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Esperança: Passionfruit and Chocolate Sour

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Esperança Sour

Esperança is a passionfruit and chocolate Sour made with homemade Passionfruit Syrup with a base of Brazilian Cachaça modified with Amontillado Sherry and accented with dark Crème de Cacao, soured with Lactic Acid Solution, and sweetened with homemade Almond Orgeat. Esperança draws on the recipes of the tropical Saturn tiki drink and the deco Twentieth Century cocktail for inspiration but departs from these templates by using lactic acid instead of lemon juice for an exploration of a pairing of passionfruit with Cachaça with accents of dark Crème de Cacao for chocolate flavour and Sherry for complex umami and nutty notes that marry the Almond Orgeat with the passionfruit. Lactic acid solution offers a means of souring the Esperança and of adding a super smooth creamy mouth feel. The Esperança – hope in Portuguese –  looks to a beautiful inclusive vision of the future characterised by gorgeous uplifting orange-yellow of tropical Passionfruit Syrup and fresh passionfruit married with herbaceous, grassy fresh notes of Cachaça enhanced by fruity dark earthy chocolate and complex savoury nutty Sherry, sweetened with creamy nutty orgeat, soured with drops of lactic acid for neutral sourness and creamy smoothness.

What is a Saturn? Tropical tiki drink

Cocktail historian Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry (2010: 156; also see Cate 2016: 1069-1076) in Beachbum Berry’s Remixed: A Gallery of Tiki Cocktails writes that a Saturn is a tropical tiki drink created by J. ‘Popo’ Galsini and the winning entry of the International Bartender’s Association (IBA) World Championship Majorca 1967 where Galsini represented the California Bartender’s Guild. Berry (2010: 156) writes that the Saturn was originally named after the X-15 jet, however, after a fatal X-15 crash Galsini renamed the cocktail the Saturn. Galsini’s Saturn followed a Sour formula calling for lemon juice, Passionfruit Syrup, Falernum, Orgeat, Gin and crushed ice (Berry 2010: 156). The Saturn explores a combination of lemon, passionfruit, lime in Falernum, and almond with Gin. The ingredients in the Saturn are:

  • Lemon juice
  • Passionfruit Syrup
  • Falernum
  • Orgeat
  • Gin
  • Crushed Ice

In Smuggler’s Cove  Martin Cate (2016: 1069-1076) offers a modern interpretation of the Saturn recipe that increases the lemon to ¾ oz. rather than ½ oz. and leaves out the crushed ice instead opting to shake with cracked ice and strain.

passionfruits and passionfruit shells for making passionfruit syrup for the esperança
Passionfruits and passionfruit shells for making Passionfruit Syrup for the Esperança

How to make a Saturn: Blend & Pour or Shake & Strain

Berry (2010: 156) details the method for making a Saturn as adding all ingredients to a blender, blending, and pouring directly into a pilsner glass for serving:

“Put everything into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour unstrained into pilsner glass.”

Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry (2010: 156). Beachbum Berry’s Remixed: A Gallery of Tiki Cocktails. Club Tiki Press: California.

In a modern interpretation from Martin Cate (2016: 1069-1076), Cate adds the Saturn ingredients to a shaking tin filled with cracked ice, and shakes, and stains into a chilled coupe, which is then garnished with a lemon zest rings of Saturn garnish.

beginning to pour the esperança
Beginning to pour the Esperança

What is a Twentieth Century cocktail? Deco Sour

A Twentieth Century cocktail appears in W.J. Tarling’s (1937: 191) Café Royal Cocktail Book: Coronation Edition and is a Sour calling for Dry Gin, Crème de Cacao, Lillet, and lemon juice. W.J. Tarling (1937: 191) in Café Royal Cocktail Book: Coronation Edition attributes invention of the Twentieth Century cocktail recipe to C.A. Tuck. Jim Meehan (2011: 58-60) in The PDT Cocktail Book writes that the Twentieth Century was named for the:

“Twentieth Century Limited luxury train that travelled between New York City and Chicago from 1902 to 1967.”

Jim Meehan (2011: 59). The PDT Cocktail Book. Sterling Epicure: New York.

