While the middle of winter isn’t generally the time you crave a nice, cold sour, I found this one to have truly been aptly named. The delicious sour is nicely balanced, big, cold and frothy. First on your palate you get fruity hints of the apple and peach. Following that, I noted that it wasn’t nearly as sweet as I expected it to be, rather it was nicely balanced. Finally, the egg white gives this drink a tremendous mouth feel in the same way that it does with other drinks. There are a couple interesting points to be made, though.
First, let’s talk peach brandy. If you walk into your local liquor store and go to the brandy aisle you’re going to get the same response that I did. Namely, peach brandy is kept over with the liqueurs and really isn’t a brandy at all. Peach brandy, as most know it, is a brandy based, peach flavored liqueur. At this point I’m certain some of you are saying something to the effect of “But, what about eau de vie?” and you’re absolutely correct. Peach eau de vie is technically peach brandy proper. However, after mixing this drink I’m certain that’s not what the author (“The Only William” Schmidt) intended. Without the sweetness of the peach brandy the drink would need additional sweetening to balance things out.
Second, let’s talk lime juice. The original recipe in Schmidt’s Flowing Bowl and my source, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, calls for the juice of one lime. Being a details type of guy this wasn’t an exact enough measure for me so I did some experimentation. After that foot work (or should it be arm work) I can say that you have two options. If you prefer a drier cocktail go with 1 1/2 oz of lime juice and omit the sugar entirely (my personal preference). The resulting drink still has a mellow sweetness from the peach brandy and isn’t overly tart. If you prefer a bit more sweetness bump the lime juice up to 2 oz (which I did, in fact, get from one giant lime) and keep the tsp of sugar. The added lime juice balances the extra sugar.
Lastly, I felt this drink needed some additional complexity. I found that complexity in 3 dashes of bitters. I used my homemade version of Robert Hess’ House Bitters, but you could use any aromatic bitter that you like. The spices play extremely well with all the fruitiness in this drink and really give the drink much more depth.
The Delicious Sour (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Applejack 2 oz Peach-Flavored Brandy 1 1/2 oz Lime Juice 1 Egg White 3 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters Soda Water 1) Shake all but the soda in an iced cocktail shaker 2) Strain into a goblet 3) Top with a splash of soda water