How To Make A Classic Whiskey Sour
A whiskey sour is yours for the making year-round. Its refreshing enough to keep up with a spritz during the warm summer months, and so appropriate during the colder seasons of the year. Even if youre not a whiskey fan , you might still find yourself swooning over a well-crafted whiskey sour. Its that good! The secret is using fresh ingredients.
Its such an easy cocktail to make at home, and perfect for entertaining guests. Theres nothing better than hearing that ooh! from your guest when you hand them a coupe glass filled with whiskey sour goodness.
To get started, youll need some bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and one small egg .
Why Make This Whiskey Sour Recipe
I wasnt a whiskey sour fan until the drink was introduced to our family by Alexs step-father, Joe. Joe is 1,000% passionate about this sweet tart drink. When hes entertaining, hell always ask: Want a whiskey sour? So of course over the years, this drink has become the standard for festive family get-togethers.
In honor of Joes 50th birthday, we created this an all natural whiskey sour recipe as an alternative to the store-bought mix he usually buys. This recipe uses maple syrup and fresh lemon juice, and truly makes for the very best whiskey sour recipe! Joe started serving it often, and it was a hit with cousins, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncle alike. Now when our family gets together, youll see a big jug of maple syrup and a ton of lemons on the counter. Want to try out our family recipe?
To Egg White Or Not To Egg White
Have you ever seen that amazing layer of foam resting gently at the top of a cocktail? Yeah, you can thank egg white for that. To some, using raw egg whites in a cocktail is a novel concept .
Bartenders use egg whites in cocktails, like the whiskey sour, to give it a rich, creamy texture along with a smooth head of foam. To stay on the idea of fresh ingredients, use organic eggs . If youre curious about it altering the flavor, just know that egg white is flavorless. It also helps to reduce the acidity from the citrus and bind the flavors together. It enhances the presentation of your whiskey sour, too. Remember, were not settling for anything less than an ooh! from you and from your guest.
If you still feel like shaking up your cocktail with raw egg white is just too much to stomach, then feel free to leave it out!
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The History Of The Whiskey Sour
The recipe for a Whiskey Sour first appeared in print in 1862, in a book called The Bartender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas. But according to some cocktail historians, sailors invented the Whiskey Sour!
In the past, sailors were given an allowance for spirits and citrus . Put them together add a little sugar, and you have a Whiskey Sour!
It’s also possible that the Whiskey Sour is just a scaled-down version of a punch, designed to serve just one. Punches predate cocktails by quite a while, but if you look at old punch recipes, you’ll notice the basic structure of a Whiskey Sour: base spirit, citrus, and sweetener.
However the Whiskey Sour came to be, when you drink one, you can be sure you’re part of a long and proud tradition!
Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour
When presented with a cocktail menu, I just cant help but order a whiskey drink. An Old Fashioned, Manhattan, a well-made whiskey sour or any spin on the above. Im a whiskey girl. Always have been, always will be.
Naturally, when I spied the cinnamon maple sour on the menu at a local bar the other day, I had to order it. I liked it so much that I had to recreate it at home.
This whiskey sour recipe is sweetened with maple syrup, which tastes so much more interesting than basic simple syrup. The recipe includes plenty of fresh lemon juice and a hefty pinch of ground cinnamon, which offers some warming flavor for cold winter days. You can skip the cinnamon, though, if you would like a classic whiskey sour.
This is my last post before I take off for the holidays. Be merry and be safe! I appreciate you all so much for hanging out with me here and cooking my recipes in your kitchens.
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The Cocktail Bar Standard Aka Using An Egg White
- 0.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 0.75 oz. simple syrup
- 1 egg white
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin. Dry shake ingredients without ice for five seconds to whip the egg. Add ice, seal tins and shake hard for 10 to 12 seconds. Strain into coupe or martini glassitll come out white at first, and the color will emerge over the course of a minute under a paper-smooth head of foam. Express a lemon peel over the top of the foam for aroma and discard and decorate the foam with a few drops or dashes of Angostura Bitters.
The smoothest and most elegant way to make a Whiskey Sour is to make it with egg white. Now, if you were disinclined to try it before, I doubt I just sweetened the pot with the promise of a raw egg, but hear me out: Just like when you eat them, egg whites dont taste like anything really, but serve here to give the whole cocktail a velvety texture, a pretty white head, and most importantly, to bind to the tannins in the spirit, smoothing out the rougher edges of the whiskey.
A necessary note: egg whites are largely safe, but if youre nervous or immunocompromised, feel free to use in-shell pasteurized eggs. If youre vegan, you can use aquafaba, which functions more or less identically. If all you have is a carton of pre-cracked, pre-separated egg whites, perhaps consider making it as below.
