This is the latest “house” cocktail–the Cypress Brandy Sour. It’s a nice and refreshing take on the basic whiskey/brandy sour that your father or grandfather might have ordered back in the day. I find that it works any time of year, but particularly when the weather begins to warm. Since malaria is a thing of the past in most parts of the world, this makes a nice change from the ubiquitous gin and tonic.*
Cypress Brandy Sour
- Juice from half a lime or lemon
- 1 1/2 oz Brandy
- 3 to 4 oz Bitter lemon soda or ginger-ale (see note)
Add ice to a short collins or highball glass.
Add lime/lemon juice, and stir vigorously to chill.
Add bitter lemon soda to top up.
Notes: This is one of several sour variations I’ve found. Others call for lemonade in place of the soda, but there’s something to be said for the bitter lemon soda (I use the San Pellagrino Limonata pictured above). It also works with a dash of angostura bitters, but it’s a question of personal taste. When making it at home I use the inexpensive French St-Remy, but on a recent trip to Hawaii I used the American E&J VS brandy and the result was quite acceptable. I would personally avoid using the better grades of brandy, first because wasting good booze in a mixed drink is a sin and secondly because the aging method used for the good stuff often imparts a dryness and subtle flavour changes that don’t suit the cocktail. If you find it a bit tart for your taste or feel like saving coin, a lightly flavoured ginger-ale such as Canada Dry can be substituted for the lemon soda. We often take the latter course if the bitter lemon soda isn’t available.
*A silly reference on my part, but Tonic water was used as a preventative/cure for malaria in the 19th and early 20th centuries because of the quinine it contains.