Robb Report Vices

Getting Your Fix

  • Christy Grosz

If your only experience with the sour or its close cousin, the fix, was through a cocktail made with sweet-and-sour mix (instead of the traditional lemon and sugar), we couldn’t blame you for avoiding this classic. Instead of the bright, zesty libations served up at the Waldorf Astoria during the 1920s, sweet-and-sour mix creates cloying, acidic cocktails that reinforce the importance of using freshly squeezed citrus.

Fixes and sours both date back to the mid-19th century, when fresh citrus was the only option and ice was a relatively new luxury. A sour is generally a base spirit combined with lemon juice, sugar, and sometimes an egg white; while the fix contains the same ingredients but is garnished with seasonal fruit and sometimes fruit syrup. Both are usually shaken vigorously to provide a frothy layer once they are strained into a rocks glass.

For the classic version, as well as for these modern twists, it’s best to avoid squeezing the citrus ahead of time. “As soon as you squeeze them, they start to oxidize,” says Armando Rosario, the Nevada director of mixology for Southern Wines & Spirits of America. “The flavor is going to change over time.”

Kentucky Monk
Recipe by Francesco Lafranconi

1 ½ oz. bourbon

½ oz. Green Chartreuse liqueur

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

½ oz. honey syrup*

½ oz. fresh or pasteurized egg white (optional)

Vigorously shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and lemon verbena.

*To make honey syrup, bring 1 cup of honey and a ½ cup of water to a boil. Cool completely and store at room temperature in an airtight glass container.

Guava Lehua Twist
Recipe by Chandra Lam

1 ½ oz. gin

¾ oz. Orchid guava liqueur

1 oz. fresh lime juice

½ oz. pineapple syrup*

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over crushed ice in a stemmed glass. Garnish with an orchid, berries, and lime wheels.

*To make pineapple syrup, bring 2 cups of cold water, one slightly beaten egg white, and 6 cups granulated sugar to a boil over medium-high heat until clear. Allow to boil for 10 minutes, stir in pineapple juice, and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Inca Mama
Recipe by Francesco Lafranconi

1 ½ oz. Peruvian pisco

1 oz. Orchid guava liqueur

1 ½ oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. agave nectar

½ oz. fresh or pasteurized egg white (optional)

Vigorously shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into an ice-filled double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with lime zest.

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