Trinidad Sour

Forget a dash or two, the Trinidad Sour calls for bitters to be your base, with a delicious and robust flavor all its own.

Trinidad Sour

When mixing or prepping any cocktail, or even just reading about them, chances are you’ll see the instructions “and a dash or two of bitters” fairly frequently. So many recipes call for the spicy and full-bodied flavor extract that you’d be hard pressed to find drinks that don’t. And those tend to have bitters as an option, depending on your tastes. When I make a martini at home, sometimes I’ll rinse my glass with a few drops and it makes quite a difference by adding some extra complexity to my drink.

When I first came across the Trinidad Sour, I thought I had read the recipe wrong. Bitters as the base spirit? I’ve never heard of that. And honestly, I was a bit leery. A little goes a long way when it comes to using this ingredient and I somehow imagined that this mixture wouldn’t be palatable; that after one or two sips, I’d be exclaiming “ewwwwwww,” and insulting my host.

Luckily for me, my first Trinidad Sour was a delicious surprise. There is a prominent spiciness from the bitters, but it’s fairly evened out by the whiskey, lemon juice and orgeat syrup. Somewhat fruity up front with the first few sips, then gifting your tastebuds with hints of nuttiness from the syrup, the Trinidad is naturally complex, with a tart and citrusy finish. I found myself having a few, as the flavors I experienced came together in such an interesting and unforgettable way.

Assuming this cocktail had its origins in the 1800s like so many Sour-derived concoctions, I was amazed to learn that this is a fairly recent invention. Created by Clover Club’s Giuseppe Gonzalez in Brooklyn, New York, the Trinidad Sour started to make waves when it first appeared in 2009. Pretty soon Gonzalez’s inventive beverage was being served the world over, from Las Vegas to London, and became a fast favorite for cocktail enthusiasts with an adventurous side seeking something a little off the beaten path.

What are Bitters?

The origins of bitters can be traced as far back as ancient Egypt, when many historians believed that medicinal herbs were infused in wine. By the nineteenth century, the British were using herbal bitters in preventative medications and soon they were added to Canary wine, which became very popular in Colonial America. By the 1800s, a popular new trend called a “cocktail” began to take hold and the first recipes for these called for “a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” Most bitters have an ABV of around 45%, making them fairly potent, and are usually infused with various spices, herbs, fruits and other ingredients that are often kept a closely guarded secret, especially those used in Angostura Bitters.

What is the Best Whiskey to Use in a Trinidad Sour?

I used a not-too-pricey small batch rye when I made my Trinidad Sour at home, after having fallen in love with them out in the wild. Using a good whiskey will compliment your cocktail well, not overpowering the drink or disappearing underneath the strong and robust bitters.

Trinidad Sour
Servings 1 serving
serving 3 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 ounce rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 ounce orgeat syrup
  • Garnish: lemon twist

Instructions

  • Combine the Angostura bitters, rye whiskey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and orgeat syrup in a shaker filled with ice.
    Trinidad Sour
  • Shake the mixture vigorously until the shaker feels cold to the touch, indicating that the drink is well-chilled.
    Trinidad Sour
  • Double-strain the cocktail into a chilled Nick & Nora glass to ensure a smooth texture without any ice shards or pulp.
    Trinidad Sour
  • Express a lemon twist over the drink to release its oils, then drop it into the glass as a garnish.
Trinidad Sour

FAQs & Tips

Trinidad Sour

Similar Cocktails to the Trinidad Sour

Speaking for myself, I had never had a cocktail quite like the Trinidad Sour. I’m guessing you haven’t either. If the flavors you experienced with this drink piqued your interest for other complex and robust beverages, Twist & Toast has several recipes for you to try out this evening. Or if you’re curious about other Sour variations, we’ve got you covered there too.

  • Vermouth Cocktail – Here’s a cocktail that changes things up a little, featuring sweet vermouth front and center.
  • Martinez – One of the original cocktails, the Martinez is often considered a bridge between the Martini and the Manhattan.
  • Rum Sour – Grab your tiki-gear and a Rum Sour before you hit the beaches this summer.
  • Paloma Sour – This grapefruit and tequila-infused tipple is one of the most satisfying and refreshing cocktails you’ll ever have.

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