Weekends are made for lazy drinking, so when 52 Cocktails’ CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) challenged me to make something with an unfamiliar ingredient, I chose Solerno and simply Googled a recipe. Solerno is a blood orange liqueur made by the same clever people who produce Hendricks gin. It’s a light, summery drop that marries well with prosecco or soda, which is pretty much the only way I’ve ever drunk it, so it was perfect for this challenge. I picked two easy recipes from the Solerno website; here are the results.
This one’s pictured above left.
25ml Brandy or Cognac (I used Brandy)
20ml lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake all ingredients together with ice, then strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.
If you’ve ever had a classic Sidecar you’ll be familiar with its smooth seductiveness, its zingy citrus tones, its ‘Oh come on, let’s have one more-ness’. Sadly, that is not so with the Solerno Sidecar. Although clearly based on the classic, this one tastes like there’s something a bit wrong with the recipe. Maybe it’s because we used brandy, not Cognac, although the recipe did say it was fine to do so. The flavours tasted slightly muddied; not muddy as in dirty, per se, but muddied as in confused. That clear-cut tone that makes a classic Sidecar a classic was missing. And the CTO detected a pithy note, which could be from the bitters, not the Solerno, but which stood out like a sore thumb. Either way, it made for a cocktail that you’d drink but not re-order if you were at a bar. But don’t lose heart! There’s a Solerno Sour just around the corner.
See, I told you so. This one’s pictured above right.
25ml lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake all ingredients together with ice. Strain into a glass that’s half-full of ice.
This one’s loads better than the Solerno Sidecar, though I’m still not sure it shows off the Solerno to its full advantage. As you’d expect, it’s orange-y and sour-sweet, but with a slightly dark, pithy undertone that I didn’t object to. It’d be interesting to try this one without the orange bitters (to see what, exactly, is causing that flavour); maybe, when I’m not feeling quite so lazy, I will.
Maybe Solerno is not all that suited to mixed drinks; from the above experiences it seems it does not play well with others. Still, the Solerno website has heaps of recipes and I’m curious to see if any of them become firm favourites. But it’s no big deal if they don’t – for lazy weekend drinking there’s nothing wrong with sipping good old Solerno and soda!