Whiskey Sour

Whiskey SourThe recipe for the Whiskey Sour has evolved a little over the years. For a long time, bartenders made it with bottled sour mix, and that gave it a taste more like candy than a refreshing beverage. Now we’re returning to the old-fashioned way of making this drink, with one little improvement: you can use simple syrup (sugar water) instead of sugar. It’s no different on the flavor – it just mixes easier.

However you make the Whiskey Sour, its flavors are tart citrus with just a touch of sweetness to take the edge off. Better quality whiskeys will reward you with a smoother, deeper flavor (try Jack Daniels). There’s also a variation of this drink that involves just enough egg white to thicken the drink a little so you can savor it.


  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 ounces bourbon

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake well, strain into a glass and garnish with an orange slice on the rim or a maraschino cherry dropped down into the drink.

The Egg White Variation

  • 2 ounces of bourbon
  • 1 ounce of simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounces lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon egg white (or egg substitute, if you’re worried about raw egg in your drink

Combine everything in a shaker, and shake without ice until its emulsified. Then add ice and shake until it’s chilled. Strain into a glass. (This recipe is a bit less sweet than the first.)

If you don’t garnish it with orange, you may want to add just a touch of orange juice to the mix – that rounds out the flavor considerably. Lime juice is another option. Some people add a dash of bitters, too. You should feel free to play with this recipe until you find your own personal recipe.

The Whiskey Sour is ideal for after dinner or drinking on an evening out. Its flavor is complex enough to satisfy you all on its own. But if you want something to eat with it, try fish and chicken dishes. The drink’s tartness contrasts nicely with those mild flavors, the way a fruit salsa does. Salty snacks – like tortilla chips with spinach and artichoke dip – also provide a nice contrast with this drink.


  1. I usually have simple syrup in the fridge. You can increase the citrus taste by adding the zest of a lime and lemon to the sugar before you bring it to a boil. Also, use the juice and then add enough water to meet the ratio of water:sugar. Leave the zest in the syrup, or it the floaty bits bother you, strain it. It’s perfect for pretty much any drink, alcoholic or not.

  2. Ooh, LL, that sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing! And yeah, not just alcohol, but iced tea and other non-alcs. Yum!

  3. Well I was not too happy with this recipe. I do have a suggestion or two. If you want to enjoy your Whiskey Sour go to the local Liqure store and buy yourself some Whiskey Sour Mixer along with your Whiskey. Trust me if you want to impress your friends at that next party take my suggestion. Put some ice, whiskey sour mixer and whiskey in your nice shaker pour it into your glass add a cherry and enjoy. Do not use this recipe unless you and your fellow drinkers like the whiskey taste.

  4. You don’t like the whiskey taste???

    Well, yeah, in that case this might not be the drink for you. ;)

  5. If you don’t like a whiskey taste, why would you drink a Whiskey Sour?

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