Many cocktails call for an ingredient called ‘sweet and sour’ or often referred to a sour-mix. It’s a blend of freshly squeezed lemon juice [lemon-sour] or lime juice [lime-sour], mixed with sugar –syrup. Making your own sugar-syrup is really easy and can lead to a huge amout of good cocktail mixes.

Take a saucepan, mix one cup hot water and two cups of sugar. Gently bring it to the boil, stirring all the time. As it begins to bubble, turn the heat right down. Don’t let it turn brown, it needs to be kept clear.

Sweet and sour

Keep an eye on the liquid as it starts to turn more viscous, and into a syrup, not too thick like treacle though. You’ll need to judge this part by running the mixture off the spoon. Take it off the heat and let it cool. Store it in a sealed bottle in a fridge and it should last up to two months.

Mixing your sugar-syrup and lime or lemon juice will allow you to start to create: Gin Fizz; Tom Collins; Rickey; Whiskey sour; Aloe Vera; Pisco Sour; to name but a few, which will be featured in the series, cocktails in my cupboard.

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