Drink of the Week: The Hawaiian Stone Sour


Our Labor Day Weekend DOTW for 2019 is theinvention of Dale DeGroff — the George Washington of the American cocktail revolution — who was trying to come up with accessible whiskey drinks that would remind people that summer isn’t reserved only for clear spirits. He came up with a cooling beverage that cocktailians and neophytes alike can love. It definitely works for me.

The Hawaiian Stone Sour

1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce pineapple juice (fresh or canned)
3/4 ounce lemon juice (definitely fresh!)
3/4 ounce simple syrup (or a bit less if you want more tartness)

Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake very vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain into a reasonably large rocks/old fashioned glass over fresh ice. If you feel like it, you can dress it up with a pineapple slice and/ or a cocktail cherry. Sip and simply be grateful for access to potable liquor and fresh juice — or any juice — and wonderful booze. Historically speaking, we don’t recognize how lucky we are to have easy access to all of this stuff and how there’s no guarantee our run of luck continues indefinitely.


There are some sweeter versions of this recipe online, but I think  Dale DeGroff got it right the first time.  The Hawaiian Stone Sour is pure delight, with the creamy top formed by the pineapple juice almost substituting for egg white in a regular whiskey sour. They don’t call DeGroff “King Cocktail” for nothing.

As you can see in the picture above, my bourbons were Maker’s Mark, Four Roses, and the remnants of my bottle of Evan Willians 100 proof. The strength and sweetness of the Maker’s was a real winner, but Four Roses, as always, was a valuable ultility player that was quite delicious. The Evan Williams was acceptable with fresh juice but, when I blended it with canned juice, it was my only bad version of the drink. I’d stick to the more mellow bourbons generally.

One last point. The DeGroff recipe insists that the pineapple juice be fresh. Fresh juices are a principle dogma in the cocktailian faith and, in this case, the dogma is true in the sense that using fresh pineapple is a little better. (Lemon juice really always has to be fresh.) I’m not saying that using canned pineapple juice is ever just as good as squeezing your own but, in this particular case it’s close enough that you may want go with the can or the bottled to spare yourself a little mess. I confess that my favorite version of the drink contained Maker’s and Dole.


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