want to try my new summer favorite: Orange Vodka & soda with 2 drops of bitters. Got me through the holiday weekend.
posted by rhymesinister at 6:22 AM on July 5, 2006

I second mds35 on the Pisco front. I would say that the Angostura is distinctly optional, and it's very drinkable without the egg white too.
posted by edd at 6:32 AM on July 5, 2006

edd blasphemes but he is correct, about the egg if not about the bitters (not optional, IMHO). Most sour mixes have emulsifiers or food-grade plastics which mimic the consistency of egg white, but without the protein benefits.
posted by mds35 at 6:43 AM on July 5, 2006

Response by poster: Really excellent suggestions so far.

Definitely gonna hit the whisky sour (though I feel kinda bad for mixing my whisky with something that isn't, well, more whisky). Does the whisky need to be any particular brand? I'd imagine that they'd probably use Jim Beam/Jack Daniel's here in the UK. Tom Collins and Greyhound (and a lemony version of the same thing I found at ExtraTasty) are also on the definite trial list. I think I have had campari and orange juice at some point. This was years ago, however. Think it was too sour back then. Now I might like the stuff...

The Pisco and/or Angostura sounds exotic and brilliant. Already found a place online that delivers both. Sounds like bitters is something I should've had in my bar cabinet for ages.

Great stuff. Keep the suggestions coming.

Now I need to find a nice place in central London where I can go and get wrecked do research into this topic.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:51 AM on July 5, 2006

An Old Fashioned is basically whiskey with some bitters and a little sugar; you should be able to get this made tolerably in a bar.

Mint Juleps are great in the summer; I like to make these at home so I can control the sugar quantity and also add about three times the mint indicated in this recipe.

The Sidecar consists of brandy, triple sec, and lemon juice; wars have started over the ratios so I won't try to influence you here; start with equal parts of each and adjust to your taste. Careful ordering these in bars; they'll often be way too sugary and then also get served with a sugared rim.

Drinks in bars tend to be over-sugared, in my opinion, because most people out in bars these days want either beer or sweet, sugary, easy-to-swill crap that doesn't taste like alcohol (rah rah rah get off my lawn you damn Red Bull-drinking kids). Know your cocktails, make friends with your bartender and then you can politely ask for adjustments to get the strong, sour, delicious drinks of your choice!
posted by hilatron at 6:59 AM on July 5, 2006

mmmm.... amaretto sour
posted by nimsey lou at 7:00 AM on July 5, 2006

re: whiskey sours, I just want to point out that although in name it combines your fave drink and a flavor you're seeking, a whiskey sour is generally kind of a foo-foo drink - usually comes with a cherry in it and I think sugar is mixed in somehow. My friend who hates the taste of alcohol always orders whiskey sours. Think "sour" like sour-patch kids.

Personally, I love a good bloody mary, or a tart cosmopolitan (more lime juice).
A place that does cocktails well can also make something that sounds quite simple or too-sweet into an excellent drink (eg, I had an amazing apricot martini recently) - if the fruit juice is fresh and used sparingly it can really bring out the taste of the liquor rather than cover it up, whereas a badly made cocktail is just trying to mask cheap alcohol and hence is pretty uninteresting...
posted by mdn at 7:09 AM on July 5, 2006

Amaretto Sour, though if I remember correctly they contain little alcohol compared to the martini-based mixed drinks. Even so, give it a shot. I usually like my scotch or vodka on the rocks and even I will drink the little Amaretto Sour.
posted by geoff. at 7:15 AM on July 5, 2006

Kokopelli Pink Margarita

1 part Jose Cuervo
3 parts Jose Curevo margarita mix
9 ice cubes (reverse osmosis filter, please)
2 fresh strawberries
1 lime wedge
kosher salt

Add tequila and mix so that it comes up to almost
over, but not quite, the level of the ice. Toss in a strawberry and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix well in a blender (about 45 seconds to 2 minutes). Run a lime wedge around the rim of a glass, dip rim in kosher salt, then pour a generous tot of margarita into glass. garnish with lime wedge and sliced strawberry.

Raise glass to the North and whisper Kokapelli's name
three times. Cheers!
posted by valkane at 7:32 AM on July 5, 2006

The original daiquiri recipe is pretty potent and sour: 2 oz. white rum, 1/2-3/4 oz. or so lime juice, 1/4-1/2 oz. simple syrup. Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass, or serve on the rocks if you prefer. Alter the proportions of sugar and lime juice according to taste.

Oh, and paulsc, thanks for that link. What an awful site!
posted by brianogilvie at 7:36 AM on July 5, 2006

I'm all about Southern Comfort with lime juice, on the rocks.
posted by hermitosis at 7:48 AM on July 5, 2006

Re: whiskey sours...
My experience seconds mdn's comments - the "sour" in whiskey sours (and amaretto sours) is actually usually sweetness of the extremely overpowering variety, and the only people I know who drink them are usually people who hate the taste of real drinks. As someone who actually likes the taste of alcohol, I would recommend that you steer clear of anything that contains this much sugar syrup.

Instead, try whiskey & soda water (or whiskey and regular water) with a dash of lemon or lime. I prefer bourbon, but go ahead and use those fancy "e"-less whiskies if you want. This is my standard, go-to drink all year round.

For more summery and sour, go with a real margarita (extra heavy on the lime juice, really easy on the sugary orangeness), or a tequilla sunrise (tequilla + cranberry & orange juices), or a lime rickey (gin + lime juice + lime), or a bombay breeze (gin + lime, grapefruit and cranberry juices).

