A whiskey sour is a classic cocktail made with whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar. It is typically served in a rocks glass over ice. The ingredients are typically shaken or stirred, and then strained into the glass. Some variations of the whiskey sour include the addition of egg whites, which gives the drink a frothy texture, or the use of a different type of sweetener, such as simple syrup or honey.
Here is a simple recipe for a classic whiskey sour:
- 2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 1 dash Angostura bitters (optional)
- Maraschino cherry and an orange wheel (for garnish)
- Fill a shaker with ice.
- Add the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters (if using) to the shaker.
- Shake well for about 10-15 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a cherry and an orange wheel, if desired.
- Serve and enjoy!
Note: Simple Syrup is a 1:1 mixture of sugar and water, you can make it at home by heating equal parts of sugar and water in a pan until the sugar is dissolved and let it cool down.
You can also change the amount of ingredients to taste, if you like it more sour, add more lemon juice, if you like it sweeter, add more simple syrup.
Whiskey Sour History
The whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that has been around for over a century. Its origins can be traced back to the early 1800s, when sailors on long voyages would mix their limited supplies of whiskey with lemon or lime juice to make the drink more palatable. The sour part of the name refers to the acidity of the citrus juice, which helps to balance out the sweetness of the sugar and the strong flavor of the whiskey.
The first written recipe for a whiskey sour appears in the 1862 book “The Bon Vivant’s Companion,” by Jerry Thomas, a well-known bartender of the time. The recipe calls for whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and a dash of bitters, which is similar to the recipe used today.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the whiskey sour became a popular drink in the United States, particularly in the Midwest and in states where whiskey was produced. In the early 20th century, the whiskey sour was also popular among the middle and upper classes, as it was seen as a sophisticated and refined drink.
In the 1920s, the whiskey sour became even more popular with the rise of prohibition, as it was one of the few alcoholic drinks that could be made easily and discreetly at home.
Today the whiskey sour remains a classic cocktail, enjoyed by many around the world. With variations like the Boston Sour, made with egg white, and the New York Sour, made with a float of red wine on top, showing its versatility.
Whiskey Sour Variations
There are several variations of the classic whiskey sour cocktail that you may come across:
- Boston Sour: This version of the whiskey sour includes the addition of an egg white, which gives the drink a frothy texture and a creamy mouthfeel. The egg white also helps to mellow out the acidity of the lemon juice and the bite of the whiskey.
- New York Sour: This variation adds a float of red wine on top of the cocktail, which creates a distinct layered effect and a unique flavour profile. The wine is typically drizzled over the back of a spoon, so that it floats on top of the whiskey sour without mixing in.
- Amaretto Sour: This variation uses Amaretto, an almond-flavored liqueur, in place of simple syrup to give the drink a nutty and sweet flavour profile.
- Peach Whiskey Sour: This variation uses fresh or canned peach puree in place of simple syrup. It gives a peachy sweet taste and a light yellow color to the drink.
- Mint Julep Sour: This variation uses fresh mint leaves muddled with the whiskey and simple syrup. It gives a refreshing minty flavour to the drink.
- Sour Apple: This variation uses apple liqueur, such as Calvados or Applejack, in place of simple syrup. It gives a sweet and fruity flavour profile to the drink.
These are just a few examples of the many variations of the whiskey sour. You can always experiment with different ingredients and techniques to create your own unique version of this classic cocktail.
Best Whiskey to use for a Whiskey Sour
When making a whiskey sour, it’s best to use a high-quality whiskey that has a good balance of sweetness, spice, and smokiness. Here are some popular whiskey brands that are well-suited for a whiskey sour:
- Bourbon: Brands such as Maker’s Mark, Bulleit, and Woodford Reserve are all well-regarded for their balance of sweet, spicy, and smoky flavors, making them great options for a whiskey sour.
- Rye: Rye whiskey tends to have a spicier flavor profile than bourbon, which can add an extra layer of complexity to a whiskey sour. Brands such as Rittenhouse, Sazerac, and Bulleit Rye are all good options.
- Canadian: Canadian whiskies such as Crown Royal or Canadian Club are also a good option for a whiskey sour. They are known for their smooth and gentle flavor, which can make the drink more approachable.
- Irish: Irish whiskies such as Jameson or Bushmills are also a good option, they are smooth and easy to drink, they can give a nice balance to a whiskey sour, they are known for their softness and sweetness.
- Scottish: Scottish whiskies such as Johnnie Walker, Glenmorangie or Macallan are also a good option, they are known for their smoky and peaty flavour, which can give a nice complexity to a whiskey sour.
Keep in mind that you can always experiment with different whiskey brands to find the one that best suits your taste. Also, you can always adjust the amount of ingredients to taste, if you find the whiskey too strong you can add a bit more lemon juice or simple syrup.