Vanilla Root Beer Sour


By Dan Q. Dao and Kat Craddock

Published on April 4, 2017

This traditional sour recipe doubles up on the root-beer notes naturally found in the hoja santa leaf, infusing the leaves into an aromatic simple syrup and dropping in root beer bitters as a garnish. The vanilla comes from the addition of Licor 43, a Spanish liqueur rife bursting with vanilla, fruit, and spice aromas.

Hoja Santa Leaves


For the hoja santa-infused simple syrup:

  • 34 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup hoja santa leaves, roughly chopped (4-5 large leaves)

For the cocktail:

  • 34 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 34 oz. hoja santa syrup
  • 12 oz. Licor 43
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 oz. Jamaican rum, preferably Appleton Estate Jamaican Gold
  • 2 dashes root beer or sassafras bitters, preferably Bittered Sling plum and root beer, as garnish
  • 1 hoja santa leaf, as garnish


Step 1

Make the hoja santa syrup: In a small pot combine ¾ cup cane sugar and ¾ cup cold water. Heat over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the syrup begins to simmer, remove from heat and immediately add the hoja santa. Steep the leaves in the syrup until room temperature, then set a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl. Strain the syrup, sqeezing the leaves against the strainer to extract as much flavor as possible. Use immediately or save the in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Step 2

In a cocktail shaker, combine the lime juice, Licor 43, hoja santa syrup, rum, and egg white and dry shake, without ice, for 15-20 seconds.

Step 3

Fill the shaker with ice and shake an additional 20 seconds to aerate the egg white.

Step 4

Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with skewered hoja santa leaf and drops of bitters.

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