Get To Know - Sloe Gin Sour - Hains & Co

If you like a good sour, then Josh Mack from Hains & Co in Adelaide shows us how to create their riff on a Sloe Gin Sour, the Crimson Mainsail.

By: Tiff Christie|April 19,2019

Having recently celebrated their 4th birthday, Hains & Co is a mainstay on the Adelaide Cocktail scene. Open every day, with a wide selection of reinterpreted classics and a nicely nautical theme, it’s no wonder that this bar is a favourite with many in the hospitality scene, as well as the general public alike.

So when we asked Josh Mack, the bar manager at Adelaide’ Hains & Co to show us just how well a classic can be reinterpreted, it’s not surprising that he came back with the Crimson Mainsail, the bar’s very own riff on a Sloe Gin Sour.


“We do a lot of twists on classic,” said Mack. “I think classics are there for a reason, so we like to put our spin on them and test out ways that we can improve on them

Their drink, the Crimson Mainsail, is just one example of what a good understanding of flavour combinations can achieve. Based on the classic cocktail, a Sloe Gin Sour, the drink adds a little Bourbon to the mix, for a full-bodied sour that Mac believes is perfect at the end of a night.

“I think you have a fair bit of room to play with a sour because there are so many elements to it,” he said. “You can easily swap ingredients out and make it sweeter or sourer. They are a very nice drink all year round and especially late night they are really good.”

Sloe Gin

“The slow gin is important for the flavour profile,” said Mack. “Particularly the Plymouth Sloe Gin that we use, is quite rich and very clean for a Sloe Gin. Sometimes if you’re using the unfiltered stuff it adds a totally different spice.

“The Sloe Gin is really like a botanical berry liqueur, with a bit more of a kick. It’s probably a little less sugary than a lot of your other berry liqueurs like Cassis or a Creme de Mere or any other similar sort of thing.”


The riff with this cocktail comes with the addition of Bourbon, which Mack comments adds complexity and viscosity to the drink. “I find it really rounds off the drink really well. The caramels and the little bits of Vanilla in there … they don’t overpower the Sloe gin but give it a really nice backing.

“I think adding the addition of Bourbon to a Sloe Gin Sour is a really cool way of teaching people that they can drink other spirits as well. While you might make it into the drink, a lot of people wouldn’t even know it was there.”

Egg White

While some bars chose to use Aquafaba rather than egg whites for sustainability reasons, Mack points out that Hains have chosen to use carton egg whites, so as not to be in the position to have to discard egg yolks.

“It’s important to remember not to overdo the egg. Instead of using a whole 30mls (1oz) we use a little bit less (22.5mls or 0.76oz) and that really tends to work well”.


Mack points out that the combination of Angostura Bitters and dried Grapefruit as a garnish, go a long way to hiding any egg-y smell that you might get from other Sour recipes.

“Some people are really quite turned off by the smell of the egg whites in a sour, but we find that the addition of bitters at the end will go a long way to mask that. With the Angostura Bitters, you get a much more of an aromatic smell which helps the drink a lot.


A common problem with a dry shake (without the addition of ice), is that the tins can easily split apart while shaking. Mack says the solution to that is to add a single ice cubs to the dry shake. “If your shakers aren’t closing as well as you want and you feel like they are just going to explode on you, the addition of one ice cube, just to seal that off a bit, can make all the difference.

Mack stresses though that in a dry shake. You really don’t want to add any dilution. “Give that a quick, emulsify shake, or in other words quite a hard shake. I generally use one hand and just whip it back and forwards quite vigorously, just to get that really nice foam and really mix it together.”

Crimson Mainsail


40mls Sloe Gin

15mls Bourbon

30mls Lemon Juice

10mls Sugar Syrup

22.5mls of egg white


Add all ingredients to a shaker. Firstly, dry shake (without ice) and then wet shake (with ice) and double strained into a Coupette glass



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Get To Know - Sloe Gin Sour - Hains & Co

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