The Brandy Sour is a mixed alcoholic cocktail that has been cited as the national drink of Cyprus. While other forms of the Brandy Sour cocktail exist, the Cypriot variety is a distinct mixture, which only shares the basic brandy and lemon flavourings with its homonyms from other cultures. Both brandy and lemons are among Cyprus's major exports, and both have distinctive Cypriot characteristics.
History of the Brandy Sour
The Cypriot Brandy Sour style was developed following the introduction of the first blended brandy made on Cyprus, by the Haggipavlu family, in the early 1930s. The cocktail was developed at the Forest Park Hotel, in the hill-resort of Plátres, for the young King Farouk of Egypt, who often stayed at the hotel during his frequent visits to the island. The Brandy Sour was introduced as an alcoholic substitute for iced tea, as a way of disguising the Muslim monarch's preference for Western-style cocktails. The drink subsequently spread to other bars and hotels in the fasionable Platres area, before making its way to the coastal resorts of Limassol, Paphos and Kyrenia, and the capital Nicosia. With increasing numbers of tourists visiting the island in the last thirty years, and the large garrison of British servicemen stationed on the island, the Cypriot Brandy Sour is now known around the world.
Recipe and ingredients
A typical recipe for a Cypriot Brandy Sour should include:
* 2 measures Cypriot brandy (typically KEO VSOP or Haggipavlu Anglias brands)
Cocktail brandy produced in Cyprus is typically less strongly flavoured than cognac or armagnac, and most brands have a caramel-biased aftertaste balance. Cyprus also produces distinctive, yellow-green coloured, bitter lemons — used by British author Lawrence Durrell for the title for his autobiographical novel Bitter Lemons of Cyprus. These lemons are used locally to produce a bitter-sweet lemon cordial, which forms the sour and bitter base for the Brandy Sour cocktail. Bitters are added to taste, and while the locally produced Cock Drops brand is widely available on the island, the internationally-recognised Angostura brand is increasingly used both on Cyprus and elsewhere. These ingredients are added to a tall glass and stirred, before the glass is topped up with lemonade (for a classic, slightly sweeter drink) or soda water (for less sweetness and a more pronounced brandy flavour) and plenty of ice.
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