The gentleman's drink: the minami sour

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Time for another cocktail! While in the last few articles I have been using classics, its time to up the game a bit.  This is an original cocktail still grounded in the principles of classic mixology but with a Japanese twist. Often when creating cocktails, I like to base them in a classic genre and then add something novel or unexpected. After all it is hard to beat a classic.

The base of the Minami Sour is a family of drinks called sours. No surprise there. What may be surprising in that the sour family has been around for a long, long time. I would define a sour as any spirit mixed with citrus (for sour) and a sweet ingredient (for balance) and the possible addition of a flavouring agent.

True sours in this style didn't show up till later in the game but the history of citrus in mixed drinks goes back the the punch (a different family of drinks and a story for another time) which goes back to the 1600's and possibly longer than that. Sours really got going in the late 1800's and was considered the quintessential American drink. It was short, sharp and refreshing. 

Many of the world's most popular drinks today follow the sour formula. Cocktails like the Margarita, Mojito, Daiquiri, and many more are a testament to the popularity of sour based drinks.

Without further ado here is the recipe:

The Minami Sour

  • 45ml Roku Gin
  • 20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 15ml sugar syrup
  • splash of soda
  • 3 shiso leaves

Method: Add Roku, lemon juice, 2 shiso leaves and sugar to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a goblet filled with crushed ice. DO NOT double strain as you want some of the shiso pieces to fall into the drink. add a splash of soda water and garnish withe the remaining shiso leaf. 

Note on ingredients: Shiso is a popular Japanese herb which can be found in most Japanese grocery stores. It has a rich anise like aroma similar to basil. 

Note on the inspiration: The Minami sour is based on a drink called the Southside, which is essentially a gin sour flavoured with fresh mint leaves. The word Minami means south in Japanese. As I am using Roku, a Japanese Craft gin made with six Japanese botanicals (yuzu, Gyokuro tea, Sencha tea, sakura flower, sakura leaf and sancho pepper) I decided to use shiso another native Japanese ingredient to keep the theme. The key to this drink is balance, but feel free to reduce the sugar if you like a more sour style drink. This drink is super refreshing, perfect for an afternoon tipple, best enjoyed in our lovely tropical heat. 

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