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The Sour Challenge: Eastern Sour Vs. Western Sour

by | Cocktails, Review, Tiki, Tiki Drinks | 0 comments


As we continue sipping our way through Beach Bum Berry Remixed; you Bourbon fans are in luck!  We get to try two more Bourbon based cocktails; The Eastern Sour and The Western Sour.  Just like the Bourbon Special these two cocktails are also from the 1950s.  We’ll take these two cocktails and put them against each other to see who is the champion of the “sour” cocktails.

The Western SourThe Western Sour was from Crane’s Kon-Tiki restaurant chain.  The Kon-Tiki chain made it’s home in Sheraton hotels across the U.S., and and was a direct competitor to Trader Vic’s.  This Bourbon cocktail has fresh squeezed white grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, falernum, and sugar syrup.  The Western Sour isn’t bad, but the grapefruit seems to work against the Bourbon a little.  You don’t get that rich oaky flavor like you do with the Bourbon Special and the Eastern Sour.  When taking a sip you first taste sweet lime and grapefruit flavors.  It then changes to more of a sour lime flavor, and finally you taste the Bourbon.  The aftertaste is quite sour, and acidic.  I’m a person who likes sour flavors more than average, but it was even too sour for me.  Sometimes, I can blame my citrus for being the culprit on a sour drink, but I tasted the juice by itself and it was great.

The Eastern Sour is made of fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh lemon juice, orgeat syrup, sugar syrup, and Bourbon. Your first sip you taste orange juice with a hint of lemon juice.  The two juices go together extremely well.  There is a hint of sour from the lemon juice, but it isn’t too strong.  The orange juice, orgeat syrup, and sugar syrup really help to balance out the sour lemon juice just right.  The wonderful oaky flavors of the Bourbon come through after the citrus and make you want another sip.  The orgeat also adds a hint of almond to the drink to give it more complexity that will make your taste buds dance with delight.  No matter where you are you’ll be transported to a tropical oasis.  Just feel the sand between your toes, hear the waves crashing gently to the shore, and see the beautiful palm trees running along the beach. Ah…. isn’t that relaxing.

For me, the Eastern Sour is the winner in this drink off.   You really had two quality cocktails, but the Eastern Sour with it’s orange, lemon, orgeat, and Bourbon really made me want a second.  I just don’t have the same feeling about the Western Sour.  These three Bourbon Tiki cocktails have opened my eyes to how great Bourbon works in Tiki drinks.  I always thought of rum as the staple spirit in Tiki cocktails, but Bourbon really offers some amazing cocktail experiences.

What do you think?  Do you like the Eastern Sour or Western Sour better?  Let me know.

If you are looking for the recipe to these two great cocktails you can pick up a copy of Beach Bum Berry Remixed, or if you really want to just Google for them.  The book isn’t very expensive though. Just buy it.  Then, you can sip along with me and we can compare notes.



Next Up, The Castaway….


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