Sweet vs Sour – A Debate

In Terry Cashman

Now as every good bartender knows, balance is key.

A bartender in the making?

Whether you’re making the perfect daiquiri for Ernest or a sex on the bitch for a fluffy office girl… balance is what you really want… But have we lost sight of this highest of all tenets?

Sour seems to be wining the hearts and minds of bartenders, from the innocent ‘I’ll have mine on the sour side’ we seem to have developed an attitude of ‘If it’s sweet, it’s wrong’ Why? Is it a badge of honour to have our sours more sour than anyone else? Why has sugar become the next Noble Experiment?

I think it would be fair to say that as a bartender, I am slightly biased.

My drinks are generally on the sweeter side, and as such, I think, are tastier for it. If I make a drink for someone who knows a thing or two about a thing or two, or even someone who doesn’t, I’ll make damn sure that drink is balanced to within an inch of its life, but we can’t ride roughshod over the tastes of regular people.. Even if they ask for Apple Sourz…. ESPECIALLY if they ask for Apple Sourz.

I’ve sat in a Dale DeGroff master class where he has laid out 5 cups. The middle cup being equal amounts sugar and lemon, the adjacent cups being slightly varying degrees either way of sour or sweet. To a man, every bartender picked the slightly sourer cup as being his or her favourite.

Was this the tastier mix? Or was it a general feeling that if we didn’t go with sour we would somehow be less of a bartender?

This love of sour has come from a general feeling that the average guy likes sweet, therefore to define ourselves as the higher power, we will like sour , (and be a poet, but did not, in fact, no it) but it doesn’t need to be like this. Tasty drinks are tasty drinks, regardless.

I’m as guilty as the next bartender of picking sour over sweet… but next week, I’ll be hugging a packet of Tate and Lyle, and I hope you’ll join me.

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