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One of the most common considerations when crafting cocktails is achieving a balance between sweet and sour. There are many ways to sweeten a cocktail — sugar, liqueurs, honey and syrups, to name a few. Plus plenty of ways to add tartness to a drink — citrus juices, liqueurs, vinegary shrubs, tannins and more. But regardless of what you use, the key here is finding the winning combination. Get your proportions just right, and that drink’s primed for success. Err too much in either direction, and the drinker’s making an unpleasant face.

A “sour” is one of the most common cocktail templates. It includes margaritas, daiquiris, sidecars, whiskey sours and plenty of others. The name itself is a bit of a misnomer though, as the cocktail itself should taste balanced, rather than sour. In fact, by definition a sour includes both a citrus juice and a sweetener. Ratios can vary based on what ingredients you’re working with, but a standard ratio of two parts spirit to one part each citrus and sweetener is a good starting point. Of course, that’s if your sweetener is simple syrup. Use liqueurs and all that goes out the window.

Certain liqueurs can sweeten a drink, while others may add sour notes. Others still, like PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, do both. It’s nearly equal on the sweet/tart scale, which means it won’t throw off the balance of cocktails. It can even work as a primary spirit, allowing other ingredients to further the sweet and tart notes within the drink. From PAMA —

PAMA’s proprietary blend of all-natural pomegranate juice combined with vodka and a touch of tequila results in a delicately balanced sweet-tart flavor that holds its own when combined with any base spirit. An extremely versatile cocktail ingredient, PAMA mixes with whiskey, rum and brandy equally well as it mixes with vodka, gin and tequila.

You can see this sweet/tart balancing act in the Hades Temptation cocktail.

Hades Temptation

1/2 oz PAMA
1/2 oz citrus vodka
Dash fresh lemon
Dash simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled glass rimmed with sugar.

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