The ingredients in the Twentieth Century are:

  • Lemon juice
  • Lillet
  • White Crème de Cacao
  • Dry Gin

How to make a Twentieth Century Cocktail: Shake

The method detailed in the Café Royal Cocktail Book Coronation Edition is to ‘shake’ all the ingredients (Tarling 1937: 191).

more pouring esperança
More pouring Esperança

21st Century Cocktail

Jim Meehan (2011: 58-60) in The PDT Cocktail Book writes that under the ‘guidance’ of Audrey Saunders he made a variation on the Twentieth Century cocktail using Blanco Tequila as a base rather than Dry Gin for the Pegu Club, naming the variation the 21st Century. The 21st Century calls for Blanco Tequila, White Crème de Cacao, and lemon juice which Jim Meehan (2011: 58-60) serves in a Pernod rinsed glass. The ingredients in the 21st Century are:

  • Lemon juice
  • White Crème de Cacao
  • Blanco Tequila
  • Pernod rinse

How to make a 21st Century Cocktail: Shake & Strain

Jim Meehan (2011: 59-60) writes that the method for making the 21st Century is to shake and strain, he writes:

“Shake with ice and strain into a chilled, Pernod rinsed coupe
No garnish”

Jim Meehan (2011: 59-60). The PDT Cocktail Book. Sterling Epicure: New York.

esperança with 3 bubbles just after being poured
Esperança with 3 bubbles just after being poured

How is the Esperança different?

The Esperança borrows elements from tropical tiki and deco Gin Sours – the Saturn which uses lemon and passionfruit with orgeat and Falernum and the Twentieth Century which uses lemon and white chocolate liqueur with Lillet. The Esperança retains passionfruit and orgeat, marrying this with accents of dark chocolate liqueur and savoury, nutty Amontillado Sherry, with a base of Brazilian Cachaça instead of Gin. In place of citrus the Esperança uses a lactic acid solution as a souring element and texture enhancer for additional creaminess. Ingredients in the Esperança are:

  • Lactic Acid Solution 10%, Lactart (replaces Lemon: Saturn & Twentieth Century)
  • Fresh Passionfruit Syrup (Saturn)
  • Almond Orgeat (Saturn)
  • Amontillado Sherry (replaces Lillet: Twentieth Century)
  • Dark Crème de Cacao (replaces Falernum: Saturn, White Crème de Cacao: Twentieth Century)
  • Cachaça (replaces Gin: Saturn & Twentieth Century)

Sour: Lactic Acid Solution 10%, Lactart

I have replaced the lemon juice in both the Saturn and the Twentieth Century cocktail with a 10% Lactic Acid Solution, also known as Lactart in vintage soda fountain recipes (see Hiss 1897). I made a 10% Lactic Acid Solution using 100% pure powdered form lactic acid and water weighed on a small increment scale. For more tips on how to make your own lactic acid solution see my posts on Pineapple pistachio cream lactart and Passionfruit and chocolate cream lactarts. I have referred to Dave Arnold’s (2014) Liquid Intelligence for methods of mixing and using acid solutions in cocktails. Using lactic acid solution as a souring agent allows the characteristics of the base spirit to shine through – in this case the grassy, herbaceous notes of Cachaça married with tropical fruitiness of passionfruit and dark chocolate. Lactic acid solution adds a super creamy mouthfeel to the Esperança.

fresh passionfruit for making passionfruit syrup for the esperança
Fresh in season passionfruit for making Passionfruit Syrup for the Esperança
fresh passionfruits and demerara sugar for making passionfruit syrup for the esperança
Fresh in season passionfruits and demerara sugar for making Passionfruit Syrup for the Esperança

Fruit/Sour: Fresh Passionfruit Syrup

I have retained Passionfruit Syrup from the Saturn recipe and the one I used here is based on the soda fountain strawberry syrup recipe of Emil Hiss (1897: 88) in The standard manual of soda and other beverages. I mixed fresh in season passionfruit pulp with demerara sugar and citric acid and macerated overnight in the fridge. I then strained and decanted the Passionfruit Syrup into a clean glass container for storage in the fridge. Passionfruit has a slight acidity enhanced by the citric acid powder and lactic acid solution. For other recipes using Passionfruit Syrup see my post on Passionfruit and chocolate cream lactarts, fancy vintage style soda fountain drinks. Passionfruit originated in Brazil and pairs wonderfully with Brazilian Cachaça a spirit made from fermented sugar cane juice.

