Skip to content

Sweet And Sour

August 18, 2017

Finally, the Tour de Homemade Hard Ice Cream 2.0 is almost here. Tomorrow is the big day, and it looks like the weather will be perfect. Warm, partly sunny, but not too hot. It’s not too late to let me know if you want to come. We’ve got a bunch of people already lined up, but the more the merrier. I just need to know how many scoresheets to bring.

Without a doubt, most of the fun about going on a Fussy Little Tour is getting to eat so many versions of a single food. How sweet is it to spend the entire afternoon eating five bowls of ice cream? It’s like a childhood dream come true.

Although some of the fun is also about camaraderie, and spending the afternoon with likeminded people.

However, these tours are also very much a learning experience, because they give attendees a chance to score five similar items, and scoring each of them against a common set of criteria. This can be challenging at first. However, like most things, the more you do it the easier it becomes. And before you know it, you’ll feel comfortable and confident sitting behind a judges table evaluating culinary competitions.

Speaking of which did I mention I would be judging the National Whiskey Sour Day Competition at Savoy next week?

This is one of those rare Friday night events that I can actually attend, thanks to its late start time. It means I can still have shabbat dinner with the family, before heading down to evaluate how five local bartenders prepare this classic, and far too often abused cocktail.

A long time ago, I wrote a diatribe on sour mix. There are plenty of crimes committed against cocktails over the years, but the mass market production of this vile substance ranks among the very worst.

The big challenge in making a whiskey sour is creating balance between the spirit, a tart acid, and something sweet. What makes it even harder is that not all citrus is created equal. Some limes are more bracing than other limes. And each piece of citrus will yield a different amount of juice.

When you are fine tuning these opposing and intense flavor elements, milliliters matter. Especially when all the while you want to be able to have the character of the whiskey shine through.

For next Friday’s contest, the whiskey will be Elijah Craig bourbon. And I am super excited to taste how each of the competitors will choose to enhance and not hide this whiskey in their drinks.

The judging criteria set for the competition are as follows:
– 40% for taste
– 25% for appearance
– 25% for use of Elijah Craig bourbon
– 10% creativity

I like that split. In the past, I’ve judged culinary contests before where creativity, taste, and appearance are all weighted equally. That had some unfortunate consequences. Those competitors who made near perfect, classic versions of dish, scored lower than slightly less tasty but more creative entries.

Creativity is important, but with just 10% of the score, it should just be the deciding factor between two similarly good drinks. And that should help keep the competition tethered to a more classic preparation of the whiskey sour.

While I’m up on stage, drinking in front of a crowd, it would be great to see some friendly faces out in the gallery. There is live music before and after the competition, and a special whiskey sour menu all day. I’ll be at Savoy a little before 10pm.

Of course if you can’t come, I’ll be taking notes, so expect to hear about the results of this contest the following week.

And if boozy sour things aren’t your cup of tea, consider joining me for ice cream tomorrow.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Lacey Putnam permalink
    August 21, 2017 11:56 am

    I had a delicious whiskey sour at The Savoy recently. I have wonderful memories of going to The Nevele hotel in the Catskills and sneaking whiskey sours from the adult cocktail parties! Those were the days my friend!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: