Ojai Pixie Sour
We recently spent a couple of days in the beautiful Ojai Valley, visiting some of the small family farms that grow our Pixie tangerines. The trees are nestled into the hills, and when we arrived, their branches were heavy with tiny tangerines, all ripe, all ready to be harvested. What a pleasure it is to pick a Pixie — okay, five or six Pixies — right off the tree and eat them standing in the warm sunshine! They’re sweet as can be, not even a hint of pucker, but they’ve still got a wonderful, tangy depth. They’re also terrifically juicy: our hands were fairly covered in the sticky stuff.
Even as we stood in the fields, we thought, “Well, well, well, this will make a fantastic cocktail.” Inspired by the near-rhyme of Pixie and whiskey, we rushed back to the test kitchen to concoct this Ojai Pixie sour.
We started with an earthy thyme simple syrup — it helps balance out the Pixie’s bold, fruity sweetness. We also added a very wee bit of the pucker back in with a half-shot of lemon juice, and we like how it brings out the tangerine’s tangy depth. Once the juices and syrup are shaken up with the egg white and a generous pour of bourbon, the cocktail has all the light, fluffy body of a classic whiskey sour, but none of the bite. It’s soft and floral and full of Ojai sunshine.
With its lovely peachy hue, this cocktail has an elegance well-suited to grand occasions. Make it when you finish a big, messy house project. Make it when your S.O. does something sweet and generous. And make it when you finish work early on a Friday, the weather is especially fine — and you’re footloose and fancy-free for the whole weekend.
For the thyme simple syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
12 fresh thyme sprigs
For the cocktail:
2 oz bourbon
1 oz Ojai Pixie tangerine juice
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz thyme simple syrup
1 egg white
Pixie peel and thyme sprig, for garnish
To make the simple syrup: In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients, and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat, and allow the thyme to steep for 10 minutes.
Strain the syrup into a jar, discard the thyme, and let the syrup cool. Note: the simple syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
To make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, Ojai Pixie juice, lemon juice, thyme simple syrup, and egg white. Shake vigorously until frothy.
Add the ice and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker feels cold and appears frosty.
Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass, garnish with a pixie peel and sprig of thyme, and serve immediately.