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Let's try some sweet and sour...

Updated: Apr 21, 2022


This week it’s over to the Daiquiri, which is quite a different sort of cocktail compared to the the Martini of last week. Daiquiris are refreshing, involving a mixture of something sweet added to the spirit and citrus. This allows for the alcohol 'hit' to be toned down a little bit compared to last week’s Martinis.


Originally, the daiquiri is seen as a showcase for rum - but as you are hopefully seeing, by knowing a cocktail template, this awareness allows for us to substitute the main spirit and constituents with other options to create variation and originality.

Making cocktails using a template means

the ingredients fit together


An original daiquiri recipe goes along the line of:

2 measures of rum

¾ measure of fresh lime juice

¾ measure of simple syrup

1 x Lime wedge garnish


Different rums can be used to make up the “2 measures” bit of the recipe and this allows for a vast array of variations on the theme. In some ways it’s a 'sweet and sour' cocktail - but the secret appears to lie in the ability to balance the two. Too much citrus - especially lime - will result in a very tart drink but too much sugar will flood the glass with a sickly sweet option that is equally unbalanced.


Spirit


Rum is a spirit that comes in a cast array of forms - Spanish / English / Jamaican / French options go to show the variety out there. There is also the light rums through to the aged rums. What a spectrum!



Gin can be used within this recipe to create options and it will come as no surprise that I will be doing some gin work on the recipes we will be looking at on this week’s videos. Before we do that though - let’s talk a little about the citrus element.


Syrup


Lets stick with a simple syrup shall we. My interest wanes when “posh” syrups are talked about in cocktail recipes. Whilst some of these are awesome (I am sure) I tend to recommend a simple syrup for most people until such time as the fascination with cocktails digs in, and then some of the more complex options can be entertained.



Essentially, mix equal weights of sugar with water (250mg of both) but make sure that the sugar crystals are completely dissolved before putting into the fridge to cool down the solution. Caster sugar / Demerara for a bit of adventurousness are good to try, but for a low carb option try erythritol (but beware - it takes AGES to dissolve).


Citrus


Ask a group of three or four people to squeeze a lemon or a lime and then compare the results and the chances are that you will be hit with three or four different tasting fruit juices. This comes down to the extent to which the white pith is involved in the juicing. The thick outer skin houses the flavour in the oil that is held within. Overzealous squeezing or juicing forces the process to squeeze the white and you will release the bitterness that is housed in the pith into the lovely fruit juices.


An essential component - the citrus


If you peel a citrus fruit thinly, try taking as close up a picture with a smartphone that you can manage and then zoom in. Sometimes you can see the pores that lead to small collections of citrus oils that we recognise as the characteristic fruit flavour. Sometimes we can see a small mist come away at the time of peeling too - this is where the flavour lies.


The skin of a citrus fruit varies in thickness. Compare kumquats to mandarin oranges to grapefruits. This sees a citrus fruit surface that can be eaten whole (kumquat), to a peel that can be fully used to express oil (mandarin orange) to the thickly pithed grapefruit that demands careful peeling lest the bitterness take over too easily.


Here at The Herbal Gin Company we fell foul of this a month or two ago when peeling our Seville oranges. We took marginally too much off the skin and started to involve the white pith and it showed. Not in the first part of the still collection but as we got to the end of the “hearts” collection, the bitterness came through. This resulted in our rectifying the distilled spirit to strip out the alcohol and start again. We learned from our mistake and the result was fabulous, and manifest at the end of the “hearts” collection when the spirit (78.1 %ABV by the way!!) Tasted awesome throughout the process.