A Classic Whiskey Sour

A few weeks ago I wrote about another classic cocktail, the Manhattan, and I won’t deny that experience had me start thinking about other cocktails of my parents generation and this was one that came to mind. I can see why it’s maintained it’s popularity; it’s an elegant combination of ingredients and certainly beyond simple to make. A combination of bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup is shaken together with ice. Historically the drink has included a bit of egg white which creates a a slight frothy head on the drink and I do prefer it this way but the egg white is not crucial to the flavor so it’s definitely optional.

Many people might concoct this particular cocktail using a ‘sour’ mix but those too often use artificially flavored ingredients. This is such an easy drink to prepare and the use of fresh lemon juice really is key to it being a great cocktail. I’ve never been one to buy pre-made mixes; there is just no way they can compare with fresh juice and simple syrup combinations.

As simple as the cocktail is; the real trick is in getting a balance to the sweet and sour components and finding one that best suits your taste. The trickiest part of mixing this drink is adjusting the ratio of sour (the lemon) to sweet (the sugar) to get a flavor balance that pleases you.

This recipe is courtesy Liquor.com; a spirits partner I’ve started working with recently. They’ve produced a short video on the making of the Whiskey Sour and I found their proportions suited my tastes perfectly; mostly in that the proportions were not overly sweet; if you prefer a slightly sweeter cocktail, just add a bit more of the simple syrup. Check out their section in the sidebar for contests, events and other libation information.

If I recall, my parents served this in a highball glass and that’s what you’ll see in the video too but I just wanted something a bit fancier so a martini glass it was! Enjoy…and cheers!

A Classic Whiskey Sour
 
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There is a reason some cocktails are classic and the whiskey sour is a good example; just as good today as when it was first created.
Serves: 1 cocktail
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces of bourbon (I love Maker's Mark; it's not outrageously pricey but it's a good quality bourbon and in this drink...the bourbon is VERY evident)
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup (Mix ⅓ cup sugar and ⅓ cup water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved; remove from heat and cool).
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of egg white (optional)
  • lemon wedge and maraschino cherry garnish
Preparation
  1. Combine bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Shake well for 20 seconds. Add at least a cup of ice and shake for another 20 seconds.
  2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon wedge and maraschino cherry on a skewer.


Comments

    • Creative Culinary says

      Such a great cocktail is too often ruined with premixed sweet and sour mix. It’s SO easy isn’t it to just juice a lemon! I love them too; I’m gonna love some tomorrow night during the Oscars too!

  1. says

    I can’t wait to try this cocktail recipe out, I don’t like it straight but I love mixing it with other drinks to make unique tastes. I would recommend buying whiskey online as there are websites out there who do really good deals.

  2. Beverlee Berry says

    my first drink ever many, many years ago was a whiskey sour, it came in a very small glass and always had a cherry and orange on a toothpick, and was foamy. I have tried them at all kinds of restaurants and they bear NO resemblence to the ones of old, help whats going on guess no one drinks them anymore, always thought they were a good little drink.

    • Creative Culinary says

      That foamy part is from the egg whites! I prefer them made at home; a lot of restaurants use a mix for the sour element and I prefer using fresh juice…you should try making them; they are so good!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Shoot sweetie…wish you were closer; I would have one in your hand in a heartbeat! Feel better.

    • says

      Thanks again for the hookup on this. It was great meeitng you and R. I’m sure we’ll bump into each other again at another Pharmacie party. BTW, my article won’t be in print till Oct. since the mag is a bi-monthly.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Trust me I am learning some things on the way too…I’m enjoying the ‘classic’ series; trying cocktails that were my parents favorites back when I was only drinking a Shirley Temple. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Well, whatever you choose to be your main attraction Julie…I hope it’s a fun birthday celebration. Cheers!

    • Creative Culinary says

      You can not deny too that it absolutely packs a bit of a punch…there is no denying the bourbon in this drink is there? Cheers!

    • Creative Culinary says

      You can also made this is a plain short highball glass too; I did the martini just because I thought it was pretty. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      I tried it first without the egg white and I did like it a bit better with a bit of froth…but the flavor is the same either way. Cheers!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Vianny…it makes ALL the difference; I can not imagine buying a dry or even a bottle of mix when this is so dang simple. Cheers!

    • Creative Culinary says

      My parents used to just make them in a short glass so I guess the moral of this story is…they are good in any glass!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks Paula…I’m so glad I found the skewer! I have pulled so much stuff into my dining room where I take photos and I couldn’t find them. Duh…it was still in the drawer of my actual bar area!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Well, I do now but that first sip I imbibed as a kid thinking I was sneaking my mom’s lemonade? Well, I’m pretty sure I spit it out on her. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Now you know that made me for real chuckle out loud right. Duh! Because if you had asked me before I made this cocktail from scratch I would have been hard pressed to say myself but let’s blame the ingredients that we wouldn’t be able to pronounce on a bottle of something we would not really want to drink, OK?

      • says

        1. Combine bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Shake well for 20 seconds. Add at least a cup of ice and shake for another 20 seconds.

        2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon wedge and maraschino cherry on a skewer.

        nice tips
        Abram Most Recent Post: Desain Baru Henna Warna Putih

  3. says

    I love that you made this cocktail Barb. I have not ever had a Whiskey Sour (that I recall) but like you it brings me back to my parents era of Cocktail Hour; a civilized habit of a daily after work cocktail at home when everyone got off work at 5 and no one was beholden to life 24/7 due to cyberspace. I have spent many years of my cocktail life as a devoted Manhattan drinker and the Liquor.com video got my attention too, wondering how a Whiskey Sour is made. Hands down these classic cocktails should be a staple of anyone’s cocktail existence. I’d take one over a Fuzzy Navel any day.
    Toni @ Boulder Locavore Most Recent Post: Chef Will Nolan: Food and Wine’s ‘The People’s Best New Chef’ award and Sausage Stuffed Cornish Game Hens with Parsley Sauce

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’ve been having a lot of trips down memory lane recently and that is surely one of them. How I would long for a work day that stopped on a dime at 5pm and knew a cocktail would be close at hand. Ah…for the good old days!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I love baking with bourbon; I’ll use other types of liquor occasionally but I’m not sure I love anything better with a sweet component than a whiskey. Cheers Ken!

    • Creative Culinary says

      The truth is Elle that this cocktail is new to me. Well, to my adult me. I recall sneaking a sip of my mother’s once and just about died; no, that really is not lemonade Barbara. For some reason that experience left me keeping them at a distance. I can certainly see why a kid would not love one; the bourbon really is front and center…which is exactly why I loved it now!

      • says

        Ha! I was saying on Facebook that the first one I ever had was at my cousin’s wedding. I was not yet 21, but it was an open bar and I guess I looked old enough. Someone recommended one to me and I’ve never looked back. They’re so clean and refreshing. Same thing with Tom Collins. Love those, too!
        Elle Most Recent Post: Tropical Sunshine Muffins

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