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 A Classic Whiskey Sour 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
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.
- 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)
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 oz simple syrup (Mix 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 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
- 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.
- Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon wedge and maraschino cherry on a skewer.