fresh passionfruit pulp for making passionfruit syrup for the Esperança
Fresh passionfruit pulp from fresh in season passionfruit for making Passionfruit Syrup for the Esperança
passionfruit syrup with fresh passionfruit for the esperança
Fresh Passionfruit Syrup with fresh passionfruit and passionfruit pulp for the Esperança

Sweet/Nutty/Creamy: Almond Orgeat

I have also retained Almond Orgeat from the Saturn recipe and I here used toasted almonds, water, sugar, rose water and orange flower water for a creamy, nutty syrup with delicate floral notes. The method I have used to make Almond Orgeat is that recommended for making Any nut orgeat by Dave Arnold (2014) in Liquid IntelligenceI blended nuts and water to make nut milk, strained, measured, and added an equal amount of sugar, stabilising the syrup with a pinch of xanthan.

almonds and caster sugar for making orgeat for the esperança
Almonds and caster sugar for making toasted Almond Orgeat for the Esperança

Modifier/Nutty/Umami: Amontillado Sherry

I have swapped out the Lillet in the Twentieth Century for Barbadillo Principe Amontillado Sherry, for nutty, umami notes and complexity. In the 21st Century Meehan and Saunders (Meehan 2010: 59-60) leave out the Lillet but use a Pernod rinse instead. The modifier element is not present in the Saturn which instead relies on an accent of Falernum.

Accent/Sweet/Bitter: Dark Crème de Cacao

Instead of White Crème de Cacao I have used a Dark Crème de Cacao for rich chocolate flavour. I used the Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao a la Vanille which offers a beautiful rich dark chocolate flavour and creamy smooth mouthfeel from the high sugar content. The use of Crème de Cacao is in line with the Twentieth Century recipe although that calls for a White Crème de Cacao rather than the dark version used here. In terms of the Saturn recipe the Crème de Cacao takes the place of the Falernum and introduces a pairing of passionfruit with chocolate that enhances fruity notes, see Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg’s The Flavour Bible (Page & Dornenburg 2008: 250).

Base/Herbaceous/Grassy: Cachaça

I have used a base of Cachaça, here Sagatiba Christalina Cachaça, a Brazilian sugar cane based spirit made from fermented sugar cane juice, which has grassy, herbaceous notes that work wonderfully with passionfruit and chocolate. I have used Cachaça in place of the Gin base in both the Saturn and Twentieth Century recipes. I thought about swapping out the base for these cocktails after reading about Jim Meehan and Audrey Saunders 21st Century (Meehan 2010: 58-60) which uses Blanco Tequila as a base for their version of the Twentieth Century. I chose Cachaça as the base due to the affinity Cachaça has with the tropical fruity flavour of passionfruit. Interestingly, both passionfruit and Cachaça originate in Brazil.

end pouring the esperança
End pouring the Esperança

How to make an Esperança: Shake & Strain

I made the Esperança by adding all the ingredients to a shaker tin with ice, shaking and straining into a chilled fancy footed sherry or port glass. I served the Esperança with Koko Black Waffly Wafer chocolate and half a fresh passionfruit for added aroma and texture.

Styling the Esperança: Fresh Passionfruit and Wafer Chocolate

I styled the Esperança in a small fancy footed glass on a deco style black and white sun/flower patterned stone tile set on a contrasting bright pink background. The pink brings out the smooth orange and yellow tones of the passionfruit in the Esperança. Serving the Esperança with a half passionfruit and wafer chocolate adds textural contrast to the smooth passionfruit and orgeat of the cocktail – linking the Esperança with seasonal passionfruit. The Koko Black Waffly Wafer chocolate is moulded into deco style geometric shapes that connect with the black and white design on the tile. The Esperança or Hope, is a celebration of in season passionfruit complemented by creamy orgeat, rich dark chocolate, complex umami, and nutty Sherry, with an herbaceous base of Cachaça for a complex and lusciously smooth Sour. The Saturn and the Twentieth Century imagined a future characterised by speed – of a jet, or one of the fastest rotating planets Saturn, or a luxury train. The Esperança imagines a future of orange-yellow uplifting and delicious passionfruit and hope.

