I have been obsessed with Butterfly Pea Flower extract since the first time I had a 1908 Empress Gin cocktail. It is a gin that is infused with Butterfly Pea Flower, imparting it a blueish color that changes when it mix it with various acids. Notably, lemon turns it a stunning shade of pink/purple. I have played around with a variety of gin and tonics and other Empress cocktail variants but recently saw something that opened up a whole new shelf on my bar.
My friend Stevie posted a link to a story about a cocktail made with a Butterfly Pea Flower syrup and I immediately had to track it down. You can find the syrup — as well as a bunch of other bar staples — at HailMCocktails.com. It is a little pricey for what amounts to four cocktails worth of syrup and you can certainly forgo it for a regular simple syrup but there is a lovely botanical quality to the syrup that you would be missing out on.
My first thought was to make a pink lemonade martini using vodka but quickly settled on making a vibrantly colored Pisco Sour instead. Pisco is a South American Brandy that I first encountered while covering Grand Prix Santiago in the eponymous Sour that is so prevalent down there. For this drink I used a colorless Pisco since I did not want to mess with the colors that come with just the Pea Flower and Lemon combination. I don’t remember what brand it was — we killed the bottle the other night and the name escapes me.
If you follow any of my drink stuff on Twitter you probably already know that I am obsessed with preserved lemon brine in my cocktails. I just like offsetting the acid and sweetness with a savory note. I have used miso and even fish sauce at times but this has become my go to, especially in any cocktail built around citrus flavors. I just buy it by the jar from Whole Foods. It is salty, ever-so-slightly spicy, and has an almost medicinal lemon aroma — but don’t let that put you off from it. It is not totally necessary for the drink and is definitely not something you see in the classic recipes but I have a real salt tooth and the drink is a little too sweet for me otherwise.
Butterfly Pisco Sour
2 oz Pisco
1 oz Butterfly Pea Flower Syrup
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs Preserved Lemon Brine
3/4 oz egg white
Mix all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker — without adding ice yet — and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Then add a scoop of ice and shake vigorously again for 30 seconds to a minute. Strain into coupe glasses and add a little lemon peel or dried lemon for garnish once the foam from the egg white has settled. If you are adverse to putting egg whites in your cocktails you can omit it OR you could try using aquafaba. I have not tried this yet but multiple people I trust swear by it.