Drink of the Week: Fumo’s Cal Neva Sour

This week’s featured drink is Fumo’s Cal Neva Sour.
Robert Galloway/Tahoe Daily Tribune

In our Drink of the Week segment, we’ll showcase one unique type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try at one of the countless breweries, bars and restaurants from around the basin.

For the sour aficionados out there, the traditional whiskey sour mixes whiskey, lemon juice, and a sweetener (sugar). Throw in some egg whites and it’s sometimes called a Boston Sour. Add a swirl or two of red wine and you get a New York Sour. Throw it all together in Tahoe and you have this week’s drink: the Cal Neva Sour.

Being able to combine two of my favorites (whiskey and red wine), this cocktail is definitely towards the top of list. This version combines whiskey, egg whites, lemon, honey, and Malbec. And borrowing a name from the nearby resort (or used to be), I could absolutely see Frankie and Dean slinging these back in the day.

If we build this up like a sour Lego, the base (whiskey, lemon and honey) is spot on. The honey, substituting for the sweet component, hugs the whiskey like a big Lake Tahoe black bear and lets the lemon seep into each sip so you get a balance of sweet, sour and slightly smoky.

I’m a big fan of egg whites in cocktails, so the addition here is not only welcomed, but adds an element of creaminess that you’re not getting with any other ingredient. It’s also bringing with it a mouth-feel that’s as smooth as silk on a shoeshine.

Rounding out the drink we have the Malbec – a red wine that is typically big fruit and full-bodied. You might think adding this to the drink is weird, but I assure you once you taste it, the clouds will part and everything will become crystal clear. That’s because it hitches its wagon to the rest of the ingredients and not only compliments them, but makes them better by adding in a layer of complexity and richness.

New York, Boston, Lake Tahoe — luckily you don’t need to be in these places to enjoy this cocktail. But, as far as the view goes, one of those clearly has an edge. Lucky us.

Fumo is located at 120 Country Club Dr. #61 in Incline Village. For drink and food menu visit them online at or be “old fashioned” and give them a call at 775-833-2200.

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