You Can Put Red Wine In It
A barspoon of red wine not only adds a glorious glow to your Whiskey Sour, it also provides it with a slightly altered moniker, aka the New York Sour, and more important adds to the drinks balance. A dry red wine cuts through all that acidity and balances it out, says McCoy. His recommendation: a red with medium tannic structure, like sangiovese or merlot. He also likes to play around with other wine-based aromatized and fortified wines, like vermouth, sherry or amaro.
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Cocktail Club Host Jackson Cannon Shares This Classic Recipe Using Irish Whiskey
The International Bartenders Association lists the Whiskey Sour in a group of drinks known as The Unforgettables, old-time classics that have remained relevant to this day. This speaks to their durability over time but also in some measure to the blunt architecture that renders them delicious in their original form and capable of endless, subtle tinkering toward the creation of new versions in the line.
While its first appearance in print was in the Jerry Thomas 1862 seminal bartenders guide, it most assuredly was being well-mixed before. In support of its importance and position in our drinking lexicon, David Wondrich notes in his book Imbibe that during the long, dominant run from the 1860s through the 1960s, the Whiskey Sour was one of the cardinal points of American drinking, and one of the few that could come near to slugging it out with the vast tribe of cocktails in terms of day-in, day-out popularity.
The foundation of this cocktail is as solid as a great three-chord rock song. And as with great songs, subsequent versions add depth and shading that reinforces the truth of the original. That original was made of whiskey , with sugar and lemon in a tradition that resembles a redacted punch, but is in fact an extension of the sailors trick of elongating the life-saving qualities of citrus with sugar and alcohol.
Origin Of The Whiskey Sour
According to cocktail maestro Hayley Dixon of Proximo, the Sour cocktail is said to have been born out of the original way of making a punch.
Punches are the earliest form of cocktail we know, and due to the similarity in ingredients, many think of the punch leading the way to the Sour. Whiskey was not, however, the first sour.
In 1856 the first mention of a sour appeared on Mart Ackermanns Saloon cocktail list in Toronto, made with Gin or Brandy and then the first recipe didnt appear until 6 years later in Jerry Thomas very famous The Bartenders Guide, which contained a Brandy, Gin and Rum sour.
Interestingly the Whiskey Sour also never contained any egg white, instead, being made more in line with a Daiquiri or . Technically it was the Boston Sour that contained egg white, but thats an argument for another day.
History also suggests sours as an overruling cocktail family existed for several years prior to the publishing of that book, as they were said to be popular with naval sailors.
Why? Because it was found that eating or consuming citrus fruits provided vitamin C, vital in preventing sailors from contracting scurvy. It wasnt uncommon to find naval ships stocked with lemons, lime and oranges and because the sailors enjoyed a drink plenty of alcohol could be found on board too. In their downtime, its said the sailors experimented with mixing their various liquors with citrus juice to create a scurvy-busting and delicious beverage.
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An Easy Whiskey Cocktail
As we steer away from the warm summer months to the cooler fall weather, I find myself reaching less for the refreshing fruity cocktails and and more for the drinks that warm you from the inside out. And one of my go-to drinks is a Whiskey Sour.
Sure, you can enjoy this simple whiskey cocktail anytime but to me, the slow sips of that sweet tart taste with the warmth of whiskey are just perfect for fall. Though super simple to make , a whiskey sour always feels like a special cocktail.
Its a great drink to serve guests as well. Friends served us this cocktail last fall, before treating us to some awesome pizzas from their new outdoor pizza oven. And since we recently flipped the calendar to September, I cant get this beautiful cocktail off my mind!
Some whiskey sours include egg whites but I skipped that and stuck with the traditional bourbon sour bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup, shaken and served over ice. No unique twists here, just a simple, timeless classic!
Here are a couple more cocktails that are perfect for fall: This Apple Sangria with Bourbon and Thyme is wonderful for an evening around the bonfire. And friends always love this Cranberry Gin and Tonic!
Variations Of The Whiskey Sour
Despite bartenders introducing their own variations of the classic whiskey sour, whether it be changing the garnish or the whiskey used, there are some official variations you may wish to try. If you make what is known as the Boston Sour you can float a few bar spoons of full-bodied red wine on top, turning it into a New York Sour.
Alternatively, you can make what is called a Ward 8. This cocktail is based on either bourbon or rye whiskey, uses grenadine syrup as the sweetener instead of simple syrup and will be garnished with both lemon and orange slices. A Ward 8 doesnt use egg white.
