What better way to start the week than with a twist on a classic. This month’s Mixology Monday theme (hosted by Andrea of Ginhound) is Sours, that class of drinks that is simply a spirit, a sour, and sugar. Usually the sour is citrus–it’s quite effective as far as sours go–but I had the better part of a bottle of pomegranate juice cooling its heels in my fridge and while some might describe pomegranate as tart, I’d say it does a good job of sour on its own.
So what to pair with it? Since the unsweetened pomegranate juice packs some serious pucker-power, I wanted to offset it with sweet without being too obvious about it. Enter Honey Bourbon, which does a wonderful job of being sweet and smokey all at once, without overpowering anything. Plus it’s a nod to the most celebrated version of this drink: the whiskey sour; there’s something to be said for keeping tradition alive and all that.
Now, you could say the bourbon would take care of the sugar aspect as well, but a 2-ingredient cocktail isn’t my preferred method. For the sugar element I pulled another staple in our fridge: the star anise sugar syrup that does so very well in my non-alcoholic punches.
Pomegranate Star Sour
1 1/2 oz Honey Bourbon
1 oz Pomegranate Juice
3/4 oz Star Anise Simple Syrup*
Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into a chilled low ball glass (or, if you really want to step it up, an actual sour glass) and garnish with a twist of lemon and a spare anise star.
I admit, I prefer my drinks sweet, but mixing up a sour reminds me of the night I drove down to the coast to here a local band play. It was a questionable decision, at best, to go to an unknown bar alone, a good hour’s drive from home. A barefoot local sent me a drink, the bartender who delivered it cautioned me that while he was harmless that maybe it was better to sit at the bar rather than the corner of the room I’d chosen for the best view of the band. Some guys on a bachelor party outing also invited me out to their condo for an after party, and while they also seemed harmless enough, I stayed through the band’s final set, nursed my amaretto sour, and made it home without any additional adventures.
*For the Star Anise Simple Syrup, make a 1:1 simple syrup and simmer a couple of star anise pods in it for at least 5 minutes. I like to leave the pods in the mixture while storing it in the fridge to make sure the flavor doesn’t dull. Goes especially well with a glass of ginger beer.