Starring: The Rhubarb Beet Daiquiri & Pisco Sour
I can feel it coming in the air tonight. Oh lawd. It’s that subtle heat that has started lingering in the evening. Like a guest who overstayed their welcome, they’re hard to send home. And as the night goes on you realize that they are here to stay. That guest is friggin moving in. So you might as well get comfortable folks because summer's a comin to our neck of the woods. How do you beat this guest full of hot air? Cocktails of course! This month we are focusing on two cocktails that will serve you well all the way through these impending hot months. Not much will combat the heat like a Classic Daiquiri or a Pisco Sour.
Sours are a whole family of cocktails that make up a significant portion of the cocktail family tree. A sour is simply booze, lime juice (or lemon) and sugar. It is hard to go wrong with these three ingredients.
The best cocktail you've ever had was probably some version of the sour. The worst cocktail you've ever had probably was, too. - David Wondrich
A Daiquiri is a sour. A Pisco Sour is a sour (obviously). Caipirinha, Margarita, Sidecar and so on and so on. All sours. So what’s the secret to a good sour? The devil is in the details. You want to keep it simple, clean and vibrant. The citrus should enhance the flavors of your spirit and the sugar should round the sharp edges. You don’t want to over do it with the acid or the sweet. You also want to ensure that the spirit you are aiming to enhance is worth enhancing. Which brings us to our two spirits we will use for our April Commons Kit: Rum and Pisco.
If you aren’t familiar with rum this could seem like a daunting task. Rum is vast and diverse and operates kinda like the wild west of spirits. Rum is produced in nearly every country that grows sugar cane (which is a whole lot of countries). Each country has their own traditions for how they harvest, distill and age rum. There is steel aging, barrel aging, cement aging and no aging at all. Some distill from raw sugarcane and others distill from sugarcane byproducts (molasses). I only note all of these differences to encourage you to take yourself on a rum excursion. It is a highly underrated spirit that has a rich history and amazing diversity. But for now let’s hone in on the type of rum that birthed the Classic Daiquiri: Cuban Rum.
Cuban Rum is made from sugarcane grown in Cuba. The sugarcane is pressed for its juice and then the juice is boiled into molasses. The molasses is then fermented and distilled (the booze part of the equation). Then the distillate is aged in White Oak barrels for a minimum of two years. After aging the rum is charcoal filtered and blended by the master distiller. The process to make Cuban Rum isn’t particularly different from many other rums but the thing that sets it apart is the actual sugarcane. The soil and climate create a wonderful terroir for sugarcane hence the wonderful rum from Cuba. The storied history of American’s having and not having access to Cuban Rum also makes the product that much more enticing.
Now on to our second cocktail, the Pisco Sour...
Pisco, lime, sugar and an emulsifier make this a traditional sour with an airy, rich mouthfeel. Pisco is made from grapes rather than sugarcane (which makes it a Brandy but that’s a lesson for another time). It is primarily produced in the wine making regions of Peru and Chile. Once the wine has been made the producer will take the wine to distillation rather than bottling. Both Peru and Chile claim to be the originators of Pisco and the Pisco Sour. It is a heated debate with a lot of national pride riding behind it. So out of respect and a recognition of my small understanding on the subject I will let you decide who will wear the Pisco crown. Regardless of when and where the drink originated we do know one thing for sure: it is a banger.
Want to learn the untold story and why we love the classic daiquiri so much?
Go ahead and sign up for your Commons Kit Membership before April 15th and we'll share the hot goss.
(Each Kit Serves 8)
Aquafaba: Aquafaba is an eggwhite replacement used to emulsify your Pisco Sour. Made simply from chickpeas and water this ingredient will bring depth and volume to your cocktails.
Rhubarb & Beet Shrub: What is a shrub you ask? Well a shrub is a non-alcoholic syrup made from concentrated fruits, aromatics, sugar, and vinegar. We’ve made ours from rhubarb and beet to create a sweet, acidic and earthy mixer that will pair wonderfully with your rum (and leftovers will pair well with Pisco, Tequila, Vodka or just plain ol soda water).
Commons Bitters: These bitters add some eye candy, depth and spice to your Pisco Sour. Combining traditional baking spice flavors with bright orange and bitter citrus you’ll have a traditional Aromatic Bitter that quietly takes your cocktail to the next level.
Lime Concentrate: Just what you guessed. It’s lime. But it’s concentrated. Lime peels that have been macerated to extract the essential oils and then combined with fresh lime juice and citric acid. Perfect to give all the lime essence without watering down your cocktail
Fancy Pants Bitters Dasher: A glass bottle with a perfectly shaped top to elevate your home bar and bitters game
Fresh Lime: For garnish
How to measure ingredients | We will discuss why consistency is important to crafting cocktails and honing your skills.
How to shake a cocktail | The reasons why you shake. What types of cocktails you should shake. We will also cover some alternative options for shaking if your shaker isn’t handy.
How to emulsify aquafaba | Aquafaba can be used much like an egg white. Aquafaba adds a viscosity to your cocktail that is unique and adds richness and depth.
How to pair citrus with spirits | Lemon? Lime? Which way should I go? We will cover the basics of how to make that call.
How to make a Classic Daiquiri with your leftovers | We are providing a recipe for a wonderful variation of a Daiquiri. But it’s important to know your roots so we will also cover the fundamentals of a perfect Classic Daiquiri
It is contrary for humans to leave well enough alone. Such is the case for this Daiquiri. I just couldn’t let it be. The seasons are changing and it’s getting warmer but we aren’t living with that blazing summer heat. So here we are with a refreshing yet savory Daiquiri and a complex and slightly rich Pisco sour. Let’s live in the moment, enjoy the context of our season and imbibe accordingly. Cheers to you. Cheers to spring. And cheers to that hot headed bastard who’s right on our heels…..Summer.
You’re well on your way to a lovely craft cocktail and some knowledge that will serve you well on your bartending journey — now go get yourself a Commons Kit membership or one time kit and let's get mixing!
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