The Whiskey Sour


This next cocktail I acknowledge I disregarded for ages. Not sure the reasoning; too simple perhaps, a bad experience, lack of balance, the evil “sour mix” or perhaps a combination. Who knows…? So, as with the Amaretto I decided it was time to put a bit of R & D into the Whiskey Sour.
My recipe, a bit of history and more today on the blog.
One of the early additions (or modifications) to the original “cocktail” or the Old Fashioned formula was citrus. Which makes sense as the Hot Toddy preceded the Old Fashioned historically and that recipe took at least a lemon peel if not a slight squeeze of lemon on occasion. It only made sense to add lemon to the Old Fashioned’s repertoire, thus creating a new cocktail; The Whiskey Sour.
First printed in Jerry Thomas’s 1887 Bartenders Guide; however, evidence shows it was being served over the bar long before the 1880’s.


Whiskey Sour (c. 1850’s)

  • 2oz Whiskey (Rye/Corn/Bourbon)
  • 1oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • .5oz Demerara syrup
  • ½ an Egg white (Optional)
Garnish Options:
  • Served Up- 6 drops Bittercube Bolivar Bitters atop (Or Angostura) or
  • Served on the Rocks- Skewered Lemon Rind & Brandied Cherry*
    • Here on the farm we always recommend homemade Brandied Cherries but if you find yourself in a pinch, these from our friends over at Muddle & Stir are absolutely delicious!


As with the Old Fashioned, this was (and still is) a starting point for many a variation. In fact, I would say that in my mind I have a few basic cocktail foundations (like blank canvasses) and one of which finds its roots right here in the Whiskey Sour. That being said, you can mix and match spirit, citrus, syrup and some utilize egg white with their sours, some do not. It’s all up to your preference honestly.
Personally, I love my whiskey sour with egg white in the cocktail; as it was more common in the older, more original recipes. However, most bars and modern recipes have omitted the egg white; it still makes a terrific cocktail as long as it remains balanced. Traditionally the Whiskey Sour is un-bittered; however, when served “Up” I will sometimes top the white pillow with a few drops of bitters as “You drink with your eyes first”. I don’t always drink Whiskey Sours; but when I do, I craft them myself…Quality control.


Regardless of the eggs being in or out, it’s a simple, delicious cocktail with unlimited potential. However, beware not to overpower the cocktail with the citrus. It is there to compliment the cocktail not to BE the cocktail. This is especially obvious when using a sour mix or a source of citrus that is pre-packaged. Citrus tends toward tart and easily overpowering if it is not fresh squeezed. That is my only caution; other than that the sky is the limit and balance is key (as with all cocktails).


Cheers Friends!

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