Smooth sour bypasses liqueur


Maggie Hoffman, who writes for the Serious Eats website, knows too well the experience of discovering a new cocktail at your favorite bar, wanting to re-create it at home, and then finding that the ingredients are too numerous and expensive to be practical.

So, in her new book, “The One-Bottle Cocktail,” she set out to gather cocktail recipes that include common ingredients but only a single spirit.

She got this recipe for a smooth sour from Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette in Vancouver, British Columbia. “I find that floral liqueurs always sit gathering dust in my liquor cabinet, and I usually prefer the flavors of fresh herbs and floral teas, anyway,” Hoffman writes in the intro to the recipe. “There’s no need to shell out for another expensive bottle when you have access to aromatic jasmine green tea and citrusy lemongrass.”

Bees in the Trap

Makes 1 drink

2-inch piece fresh lemongrass

Pinch kosher salt

1½ ounces vodka

1 ounce strong-brewed jasmine green tea, cooled (see note)

½ ounce 2:1 honey syrup (recipe below)

½ ounce fresh lime juice

For garnish: 2 (4-inch) lemongrass pieces

Remove tough outer layer from lemongrass and slice into slim rings. Muddle lemongrass with salt in a cocktail shaker to break down the lemongrass’s fibers and release the oils. Add vodka, cooled tea, honey syrup and lime juice and fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled, about 12 seconds. Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with 2 pieces of lemongrass laid on top of the glass.

To make the 2:1 honey syrup: Mix two parts (say, 1 ounce) honey with one part (so, ½ ounce) hot water and stir until dissolved.

Note: For a strong brew, let the tea steep for about four minutes. Its robust flavor and touch of bitterness help to balance the drink.

Excerpted from “The One-Bottle Cocktail” by Maggie Hoffman; published by Ten Speed Press.