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What Whiskey Is Best For Whiskey Sour

Best Irish: Knappogue Castle 12 Year Single Malt

The BEST WHISKEY SOUR Recipes! (Top 3)

Courtesy of Knappogue Castle

Region: Ireland | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Apples, Oak

When Reece wants to create an elegant Whiskey Sour, she reaches for this Irish single malt , which she describes as nutty and full-bodied. Aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels, it gains some of bourbons signature notes of vanilla and toast, while still holding onto classic Irish whiskey flavors of orchard fruit and honey.

Its a truly refined whiskey, so it deserves to be served up in a coupe when shaken into a Whiskey Sour. Skip the cherry this whiskeys flavors are subtle and youll want to put your full attention on how they play with the lemon juice and simple syrup.

Best Bourbon Whiskey For The Price

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What Not To Do When Making A Whiskey Sour

Dont slack on the shaking.

There is something to be said about the importance of the technique and glassware for serving a Whiskey Sour. To be served perfectly it must both be shaken well, and shaken to completion, to achieve perfect dilution. If you opt for a rich-bodied Whiskey Sour with an egg white, the technique must be focused as the shaking comes in two parts: the wet shake and the dry shake .

It is important to have the proper head of foam , Abalos explains. Generally when we do training on shaking egg white cocktails, we tell bartenders to pay attention to the sound and feel of the tin. If it still sounds clanky it is not ready you want it to feel and sound like a tennis ball is in your tin.

Start with a vigorous wet shake to emulsify the ingredients and add the necessary dilution to balance the cocktail. Then, dry-shake to further dial in the texture, adding to the frothiness of the Whiskey Sour.

Many bartenders will serve a Whiskey Sour in a rocks glass over ice, even though both Wall and Abalos make the point that it is meant to be served up. While both methods yield a delicious sour, serving the Whiskey Sour over one large cube is our recommended serve as it dilutes slowly due to the ice employed, and keeps your cocktail chilled over the drinking session. If you opt for it up, however, a Nick and Nora glass is your best service vessel.

Dont forget to garnish the cocktail.

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What Is The Perfect Whisky For A Whisky Sour Cocktail

The fundamentals of a Whisky Sour cocktail recipe are that no matter what you do, you have to stay faithful to the ingredients. Which, for people who revel in playing around and having fun with their base spirit, can be restrictive.

When choosing a whisky to go with your Whisky Sour recipe, always keep in mind that sweet, citrusy and light whiskies work best with them. That means richly flavoured or Sherry or Port finished whiskies are off limits. You might also want to consider not using single malts in a whisky cocktail but if you really want to Youre the boss.

As the core ingredients of this whisky cocktail remain the same, there is not much that can alter the overall flavour of the whisky more than a whisky can. Which makes your choice of whisky, the most important determinant of the end result.

There is a lot you can do right with a Whisky Sour, and there is also a lot that can go wrong if you end up choosing a whisky that is not suitable for this particular cocktail.

Allow us to make your job much easier, and recommend the best whisky expressions for your favourite whisky cocktail, the Whisky Sour!

What Are The Best Bourbons For A Bourbon Sour

The Best Whiskey Sour Recipe Using Makers Mark

Now that youve dusted off your citrus juicer, sprung for maraschino cherries, and browsed Etsy for hours until you found the perfect vintage rocks glass, its time to select the best bourbon for your Bourbon Sour.

Heres where things get interesting. You see, our favorite bourbons for Whiskey Sours? They taste a little bit like rye.

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Best Budget: Four Roses Bourbon

Region: Kentucky | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Honey, Pear, Spice

The best whiskeys for Sours, I believe, have the highest flavor profiles with vanilla, oak, and just enough heat, says Marc Branden Shelton, founder of LKSD Kitchen and Paper Pizza Co in Downey, California. I typically use a sweeter, softer bourbon.

The gentle, fruity flavors of Four Roses perfectly balance out the sharp acidity of lemon juice, making for a Whiskey Sour thats ideal for beginners or simply those who dont want too much heat or edge on their cocktail. A Four Roses Whiskey Sour is easy to drink on a hot summer day. Scale up the recipe and make a pitcherful for a party.