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Taste Test The Balance Before You Shake
Take a quick test sip of the cocktail before you add ice to shake it. As you shake the cocktail, ice melts and dilutes the cocktail. Dilution cuts back on the acidity and increases the sweetness, but if the cocktail is overly sour or sweet before you pour, adjust as needed.
If the cocktail is far too tangy add a little more sweetener.
If the cocktail is far to sweet, increase the sour element a bit.
Remember that after dilution the cocktail will be slightly sweeter and a little less sour. Keep that in mind as you evaluate the flavor before shaking.
Should I Add A Raw Egg White
You can make a perfectly lovely Whiskey Sour by sticking to the original recipe of just whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar. These three ingredients balance each other beautifully.
But if you want to take your Whiskey Sour to the next level, add an egg white. This will not, in fact, make your cocktail taste like egg. Instead, the egg white will add texture, richness, and a particular creaminess that will make it seem almost like a whiskey milkshake.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: What about salmonella?
Your chances of getting salmonella from raw eggs are pretty low. The CDC estimates that only around 1 in 20,000 eggs are contaminated with the bacteria, and even if you do get a contaminated egg, as long as the egg is kept refrigerated below 45 F, the bacteria will have no chance to grow.
If you’re still worried, you can purchase pasteurized eggs, which are heated for a period of time to eliminate bacteria. You can also use pre-packaged, pasteurized egg whites like Egg Beaters, which will also save you the trouble of extracting the egg white from the yolk.
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The Best Whiskey Sour Ingredients
Bourbon: Choosing a bourbon for this cocktail shouldnt be difficult. I recommend a good value bottle, something in the price range of $15 to $25. Next time youre at a cocktail bar you like, ask the bartender which specific bottles of any given spirit they have in their well bar. This is a great way to find out whats good, both for your home bar and your budget.
Lemon juice: Next up, fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Ill say it again because this is so important: fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Gone are the days of using cheap mixes. If you want the absolute best whiskey sour you ever did taste in your life, then you need the real-deal fresh juice. Simple as that!
Simple syrup: For the sweetener, use a simple syrup . There are several whiskey sour recipes out there that call for a heaping bar spoon of sugar. Youre free to go this route, but simple syrup combines so much better, so I prefer and recommend this.
Federal Buffalo Stamp Aka Mixing Up The Sweetness
- 0.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 0.75 oz. maple syrup
- 1 thin slice of ginger
Muddle ginger in the bottom of a shaker tin. Add liquid ingredients, add ice, seal tins and shake hard for 6 to 10 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with a lemon wheel.
Using a different kind of sweetness is a fun and interesting way to mix it up a little and circumvent the need for an egg white. If you used honey syrup instead of simple syrup, it would be called a Gold Rush and has a story all its own, but one of my favorite things to do is to recruit the depth of fresh maple syrup and the spice of ginger, which are a wonderful foil to the bourbon and dont bind to the tannins so much as provide such an interesting side show that your palate doesnt really mind.
For bourbon here, Id say 45 percent ABV is a maximum. Buffalo Trace, as always, is a wonderful choice, but this is great with the less expensive end as well, like Evan Williams Black Label or Jim Beam or even a Tennessee whiskey like Jack Daniels.
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Alright So Whats In Your Whiskey Sour Recipe Then
So, Ive mentioned that when Im making my own Whiskey Sour at home its all about the sans-egg version. But, what exactly goes into an F O Whiskey Sour? It only uses three key ingredients so if youre looking to try your hand at mixology this could be the perfect drink to start with. Heres my recipe.
It Responds Well To Riffs
Those elements of sweet, sour and silky create an eternal nest of newly hatched ideas, like Tim Wiggins use of falernum and grapefruit liqueur in his version at Retreat Gastropub and Yellowbelly in St. Louis. Whiskey Sours are all about texture, and the weight of the two liqueurs makes a velvety cocktail thats the perfect balance of sweet and sour, says Wiggins. I look for velvety texture and good balance in a Whiskey Sour.
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How To Make A Whiskey Sour
Simply shake up the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and youre good to go! The measurements in the recipe below: in both ounces and tablespoons to make it easy for family cooking. Just shake all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker until cold. You can also cheat and just stir them together until the syrup has dissolved. Serve over lots of ice and enjoy! Try our clear ice if you want a stunning look.
Whiskey sours are traditionally served with a slice or orange and a cocktail cherry. You can also add an egg white to get a frothy foam topping: that makes it a Boston Sour! Go to Whiskey Sour with Egg White for more. When you make this drink with bourbon, you can also call it a Bourbon Sour.