The classic Tequila Sour cocktail recipe features lime juice, lemon juice, bitters and egg white along with reposado tequila. It’s easy to make a Tequila Sour at home!
The Origins of the Tequila Sour Cocktail
The Tequila Sour is a variant of the classic Sour cocktail. The Sour style originates from the 19th century and includes among its ranks such classics as the Whiskey Sour, Pisco Sour, and Amaretto Sour.
The history of sours begins with the British Navy, who were given daily rations of spirits, typically rum or gin. To make these strong beverages more palatable, sailors began mixing them with citrus juices that they had on board to prevent scurvy, creating a basic sour cocktail.
The recipe for a traditional sour cocktail was defined in Jerry Thomas’s “How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion” published in 1862. It called for a spirit, lemon juice and sweetener – the basic building blocks for any sour cocktail.
Tequila itself didn’t gain widespread popularity outside of Mexico until after Prohibition in the United States in the early 20th century. Importation and interest in tequila grew significantly post-World War II.
As tequila started to become more popular globally in the mid-20th century, bartenders began substituting it into popular recipes to create new drinks – thus was born the Tequila Sour. This blend of Mexican tequila with a classic American cocktail recipe results in an exciting mix of flavors with both depth and brightness.
Ingredients to Make This Recipe
Tequila is important, and we recommend a good but not great quality reposado or blanco. You can use a great tequila in cocktails, but it tends to be a waste of some good, nuanced flavor.
Añejo tequila also works beautifully in this cocktail.
Freshly squeezed lime juice and, ideally, fresh lemon juice, are ideal for this drink. You can make it with just lime, but the combination of lemon and lime adds a nice zingy flavor.
The sweetness in this drink comes from simple syrup. Bottled is okay, but it’s so easy to make homemade simple syrup. Agave syrup is another option that will go nicely with tequila reposado.
The Angostura bitters bring everything together and give the drink a little color.
Dry Shake for the Best Egg White Foam
This cocktail recipe is different from most because it uses egg white (you can substitute aquafaba if you’re vegan or don’t want to use raw egg whites).
Egg white cocktails need special shaking to get the egg completely emulsified. But it’s worth it, because you get this beautiful frothy egg white foam on top of your delicious tequila cocktail, and it has such a nice silky mouthfeel.
This technique isn’t hard to learn. You just shake up all the ingredients in your cocktail shaker without ice and then shake them again with ice.
If the thought of the dry shake has intimidated you, just remember how simple it is. Put everything in your shaker and shake vigorously without ice. Then add ice and shake again.
As you pour the cocktail, you’ll notice the egg foam starting to separate and rise to the top. There’s no trick to getting it to do this. It’s just science.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Tequila Sour Experience
- Glassware: An old-fashioned glass is ideal for this drink. Its width at the top gives the egg foam plenty of room to spread out and be noticed. A coupe glass also works well.
- Garnish: For garnish, you can get creative. A slice of lime or lemon is great. You could also toss in a cherry or add a mint sprig.
- Good Tequila: Opt for a quality but not overly expensive blanco reposado tequila. The crispness of blanco or the subtle oakiness of reposado will perfectly complement the tartness of this cocktail.
- Balance is key: While fresh citrus juice provides the necessary tanginess, you can fine-tune the sweetness by adjusting the amount of simple syrup or agave nectar you add.
- Chill out: Chill your tequila and your glass in advance. It brings out better flavors and slows the rate at which the ice in the drink melts.
The classic Tequila Sour cocktail recipe features lime juice, lemon juice, bitters and egg white along with reposado tequila. It's easy to make a Tequila Sour at home!
- 2 ounces reposado tequila
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 squeeze fresh lime juice
- 1-2 teaspoons simple syrup
- 2 dashes of Angostura orange bitters
- 1 egg white
- Garnish with lime wheel, mint or other fruit
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker without ice.
- Shake for 20 seconds.
- Now fill the cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake again for 30 seconds.
- Strain the drink into a glass.
- Serve with a lime wedge and mint sprig, cherry or orange slice.