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Best Canadian: Lot 40 Rye Whisky

Courtesy of

Region: Canada | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Spice, Toast, Peach

People typically reach for an American bourbon for Whiskey Sourswho can blame them? Its a classic, says Evelyn Chick, founder of the Stay At Home Cocktail Club. But the self-described homegrown Canadian prefers to stick with her roots and opts for Lot 40 in her Whiskey Sours.

It is pot-stilled and has a fantastic range of notes from stone fruits to baking spices, she says. A top rye of ours as well, it has bold levels of spice that further brighten the cocktails citrusy flavors. Chick likes to shake things up and add a few dashes of bitters . It can really change the structure of the cocktail to make for a more interesting sour, she says, and recommends Bittered Slings Clingstone Peach. Its really an incredible combination, she says.

Best Practices: For A Perfect Whiskey Sour Use High

How to Make the Best Whiskey Sour (2 ways!)

To create any sour-style cocktail, all you need is a base spirit, citrus, and sugar. Its a simple formula, yet perfecting simplicity is incredibly nuanced especially when it comes to crafting an age-old classic like the Whiskey Sour. The cocktail has taken on various forms over the years, but the common version served at bars today is made with the preferred whiskey of the day, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white a later addition to the classic sour.

The sour cocktail derives from the punch the monarch of all cocktails, and a popular drink style originating in the 1600s. According to drinks historian David Wondrich, the punch cocktail had a long history that started with British sailors who turned to making mixed drinks with local ingredients after their beer spoiled while sailing in the tropics. Nearly 100 years later, the cocktail-trendsetting British sailors accidentally created the sour cocktail as well by mixing the citrus juices that they were drinking to prevent scurvy with whichever spirits they had on board at the time. But it wasnt until the 19th century that the Whiskey Sour came into vogue.


We chatted about the dos and donts for crafting the best Whiskey Sour with modern bartenders who have some strong opinions on which whiskey to use, whether or not egg white should be included, and more. By following these five tips, youll be on your way to mastering the Whiskey Sour and its variations in no time.

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How To Make Your Whiskey Sour

The making of your whiskey sour is a significant bit, and each detail has to be done keenly to avoid ruining the drink. The main steps involved are,

Build the cocktail

Put your ingredients in a cocktail shaker. That is bourbon, lemon or lime juice, simple sugar syrup, and water. You can add in the egg white.

Shake the cocktail

The first time you shake your cocktail, you will do it dry as in with no ice, yet. Shake thoroughly for about ten seconds to make sure that the egg white is mixed into the cocktail.

Add ice and shake again.

Add ice into the cocktail and shake again thoroughly to chill the mix.

Strain cocktail

Place a strainer over the mouth of the Shaker and pour the cocktail through. This will prevent any seeds, pulp, or ice shares from getting into the whiskey sour.

Adding the egg white to your whiskey sour is known as a Boston sour. Another twist is adding a few drops of red wine into your cocktail and is known as the New York Sour.

Mix It Up With Egg Whites

Yes, egg whites!

If youre going straight traditional, ignore this part. Egg whites were never a part of the original sour recipe, but some bartenders in the 1800s wanted to make their cocktails even fancier. The answer was egg whites.

You dont need much, but they work to balance the sometimes harsh flavors of a whiskey sour while adding a creamy texture and leaving a pretty layer of white froth on top.

Making it with egg whites is easy just add a quarter ounce of egg whites to the other ingredients before mixing. Adding them at this stage not only blends them in well but it creates the fancy frothing effect.

The only difference may be in how you use the ice. Frothy egg whites and ice cubes may not work well together. Instead, consider shaking the mixture with ice and pouring it into an empty glass.

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What Youll Need

You need just 3 ingredients plus ice and optional garnishes to make this easy whiskey sour!

  • Bourbon whiskey This is the star of the cocktail, so be sure to use a good bourbon.
  • Lemon juice You definitely want fresh squeezed lemon juice, not the bottled kind!
  • Simplesyrup You can buy this at the store or make your own. Maple syrup is also nice!
  • Ice
  • Garnishes Garnishes are optional but cherries and orange slices add a nice touch.

