Mixologist Report: Goodness in a glass

A complex combination of flavors topped with foamy egg whites make this cocktail sing

A drink with six or seven different layers “running neck and neck” might sound overwhelming, but Skate Pierce’s Amaro Sour is anything but.

In Pierce’s words, “it’s complex but balanced.”

One sip confirms this.

Pierce, owner and bartender at Hogan’s Pub, 906 Sixth St., demonstrated this variation on the classic egg-white cocktail, most commonly manifested as a whiskey sour, on a recent afternoon at his downtown Clarkston haunt.

Known as a welcoming space for all comers, with eclectic live music and themed bingo nights, Hogan’s itself might be described as complex but balanced. It has an edgy but unpretentious vibe, at once transporting and grounded in the local.

In addition to craft cocktails, Hogan’s specializes in fresh, from-scratch food, both diner fare like hand-ground burgers and deep-fried mushrooms and more-refined offerings, such as a lavender cheesecake with lemon curd. Pierce and his wife and Hogan’s co-owner, Meghan, grow the lavender in their Clarkston yard.

The culinary side happens in a kitchen so small employees have to turn sideways to pass each other.

“If you have a closet you can walk into, it’s probably bigger,” Pierce said.

Navigating tight quarters is one kind of challenge. He’s experiencing another sort with supply chain issues that cropped up during the pandemic, affecting imported liquor such as tequila, gin, Irish whiskey — and the amaro for this sour.

“A lot of those things are really hard to get right now,” Pierce said.

All he can do is stock up when he sees they’re available from his supplier.

So savor this drink when you can get it.


click to enlarge Mixologist Report: Goodness in a glass
Austin Johnson/Inland 360
An Amaro Sour stands chilled, with a beautiful foam head, waiting to be sipped.

Amaro Sour

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce overproof rum (Pierce used Wray & Nephew: “It’s really funky and earthy.”)
  • ½ ounce allspice dram
  • ½ ounce amaro (an Italian digestive; Pierce used Amaro Montenegro)
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Bitters

Combine egg white and lemon juice in a shaker that fits together firmly (without ice to contract the metal and create a seal for this “dry shake,” you’ll need to be mindful of leakage). Give it “a nice violent shake,” about 30 seconds, which effectively “cooks” the egg white with the acid and motion.

“It’s basically a meringue,” Pierce said. “You should have a thick foam of countless tiny bubbles.”

Add rum, allspice dram, amaro, simple syrup and ice. Shake for a few seconds, just enough to chill the drink. Double strain the mixture, to avoid any egg white chunks.

“What you do want is a good bit of foam on the top,” Pierce said.

Add a few drops of bitters, which you can swirl into the foam with a toothpick.

“It’s complex,” Pierce reiterated, of the finished drink. “You want sweet and bitter and sour. I want the earthy notes from the Jamaican rum.”

And, of course, “the mouth feel of the egg, which is an important part.”

Stone can be reached at mstone@inland360.com