The Dizzy Sour

Ben TurpinThis cocktail is adapted from one found in David Wondrich’s Imbibe. As with any sour drink, it is largely a mater of taste just how sour one desires it. As a sour, I expect it to be somewhat tart. However, I don’t want it tasting like a slightly alcoholic lemonade. Nor do I want it so sweet as to make my teeth hurt.

In the early days, sours were often served over ice, but I prefer this one served up. They generally called for a lot more lemon (half a lemon or more) and more sugar (a tablespoon). I’ve scaled back both for a slightly more modern interpretation of a turn-of-the-century drink.

1 ½ oz Rye

½ oz Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed and strained)

¼ oz Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)

1 tsp. Benedictine

¼ oz Gold Rum

Shake first four ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Slowly pour the rum over the back of a spoon to float it on top of the drink. Express the oil from a slice of lemon peel, give it a twist, and carefully drop it in so as not to disturb the rum float or simply leave it out.

By the way, that is Ben Turpin featured on this post. Poor Ben. An accident resulted in the crossed eye, but he used it to his advantage starring in comedy roles during the 1920s, working opposite Charlie Chaplin and as a lead and supporting actor for Mack Sennett. He lost his first wife in 1925 and it almost derailed his career. When the sound era came along, Ben decided to retire, only appearing occasionally for a set fee. Unlike many of his contemporaries who bought expensive cars and drank their salaries away, he took his movie earnings and invested in real estate. He did very well for himself, apparently. He died in 1940 at the age of seventy. 

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