The Texas Sour

For an upcoming Stay at Home Cocktails Ladies’ Night, I asked each lady to tell me their favorite drink, their go-to drink. If they’re out on a special night on the town, and someone else is buying, what do they go for? Well, some are more sophisticated, and then there’s my sister in law. She’s about 10 years younger than me, and I have a story to tell about her and her favorite cocktail.

We went out for New Year’s Eve one night right after my first daughter was born. My wife didn’t want to go anywhere so I went out with her two sisters. One sister, the younger, was just under 21, and had never really drank much. Well, we went to several places, but they were all packed and were, of course, carding everyone. No way we would be able to get into any of them. So we went to this nice hotel that had a classy bar, and the place was practically deserted. Perfect.

We sit down, and the waitress comes over. I ask for their beers, and they only have bottles–bad sign. The only drinkable beer they had was Amstel Light, so I ordered one of those, and then the older sister said, “Um, yeah, I’ll have the same thing.” Then it was the younger sister’s turn, and she blew it.

She asked for a drink menu, which didn’t exist at this place. Then she went into, “uh, well, I don’t know.” She looked at me, I looked at the waitress and smiled. She looked at the waitress. The waitress looked at each of us in turn. The “uh’s” continued.

So I said, “She’ll have an Amaretto Sour.”

And the waitress left.

She loved the drink, and it has remained her favorite. She doesn’t like the taste of alcohol, so an overly sweet Amaretto Sour is perfect for her. Well, for our Ladies’ Night, I decided to try to refine the Amaretto Sour. The main problem is that it’s too sweet. The amaretto is just too powerful by itself, so I changed it to half whiskey and half amaretto. But that’s not enough. The proportions of sweet to sour (1 oz syrup to 3/4 oz lemon) are still too much, but I didn’t want to cut down the syrup alone or substitute water because that would ruin the drink.

The solution was to take a page from the Boston Stone Sour, also known as the California Sour. Except I didn’t want to use orange juice like those drinks do. Instead, I substituted fresh grapefruit juice. Hence, the Texas Sour. A bit of lemon and a bit of sweet Texas grapefruit were the perfect mix.

Here’s the proportion:

  • 3/4 oz whiskey
  • 3/4 oz amaretto
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz fresh grapefruit juice

I may try adding a bit of egg white for our Ladies’ Night, just to give it a bit of extra mouth feel. Garnish with a cherry or orange slice, and it’s ready.

It’s sweet, but it’s not overly sweet. Everything balances nicely to form a wonderful cocktail. It fixes the problems with the Amaretto Sour and makes it into something much more complex and eminently drinkable.

Sometimes experiments work. Sometimes they don’t…

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