Sweet and Sour Mix uses the season’s freshest citrus, and is so easy to make at home, no special equipment. Quick and economical, this mix tastes so much better than store-bought!
It all started innocently enough at the grocery store. Although my Kroger carries a moderate selection of wine and spirits, I rarely shop for those items there.
Still, I was very confused one day when, in the hunt for sweet & sour mix, I couldn’t find any (and ditto for the department’s one employee. She’s conveniently no where to be found and the main customer service desk has two double lines snaking around the lobby, as usual).
Exasperation set in. Who carries 22 kinds of de Kuyper liqueurs but no sweet & sour mix?
Turns out, sweet & sour mix is sold alllll the way at the other end of this ginormous store, with the club sodas and seltzers, but it was unbeknownst to a very irritated me on that day. (And I wouldn’t learn it until weeks later, when a search for grenadine finally uncovered the stash of sweet & sour mixes.)
But, what did happen that day, serendipitously, was me stocking up on citrus fruits.
Lots of lemons, limes and the season’s amazing oranges. Earmarked for nothing in particular, except maybe some zesting, some salted lemon preserves, some small batch blood orange marmalade, and margaritas, if anything was left over (and of course I would make sure there was something left for margaritas, silly).
Later, still miffed about the sweet and sour mix, I googled same. Not sure what I was expecting, but what I got were many sites explaining how to DIY it.
Sweet and sour mix? Could it be? Would it work?
I had to find out. No two sites shared the same formula, but I was willing to wing it.
So, some sugar and a few citrus carcasses later, I had me some mighty fine sweet and sour mix. I can’t emphasize how fresh this stuff is. Night and day, from the cough-syrupy goo sold in bottles.
No cooking, no electronics. Just a whisk. It comes together as fast as you can squeeze fruit (took me about 5 minutes with one of these things).
And I found myself mentally thanking Kroger — for probably the first and only time — for its nonsensical store layout. Otherwise, I might never have known the beauty of the homemade sweet and sour mix.
Two Ways to Make Sweet and Sour Mix at Home
If you can, use freshly squeezed citrus juice. The flavor is significantly better and lighter than bottled. A citrus squeezer is your friend here!
- The No-Cook Method: Whisk the citrus juice with superfine sugar in a large bowl until dissolved. You can use regular granulated sugar, but the whisking process will take longer.
- Stove Top Method: Heat 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a 1/2 water over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium (or medium-high) heat. Stir until dissolved. Continue cooking for another five minutes, until the solution turns syrupy. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Whisk in the citrus juices.
With either method, transfer the sweet and sour mix to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. The sour mix will keep for about two weeks.
Oh! And about the pink color in the photos. I had blood oranges on hand, so that’s what went in. Isn’t the color fabulous? I quickly made amaretto sour shots (also in the photos) to test how the mix tasted in boozy action (fabulous, it was, just like the color).
And then I went all “Hmmm … DIY amaretto … I wonder …” Yes, it’s possible!
Create beautiful and refreshing cocktails and mocktails with this super easy sweet and sour mix!
Sweet & Sour Mix
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 small lemons)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 5 small limes)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (2 small-medium Moro blood oranges; off-season, substitute with regular orange juice)
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar (or give regular granulated sugar a quick whirl through the food processor; superfine (or bartender'sugar dissolves very quickly)
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Makes a tad over 1 1/4 cups. To adjust recipe yield up or down, just use this simple formula: 2 parts lemon juice, 2 parts lime juice, 1 part orange juice, 2 parts superfine sugar.
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