Welcome to the second part of our cascara cocktail collaboration with Young's Fine Wine! Young's is a boutique wine and spirit importer based in Nassau, Bahamas. Kyle Jones—their incredibly talented cocktail connoisseur—developed the recipe for this lovely, fruity and refreshing Cascara Fragaria Sour. This gorgeous drink includes a Cascara Simple Syrup made by yours truly.
In case you missed Kyle's previous cocktail creation the High Tea, be sure to check it out here. It features a cascara iced tea, has earthy flavors, and is presented in the most amazing mustache cup! Without further ado, let's get shaking...
tLBCC: In general, what makes a good cocktail?
Kyle Jones: There are lots of factors, but what's most important is finding balance in your ingredients. Too much acid and your drink can be undrinkable. Too much sugar and your drink is syrup. A well balanced drink can be enjoyed by absolutely anyone.
Other factors include using fresh ingredients. Stay away from store bought mixes like sour mix or juices. Using proper measurements is important. Many times when I am training bartenders they don’t think they need to use jiggers as it slows down their service. I aways stress the importance of being consistent with each cocktail over how fast you can put it in front of the customer. If Jane comes into the bar one night and has the best Hemingway Daiquiri she's ever had, and the next night you make her another that doesn’t taste the same, she is less likely to return.
tLBCC: Can you explain a little bit about this drink you created to feature the cascara simple syrup?
Kyle Jones: This cocktail was created using only fresh ingredients. I designed the drink to show you how to use the cascara without making it the base of the cocktail—instead, just incorporating a small hint of it.
I would say the flavor profile of the Cascara Fragaria Sour is more for those who are afraid of earthy or botanical based flavors. The fresh strawberry preserves give the cocktail a little extra sweetness and fruit forward taste.
tLBCC: You chose to feature Sipsmith Vodka and Dram Apothecary bitters, is there anything in particular that stands out about these companies/brands?
Kyle Jones: Sipsmith is one of my favorite spirit makers in the world right now. Their gin is to die for and they continue to come out with unique products—from their Damson Vodka to their Summer Cup (a better version of Pimm’s), to their VJOP (Very Junipery Over Proof) Gin.
This is actually one of their older spirits in that it is their Barley Vodka, they have since changed their vodka to be named just “Sipping Vodka.” If you don’t know of Sipsmith, you need to. Everything they do is in genuine small batches. Their copper still, named Prudence, is the first copper still to launch in London in nearly 200 years! They take a lot of pride in the history of London distilling.
Dram Apothecary is also a small batch company which makes unique flavors of bitters. When I think of tea, honey and chamomile are synonymous. These bitters fit well within the structure of the overall taste of the cocktail.
- 1 1/2 oz Sipsmith Vodka
- 1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 3/4 oz Cascara Simple Syrup
- Spoonful of Homemade Strawberry Preserves
- 3 drops of Dram Apothecary Honey Chamomile Bitters
- Add all ingredients into shaking tin and shake hard to break down the strawberry preserves.
- Double strain into cocktail glass and garnish with edible flower.
tLBCC: What about the homemade preserves? Where did you source them from?
Kyle Jones: These delicious homemade strawberry preserves are made in Toronto by my Brother-In-Law’s parents (The Hinkewich’s). Each year we get a mason jar full and it always ends up going quick!
tLBCC: How would you compare the cascara syrup or tea to other ingredients in your repertoire? In general, how would you advise bartenders to use it? Is there anything in particular you liked about it?
Kyle Jones: I would compare the cascara to a loose leaf tea such as earl grey in that I would prepare my cocktail in the same with these ingredients. I would either incorporate them into the spirits or introducing them in other subtle ways. Teas are easy to infuse a bottle of gin with, create a simple with or even add to a homemade batch of bitters.
I can certainly see cascara being introduced into the bigger cocktail bars very soon. The cocktail world is always looking for that next unique ingredient—but, doing so while sticking to the classics. Cascara can most definitely alter a classic in a subtle and beautiful way without overpowering a drink. It was quite fun to work with!