Don't Settle For Cheap Liquor In Sour Cocktails

Cocktails come in many forms, mixing together nearly every alcohol type in existence. And while there are unique cocktails you need to try that completely reinvent convention, most drinks adhere to a template of components. One of the most widely beloved and tasty formats is the sour.

This category combines a spirit with tart citrus, sugar (typically in syrup form), and an optional egg white. You're likely familiar with some of the style's most beloved creations like the daiquiri, whiskey sour, and pisco sour. A few examples like the classic sidecar and frozen margarita, stray a bit off of the format but still belong under the same umbrella.

Past their fundamental citrus addition, it's also important that sours are crafted with a quality spirit. Of course, employing tasty booze doesn't hurt any cocktail, but avoiding the cheapest liquor is especially crucial here. Sour cocktails have a heavier ratio of alcohol combined with a delicate balance of sweet and sour. As a result, any off-putting liquor flavors will shine through.

Sour cocktails emphasize the employed spirit's flavor

Even with all of their abundant variations, sour cocktails are unified by similar proportions. Typically, this is around two parts alcohol, to one part sweet and sour. Small tweaks, even as little as a quarter ounce or less, make a big flavor difference. So slight deviations are frequent and typically lead to less sweetness. Regardless, the spirit is given the dominant flavoring role in the drink, upheld by the delicious bonding of citrus and sugar.

The daiquiri, in particular, showcases the delicate finesse of the sour. In the drink's direct and refined flavor, the spirit can't hide which is why the employed rum makes a big difference, so don't settle for a more affordable exemplar. The liquor's resultant flavor in the cocktail is so impactful, that many bartenders blend two rums.

While rum's effect on the cocktail may come less as a surprise, the quality of the liquor also impacts less spirit-forward drinks like the 1980s-defining Midori sour. Alongside melon liqueur, lime, and lemon, the near-flavorless vodka may seem like an afterthought. However, it's still worth splurging on at least a mid-shelf bottle, showcasing how the sour format won't let the liquor hide in any build.