Montreal Gin Sour – Recipe from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’

1 part Sugar Syrup 

2 parts Lemon Juice 

8 parts Gin

1 Egg White to each 2 drinks 

Put all the ingredients except the gin in the shaker with cracked ice. Shake vigorously until thoroughly blended and creamy. Add ½ to 2/3 of the gin and combine, then add-balance of gin and shake. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses.

This drink gets referenced a lot throughout Embury’s book, due to what looks to be the precursor of the ‘dry shake’.

The dry shake is something which started cropping up in bars in the last 12-15 years and used when egg white was added to a drink. It involves the bartender putting everything in the shaker, except the ice, and sometimes with the coil from the Hawthorne strainer and shaking, then adding ice and shaking a second time. Due to the lack of ice, and I suspect the lack of cold the drink froths up more and you get more of a foamy head on top of the drink.

I hate this technique, its lazy because if you just shake the drink harder you get the same effect, and it makes the drink take a lot longer to prepare, slowing down service and making you wait longer for your drink, also if you shake the drink with ice second this reduces the amount of froth, it makes much more sense to ice shake and then dry shake. I’m not sure if the spirit stops the froth, which might be the only reason to add the gin in slowly. What I have discovered at home is that using gin from the freezer, and ice from the freezer at minus twenty the drink does not froth up at all, so there is a temperature component of this.

At Goat we use aquafaba instead of egg white (for the record duck eggs don’t work as well), initially because it’s a vegan alternative, and a lot of people don’t like the idea of raw eggs in drinks, but over time we realised this was a cheaper and easier to measure alternative, and it froths up twice as well as egg white. Aquafaba is the liquid you drain out of a tin of chickpeas, it has almost no flavour when used in drinks, and mostly has almost no aroma. Occasionally I get a whiff of it when first placing the drink in the glass after shaking, but generally it’s aroma free. We often counter this by using an aromatic spray on top, or a spice which I think always adds to a drink anyway, I have also noticed that its aroma potential can differ slightly can to can, and is difficult to test, meaning you need to be a little judicious about when to use it and when not to.

The drink itself is a simple gin sour, and the base for a million cocktails, it’s a step away from a clover club, pink lady and tons of other classics. Its well worth trying the drink, if for no other reason than to learn about one a classic cocktail ‘building block’. I made the drink with a dry shake after the ice shake and you can see the extra froth you get from this, it does come out with large bubbles instead of a small light foam, again this could’ve been due to the freezer effect. The gin was sent by a friend from Australia, and at 52.4% is more than a little punchy.