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Eat & Drink

How to make a cocktail: The Bennet-Bellows Sour

Posted by Jen Hunter / March 19, 2013

The Bennet-Bellows SourThis week's travels take us to classically styled French Bistro La Societe at Bloor and Avenue, where we have not one but two cocktails to discuss!

The Bennet-Bellows Sour
The origins of the style of cocktail known as a 'sour' are said to be traced back to the British navy: soldiers were given lime juice to prevent scurvy, which they would then add to their daily ration of gin or rum to make it more palatable. Fast forward a few hundred years, and a sour is generally regarded as a mixture of liquor, citrus (commonly lemon) and sugar, with many bartenders opting to add egg whites. Drunk as an aperitif, a good sour should be fresh and bright, to awaken the palate for the meal to come.

Having a balance between alcohol and fruit juice is key, as they should enhance the flavour of one another. The Bennet-Bellows sour is a perfect example. An egg white, Makers Mark bourbon, cardamom-vanilla syrup, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice are dry shaken before ice is added for a second shake and strained into a chilled coupe glass. As a final touch, a float of Averna (an Italian liqueur, usually drunk as a digestivo) is added.

The Bennet-Bellows SourTo make:

1 Egg white
2oz Maker's Mark Bourbon
¼ of a lemon
¾oz Cardamom-Vanilla Syrup
Dry shake all ingredients for 20 seconds. Re-shake again with ice. Fine strain into cocktail glass. Float Averna by drizzling over the back of a bar spoon.

The Bennet-Bellows SourCardamom-vanilla syrup:
Combine equal parts sugar and water to fill a litre container. Add 1 Vanilla bean pod, and 4 pods crushed Green Cardamom. Stir over heat until sugars dissolve and reduce slightly.

Name this cocktail for a chance to enjoy one on the house at La Societe.

The green bottle, tucked mysteriously away on a back shelf, will be a familiar sight to many bar patrons the world over, but few are as familiar with the complex and distinctive flavours of Chartreuse. Its popularity in cocktail making has risen of late Toronto with the return to popularity of the Last Word (a prohibition-era mixture of gin, maraschino liqueur, green Chartreuse, and lime juice), but it remains a great challenge for any bartender learning their craft to successfully balance the intense herbal flavours in a mixed drink.

ChartreuseJames LeBerg was asked to make a cocktail containing Chartreuse on the fly by famed Master Sommelier John Szabo. James loved the drink he came up with (a herbal take on the classic Corpse Reviver No. 2), and it'll be featured on the new cocktail list launching soon at La Societe.

He starts by filling a coupe glass with ice and a touch of Herbsaint Absinthe. While the glass chills, he adds Victoria gin, Lillet Blanc, green chartreuse and a quarter lemon (squeezed) to a Boston shaker before ice is added, and everything is stirred. The ice is tossed out of the coupe to make room for the drink to be strained into (though the flavour of the absinthe remains), and finally the drink is garnished with a lemon twist. The result is a beautifully balanced cocktail.

Unfortunately, he can't think of a name for it, and is inviting readers to suggest something. Leave your idea in the comments section. The winner, picked by James, will have his or her suggestion immortalized in print on the new cocktail menu at La Societe, and also get to enjoy one on the house as a thank-you.

La Societe CocktailTo make:

Chill coupe glass with ice and ¼oz Herbsaint Absinthe

In mixing glass, add:
1oz Victoria Gin
1oz Lillet Blanc
½oz Green Chartreuse
¼ of a lemon

Stir, and strain into glass (toss out the ice first!). Garnish with lemon twist.

