Cocktail: Black & Thorn Sour | Bartender: Thomas Egan

The Black & Thorn Sour is a non-traditional sour, stealing inspiration from my childhood penchant for pomegranate kleptomania. This was my entry into Southern Comfort’s 2018 Southern Showdown competition in Australia that got me to the national finals. The Black & Thorn Sour tips its hat to the Blackthorn sour, incorporating both Southern Comfort Black and Hayman’s Sloe Gin into the mix. As a child, I used to steal pomegranates from a neighbour a few streets away, and he hated it so much he physically barred me from getting to the tree by replanting his rosebushes around the tree. While it didn’t work, and I still enjoyed every last pomegranate I could, it did leave a lingering stinging effect on my arms.

I consider this to be non-traditional because it uses two liqueurs and no foaming agent other than natural oils, tannin, and acid – no dairy, no eggs, no aquafaba, no powdered sugar. The textural components are extracted from a bitter grenadine, using pomegranate husks, and strawberry gum leaf-infused Hayman’s Sloe Gin. This allows a simple shake and strain – just once – to give an incredible mouthfeel and allows the acid, oils, sugar, and alcohol to interact delicately providing a complex, balanced flavour on the palate with a lingering, tannic finish.

Quick & Easy, Shake & Strain, Cuffs & Buttons, Black & Thorn Sour.

Cocktail: Black & Thorn Sour | Bartender Atlas

40mL Southern Comfort Black
15mL Strawberry Gum Leaf-infused Hayman’s Sloe Gin*
25mL Bitter Grenadine^
15mL Fresh Lemon Juice
3 drops Bittermen’s Hellfire Habanero Shrub

Hard shake all ingredients; Strain over Ice into Tulip Glass; Garnish with Lemon Thyme & Dehydrated Rose Buds

* 1 tbsp Strawberry Gum Leaf : 400mL Hayman’s Sloe Gin; infuse over low heat in sealed vessel overnight, strain, and store chilled

^ Bitter Stock: 2 pomegranate husks (pith and all) : 500mL Water; bring to boil then simmer for 10 minutes, strain off husks, reduce stock by 50%. Sticky Grenadine: dissolve equal weights raw sugar in cold-pressed pomegranate juice over low heat, reduce by 25%. Cut Sticky Grenadine with Bitter Stock to taste (roughly 1.25 sticky grenadine : 1 bitter stock)

Thomas Egan
Thomas Egan is an Adelaide born bartender who started in 2010, but only got serious(ish) in 2013. He began working in hospitality to fund fancy holidays to the UK, Europe, Japan and Asia while attempting university. Deferring (read:dropping out of) university to focus on hospitality and cocktails, he's worked in a range of venues in Adelaide and Melbourne. Whether it's management, beverage direction or slinging cocktails until 5am, he's always (sometimes) smiling and will always be up for a shot of Cocchi.
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