These were without doubt the most popular drink that we served in the restaurant I ran in Cyprus! They are known as the National Drink of Cyprus, and are delicious as well as being very refreshing. We used to make these with the local Cypriot brandy, which is not as strong as normal French brandy or cognac and has a delectable caramel taste to it. We also used the local angostura bitters, known as "Cock Drops", which as you can imagine, brought raised eyebrows and howls of laughter from overseas guests and tourists! A little history behind the cocktail: The Cypriot Brandy Sour style was developed following the introduction of the first blended brandy made on Cyprus, by the Haggipavlu family, in the early 1930s. The cocktail was developed at the Forest Park Hotel, in the hill-resort of Plátres in the beautiful Troodos Mountain range, for the young King Farouk of Egypt, who often stayed at the hotel during his frequent visits to the island. The Brandy Sour was introduced as an alcoholic substitute for iced tea, as a way of disguising the Muslim monarch's preference for Western-style cocktails. The drink subsequently spread to other bars and hotels in the fasionable Platres area, before making its way to the coastal resorts of Limassol, Paphos and Kyrenia, and the capital Nicosia. With increasing numbers of tourists visiting the island in the last thirty years, and the large garrison of British servicemen stationed on the island, the Cypriot Brandy Sour is now known around the world. This is how we used to make them in our restaurant - a trade secet shared!!
- Add the angostura bitters to a tall glass, and then pour in the brandy followed by the lemon cordial. (2 measures of brandy to 1 measure of lemon cordial is the ratio.).
- Stir before topping up with lemonade (for a classic, slightly sweeter drink) or soda water (for less sweetness and a more pronounced brandy flavour) and add plenty of ice.