How To Make It

The Best Whiskeys for Whiskey Sours in 2020

For the orange peel garnish, peel off a strip of the orange peel with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Trim it into a thin strip and set it aside while you make the drink.

Pour the whiskey, lemon juice, and maple syrup into the cocktail shaker.

Fill it up with ice and then secure the lid. Shake it until its very cold.

Place ice cubes in the glass and pour the drink over the ice. Garnish with the orange peel and a maraschino cherry.

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To Add In Egg Whites Simply Add 1/4 Oz To The Rest Of Your Ingredients In The Shaker Before Mixing

And you might want to skip pouring over ice if you are adding eggs, many drinkers feel ice cubes, and egg froth doesnt mix. Ice can also cause the egg proteins to break apart too quickly. Instead, try shaking with ice and pouring straight.

You will want the egg whites to be shaken with all the other ingredients*. Otherwise, you miss the point. Shaking blends the eggs and froths them up!

*There is some argument about this method. There are those who say you should dry shake the eggs first to froth them up, wet shake the other ingredients separately, and then combine. I say no. Blending them together is half the fun! But it is up to you.

Personally, this is my favorite version of a Whiskey Sour. I first experienced it in a little speakeasy in Rochester, NY. Its hidden behind a padded door. Its dimly lit. The bartenders wear bowties. And they prepare drinks the old-fashioned way.

I ordered a whiskey sour and was presented with this frothy white mixture that I stared at in horror for a moment or two. Until I tried it and realized Id been doing Whiskey Sours wrong my whole life.

So definitely give it a shot. Its worth it.

The 8 Best Bourbons For A Whiskey Sour

Tart and toothsome with an acerbic kick, the Whiskey Sour was the poet Dorothy Parkers favorite Whiskey cocktail for a good reason.1 After all, like the searing quips and snappy rhyming couplets that made Parker famous, this cocktail is timelessa plucky study of balance and bite.

If, like Parker, youre one of the many bon vivants who has become enamored with the bracing, sweet libation since it was first mixed up over 250 years ago2 and youve also fallen in love with our freshly made bourbon sour cocktail, its time to dust off your cocktail shaker and try your hand at mixing up the iconic Whiskey cocktail.

Before you research what to mix with bourbon, to get you on your way to at-home Happy Hour success, well take a deep dive into the history of the beloved drink and determine whats the best bourbon for Whiskey Sour.

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Best Tennessee: Jack Daniels Gentleman Jack

How to make the BEST Whiskey Sour

Courtesy of ReserveBar

Region: Tennessee | ABV: 47% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Lemon Zest, Rock Candy

Unsure of what kind of Whiskey Sour you really want? Start here. Upon sipping a Whiskey Sour made with Gentleman Jack youll say, Yes, thats that Whiskey Sour flavor I have been craving. Its a relaxed Whiskey Sour with no pretenses.

The whiskey itself is soft and velvety, thanks to two rounds of charcoal filtering, so it makes for an extra-easy-drinking cocktail. Its flavors of lemon and crystalline sugar play beautifully with the actual lemon and sugar in the cocktail, while a touch of smoke shows through just underneath. This is the Whiskey Sour youll get out at your neighborhood bar.

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Best Overall: Elijah Craig Small Batch

Courtesy of

Region: Kentucky | ABV: 47% | Tasting Notes: Brown Sugar, Oak, Baking Spices

Rich, spicy, with just a touch of grounding smoke, this crowd-pleasing bourbon stands up to the tangy lemon and sweet simple syrup in a Whiskey Sour. It makes itself known, leaving no doubt about the cocktails base spirit.

Reece likes how this bottling makes for a rustic, traditional version of the drink. Indeed, a Whiskey Sour made with Elijah Craig is best served casuallyin a tumbler over a few chunks of ice or strained into whatever cocktail glass you have handy. This is a cozy, everyday type of Whiskey Sourand, luckily, the price point on Elijah Craig makes that possible.

Good to Know: A Whiskey Sour is meant to be a little sour, says Sam Levy, owner of Fern Bar in Sebastopol, California. “They call it a Whiskey Sweet for a reason lay off the simple syrup.

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