The manuka maple sour is a pure delight and a great cocktail for autumn. It is simple to make and features a fun honey-flavored vodka.
The star of this cocktail is 42 Below Honey Vodka and this is a signature recipe for the brand. Not only is it a perfect use for this unique vodka, it's also the ideal example of a truly great cocktail.
The recipe includes the base liquor accented with a touch of sweet, sour, and bitter, all of the elements that define a cocktail. The result is a perfectly balanced drink that is modern but has a style that rivals any of the best classic cocktails.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all of the ingredients.
Garnish with a lemon zest.
This recipe was created by 42 Below Vodka to show off their honey-flavored vodka. The New Zealand distiller was among the first to debut the flavor and it remains one of the best brands for it. The balance they found between the alcohol and the sweet manuka honey is definitely hard to beat. Above all your other options, try this cocktail with this vodka.
If you cannot find 42 Below, you do have options. Among the best are the honey vodkas from small distilleries and a couple in the U.S. are producing fine examples. These include Barr Hill Vodka from Caledonia Spirits in Vermont and Spring 44 out of Colorado.
You know 42 Below hit a great flavor with honey because in recent years a number of the big names in vodka released a bottle in this flavor. Brands like Absolut, Smirnoff, and Stolichnaya now offer a honey vodka. These may not be our top recommendations, though you could certainly try them.
In past experience, the bigger distillers tend to over-sweeten their flavored vodkas. In contrast, craft distillers tend to take the time to get them absolutely perfect. If you do pick up a sweeter honey vodka, you might need to back off a bit on the syrup used in the cocktail.
How Strong Is the Manuka Maple Sour?
Typically, a cocktail that has only one liquor is a relatively mild drink and this recipe follows suit. 42 Below Honey is bottled at 80 proof rather than 70 proof, which is standard for flavored vodkas. This small difference makes the drink a little more powerful.
If you follow the recipe, you can expect your manuka maple sour to weigh in right around 16 percent ABV (32 proof). While it's not the lightest drink, it is significantly less potent than liquor-only cocktails like the vodka martini. Don't let this fool you though. Sweeter drinks tend to make us drink more, so it's still wise to take it easy with this one.