esperança with 2 bubbles shortly after being poured
Esperança with 2 bubbles shortly after being poured
esperança cocktail
Esperança with fresh passionfruit and Koko Black Waffly Wafer Chocolate

Esperança: Passionfruit and Chocolate Sour

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Esperança cocktail; 1 small batch Passionfruit Syrup and Lactic Acid Solution 10% Cooking Time: Esperança cocktail (5 minutes); Passionfruit Syrup (5 minutes + 12 hours maceration); Lactic Acid Solution 10% (5 minutes)


  • PASSIONFRUIT SYRUP: 1 cup passionfruit pulp
  • ½ cup demerara sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon citric acid
  • 1 oz. water
  • ALMOND ORGEAT SYRUP: 100grms toasted almonds
  • 330grms hot water
  • 1 cup raw caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 1 pinch xanthan gum
  • LACTIC ACID SOLUTION 10%: 6grms lactic acid powder 100% purity (by weight)
  • 60grms water (by weight)
  • ESPERANÇA: ¼ oz. Passionfruit Syrup
  • ¼ oz. Almond Orgeat
  • ½ teaspoon Lactic Acid Solution 10% or Lactart
  • ¼ oz. Amontillado Sherry, Barbadillo Principe
  • ¼ oz. Dark Crème de Cacao, Tempus Fugit
  • 1 ½ oz. Cachaça, Sagatiba Christalina



PASSIONFRUIT SYRUP: Combine passionfruit pulp, sugar, water and citric acid in a nonreactive container and macerate in the fridge overnight


Stir periodically to dissolve sugar


Strain through a fine mesh sieve


Decant into a clean glass jar and store in the fridge


ALMOND ORGEAT SYRUP: Add toasted almonds and hot water to a blender


Blend until a milky consistency has been formed


Strain into a clean jug using a nut milk bag


Remove the almond solids – save for another use such as making cookies


Add the almond milk back into a clean blender along with caster sugar and a pinch of xanthan gum


Blend until well combined


Add rosewater and orange flower water and stir to combine


Decant into a clean glass container and store in the fridge


LACTIC ACID SOLUTION 10%: Measure lactic acid powder and water by weight using a kitchen scale with small increments


To measure lactic acid powder by weight, use a small square of baking paper inside the measuring container and zero the scale with the paper present to assist in making small adjustments by gently tilting the paper to remove a small amount of powder into a clean teaspoon if required


To measure water by weight, add a small container to the scale and zero the scale – measure water by weight by adding slowly into the container


Add lactic acid powder and water to a non-reactive container such as a glass jug and stir to combine


Carefully decant into a glass bitters bottle with dropper top


Use ½-1 teaspoon in drinks as a souring and texturing agent to add creaminess


Wash hands and measuring utensils well after working with acids and follow product instructions


ESPERANÇA: Add Passionfruit Syrup, Almond Orgeat, Lactic Acid Solution 10%, Amontillado Sherry, Dark Crème de Cacao and Cachaça to a mixing tin with ice


Seal tins and shake well for 30 seconds


Strain into a chilled footed port or sherry glass


Serve with half a fresh passionfruit and pieces of Koko Black Waffly Wafer chocolate



Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry (2010). Beachbum Berry’s Remixed: A Gallery of Tiki Cocktails. Club Tiki Press: California.

Martin Cate with Rebecca Cate (2016). Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic cocktails, rum, and the cult of Tiki. Ten Speed Press: New York.


Jim Meehan (2011). The PDT Cocktail Book. Sterling Epicure: New York.

W.J. Tarling (1937). Café Royal Cocktail Book: Coronation Edition. Pall Mall: London.


Emil Hiss (1897). The standard manual of soda and other beverages: A treatise especially adapted to the requirements of druggists and confectioners. G.P. Engelhard: Chicago.


Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg (2008). The Flavour Bible. Voracious, Little Brown and Company: New York, Boston, London.


Dave Arnold (2014). Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail. W.W. Norton & Company: New York & London.

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