Photos by Morris Lum



Cathy / March 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm
A drink name suggestion: Le Printemps Toronto (It's French in an English place, like the bistro, and spring represents the freshness and herbaciousness of the drink.)
Ryan / March 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm
This might be redundant, but how about: citron jaune.
tcp / March 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm
I am now going to try the Le Printemps Toronto now..... ty
Cynthia / March 19, 2013 at 01:22 pm
James is the best.
Mike / March 19, 2013 at 03:36 pm
The Car Jack
David / March 19, 2013 at 03:45 pm
Drink name suggestion: since its a play on a corpse reviver #2 and chartreuse is made by how about "Resurrection"
Benedict / March 19, 2013 at 03:45 pm
The Jaundiced Muskmelon
Benedict / March 19, 2013 at 03:45 pm
The Chai Squelch
Adam / March 19, 2013 at 04:09 pm
The Green Queen, or if one prefers it in French, La Reine Verte.
John O'Neill / March 19, 2013 at 08:08 pm
A classic Toronto cocktail deserves a classic Toronto name...The Mary Pickford (the Toronto born Hollywood silent screen star legend, for those who don't recognize the name).
Robbigerry / March 19, 2013 at 08:16 pm
The Mary Pickford is already a classic cocktail of white rum pineapple juice grenadine and maraschino liqueur. Your right though it is really classy name, has a great ring to it.
Valerie / March 19, 2013 at 08:19 pm
In the spirit of combining its two influences, the Last Word and the Corpse Reviver No. 2, (and in the spirit good ol' fashion zombie love) how about: The Last Survivor?

The Last Word is my favorite cocktail, so whether or not I win, I'll be coming in to try this as-of-yet-unnamed drink!
Robbigerry / March 19, 2013 at 08:26 pm
La Vérité
Brent / March 19, 2013 at 09:52 pm
Ah, too bad Mary Pickford is taken, I agree it's a classy. Okay then, let's name this drink after another blonde Canadian born actress...the Vina Fay Wray. Fay Wray was the heroine in the 1933 classic film "King Kong". Vina Fay was her real name, but she went by Fay Wray when she went to Hollywood.
Lili / March 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm
The Vina Fay Wray...I love it! This drink DOES have a blonde look about it, and to name it after a Canadian actress from old Hollywood is so delicious!
Brendan / March 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm
limon renaissance (French for lemon, renaissance has so much meaning and a nice ring to it)
Brendan / March 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm
Lemon in Spanish *
Anonymous / March 19, 2013 at 10:51 pm
La limon renaissance
Georgia / March 19, 2013 at 11:57 pm
Lemon Pablo or Citrus Pablo, after the elusive, but powerful Pablo Escobar.

Or, after the French ingredients and Absinthe's origins, how about the Neuchâtel Blond? or Lemon Neuchâtel?
Andre / March 20, 2013 at 01:18 am
The Szabo Collabo
Georgia / March 20, 2013 at 02:47 am
Wait a second, why don't we go with the creator's name? He did, after all, create the thing. The Lemon Leberg
Indian restaurants toronto / March 20, 2013 at 05:45 am
regarding information how to cocktail will better.
Didier / March 20, 2013 at 09:38 am
The raZzle dazzle
Michael / March 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm
Abra cadabra # 2
Shmandy / March 20, 2013 at 01:24 pm
Maeve's Waiting
Vincent Pollard / March 20, 2013 at 07:56 pm
Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse)
Vincent Pollard replying to a comment from Georgia / March 20, 2013 at 07:58 pm
It's not the custom for bartenders to name a drink after themselves. If they name a drink after a person it's usually named after the person the drink was made for or someone famous.
Jeremiah / March 20, 2013 at 09:49 pm
The Bergtreuse. An exquisite drink named after the creator.
DL / March 21, 2013 at 02:18 pm
Le Jardin des Glace (The Ice Garden)
Marion / March 21, 2013 at 05:00 pm
Limon in French is slime. Please do not call it this. Looking good JHL!
nana / March 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm
Le Gin-Chartreuse Citronné.
nana / March 22, 2013 at 12:03 pm
Gin-Chartreuse Sour / April 24, 2014 at 08:58 am
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