I have an ancient book of drink recipes (1930s vintage) that has lots and lots of options - but it's pretty light on the more exotic drinks (Vodka was a recent discovery, and tequilla was years away) - I think it's called "The How and the When" or something - but I would recommend any similar volume for your bar.
posted by sluggo at 7:51 AM on July 5, 2006

You might also enjoy a Pimm's cup. Pimm's No. 1 is essentially a gin-based bitters.
posted by mds35 at 7:52 AM on July 5, 2006

Since you're in London, you can probably find Stone's Ginger Wine pretty easily. Like Pimm's, it's lighter than most liquors, but it goes well with seltzer or 7-up.
posted by mds35 at 7:58 AM on July 5, 2006

I'm surprised no one has recommended the Manhattan:

2 oz whisky (blended or bourbon work nicely)
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth
splash of bitters.

If you REALLY don't have a sweet tooth (like me), then get a Manhattan Perfect, which is 1 oz dry vermouth and no sweet. Be warned, though- this drink is reddish, so people might question your manhood (assuming, of course, that you're a man) until you offer them a sip.
posted by JMOZ at 8:12 AM on July 5, 2006

I'm just going to second the greyhound suggestion, because it's pretty much all I drink. The grapefruit juice is a nice clean, slightly sour taste, but I've had a greyhound made with some sort of pinkish sweetened grapefruit juice, and it was one of the most disgusting things ever.
posted by booknerd at 8:22 AM on July 5, 2006

If you like single malt, you might enjoy a high quality tequila on the rocks (one of my all time favorite things to drink). A local restaurant also makes a tasty sake-tini, which is vodka with a splash of sake, garnished with pickled ginger (shake and serve in a martini glass). Mmmmmmm...
posted by robinpME at 8:29 AM on July 5, 2006

If you REALLY don't have a sweet tooth (like me), then get a Manhattan Perfect, which is 1 oz dry vermouth and no sweet.

Mais non, the Perfect is half-and-half, while the regular old Manhattan is generally made with all sweet.
posted by redfoxtail at 8:44 AM on July 5, 2006

Don't do Tequila Sunrise, you'll find it too sweet.

Brian Ogilvie, do you watch Good Eats? There was an episode the other night where Alton mixed drinks and one was a "real" daiquiri.
posted by radioamy at 8:59 AM on July 5, 2006

What could be more sour than some good tequila and the juice of fresh limes over ice in a glass with a salted rim? While consuming this concoction (versus the sugary nastiness they serve in restaurants as margaritas), you cannot mistake the fact that it's going to fuck you up. It has a bracing, boozy sourness that makes plain its purpose.

Make 'em at home, so you know what they taste like. This way, if you go to a bar and some fool puts a nasty fruit liqueur, or sour mix or some other abomination in there, you'll know of their betrayal.
posted by popechunk at 9:22 AM on July 5, 2006

Don't forget the gimlet, which is essentially gin and lime juice. 'Vodka gimlet' is a variant.

You can use fresh squeezed lime juice, which is better, or you can use Rose's lime juice, which gives you an odd flavor and a terrifying neon color. One of the problems with ordering this in bars is you never know which one you're going to get.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:35 AM on July 5, 2006

I find campari and orange, Caipirinhas, and mojitos especially refreshing in the summer.

Lemon Drops are tasty too. There's the drink version and the shot version: For the shot, all you really need is citrus-flavoured vodka and a lemon slice dipped in sugar. You take it almost like you would a shot of tequila--the vodka first and you follow up by sucking on the slice of lemon. There are various recipes online for the drink version, here's one of them.

Also, Sour Apple Martinis.
posted by phoenixc at 11:31 AM on July 5, 2006

Pinapple juice, amaretto and rum work very well together. I stumbled upon that on my own, so I can't give you any name for it. I'll look up the exact proportions when I get home.

One I consider a possibility, but a bit of an outside shot, is the rusty nail.
posted by NortonDC at 12:20 PM on July 5, 2006

thanks, redfoxtail, you learn something new every day.
posted by JMOZ at 4:55 PM on July 5, 2006

Another person that says you should stop that vodka martini nonsense and try the real deal, with gin. That'll kick your ass.
posted by Decani at 6:10 PM on July 5, 2006

OK, I got the proportions for the drink I mentioned earlier:
1 Amaretto
1.5 pineapple juice
2 coconut rum
I turned up another good combo with similar ingredients:
2 amaretto
1.5 bacardi limon
1.5(+) pineapple
also, I've enjoyed the apricot sours I get at a local restaurant (Zaytinya, good stuff!). They describe it as "Apricot Brandy & juice with Vodka & fresh sour mix."

Finally, old-school martinis are not a welcoming experience. I've tried to give them a go a few times (the last being at the Top of the Mark in SF), but the result is always the same: "Why am I abusing myself like this?"
posted by NortonDC at 8:12 PM on July 5, 2006

Try Redbach or or Rodenbach sour flemish ale
posted by [this is good] at 11:12 PM on July 5, 2006

Radioamy--no, I don't watch Good Eats. But I am a fan of Charles Schumann's book American Bar, and I had just made a daiquiri following his recipe a couple days before the question was posted....

Oh, and Decani is right, a real martini is made with gin.
posted by brianogilvie at 10:22 AM on July 9, 2006

You need to look at Mojito's, Manhattans or Mai Tai's. The classic drinks aren't candy syrup sweet and will probably appeal to you palatte.

posted by dsoneil at 3:28 PM on July 11, 2006

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