Subtly sour and naturally sweetened, this Whiskey Sour cocktail can be made with strong whiskey or smooth bourbon – it’s your choice!
I’m usually a sweet and fruity drink type girl, gravitating towards a great Pina Colada. But sometimes I want something a little different. Often imitated but never duplicated, a Whiskey Sour is a 19th-century creation that’s still delicious to this day! If you’ve got whiskey (or bourbon), lemons, sugar (honey or maple syrup), and eggs in your house, you can have a whiskey sour made in no time at all! The cocktail itself is slightly sour from the fresh lemons, as sweet as you like (since you control the sugar amount), and smooth and buttery thanks to the liquor. Whiskey Sours make a wonderful nightcap and are easy enough to make for Netflix or poker night with friends.
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Today I’m sharing one of my new favorite cocktails with you guys! It’s a bright burst of summer on a cold evening and a pleasant one at that.
Bourbon is an acquired taste – and one that took over 30 years for me to acquire myself. It was a slow progression like finding a taste for gin gimlets.
My journey into cocktails was a long and rocky one, as I think most people’s are as their palates mature. I started as a young adult with wine coolers (do they even make those anymore?) and malt beverages – flavors that make me wrinkle my nose today.
From there, I moved to sweet wines and ciders. Again, things I can only drink in moderation today.
Eventually, I discovered craft beer and dry red wine, which are now my go to’s at parties and nights out on the town.
Liquor has been a little harder for me to learn to appreciate, and while I’ll never be able to drink a whiskey neat or a tequila shot, things like Whiskey Sours, the Dark and Stormy, and Bourbon Smashes are now things I look for on drink menus when I’m out with friends. My liquor cabinet is even well-stocked with things I never thought I’d purchase (the number of bitters and brandy is staggering!)
Whiskey Sour Ingredients
Only four simple ingredients make up a Whiskey Sour:
- Whiskey (or bourbon)
- Lemon Juice
- Sugar (either simple syrup, agave, or maple syrup)
- Egg White
Is It Safe To Drink A Whiskey Sour With A Raw Egg White In It?
There is no guarantee that you will never contract salmonella in your lifetime, but a Whiskey Sour isn’t the same without an egg white! If you’re nervous about foodborne illness, you may be better off leaving out the egg, but if you follow some simple food safety tips, you can greatly reduce your chances.
- Always purchase fresh, properly refrigerated, USDA pasteurized eggs.
- Keep your eggs cool at all times. Temperature abuse is one of the leading causes of foodborne illness.
- Separate your eggs properly. Salmonella bacteria live on the outside of eggs, so you don’t want to handle the whites after holding on to the shell to crack it. Use an egg separator or a slotted spoon to strain the white from the yolk, or crack it into a bowl and scoop the yolk out with a spoon and then use the white.
As for if egg whites add any flavor to this cocktail, they do not. Egg whites have minimal flavor and are simply added to the drink for textural purposes. They make a Whiskey Sour extra smooth and creamy, by emulsifying the other flavors together (much like olive oil emulsifies vinaigrettes!)
How To Make A Whiskey Sour
First, shake your whiskey and egg white together – the longer the better. 45 seconds is ideal, but if you can go up to a minute, you’ll have a fantastic foam top.
Next, add the lemon juice, sweetener, and some ice and shake it for another 20-30 seconds to chill it down.
Then, strain it into a coupe or old-fashioned glass slowly, and watch as the egg white foam floats to the top like magic! Garnish with some citrus twists and a cherry and enjoy!
What Are Some Other Twists On A Whiskey Sour?
- New York Sour – floating a few spoons of red wine on top of the traditional sour gives it a lovely look and even lovelier taste.
- The Libertine – using rosemary-infused simple syrup and garnishing with a fresh sprig of the herb brings a new flavor to the drink.
- The Scottish Dream – Scottish whiskey + grapefruit juice + cinnamon simple syrup + fig bitters.
- The Ward Eight – a traditional whiskey sour, with a dash of orange juice and grenadine for a twist.
Looking for more whiskey cocktails to wet your whistle?
- Irish Julep
- Whiskey Smash
- Jalapeno Lynchburg Lemonade
- Orange Spice Old Fashioned
- Hawaiian Stone Sour
- More drink recipes…
Tools used to make this Whiskey Sour recipe
Jigger: Every home bartender should have a jigger for measuring their cocktail ingredients. This one has a no-slip grip and is marked with increment measuring lines so you can make the perfect cocktail every time.
Cocktail Shaker: This shaker is a bartender’s best friend! Easy to use and the best way to mix up your favorite cocktails!
Coupe Glass: This classic prohibition style glass if great for all your favorite cocktails and sure to make everyone feel fancier!
- 2 ounces bourbon or whiskey
- 1 egg white room temperature (optional)
- 1 ounce lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup or sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 1 half orange slice for garnish
- 1 half lemon slice for garnish
- 1 maraschino cherry for garnish
- In a cocktail shaker, combine bourbon and 1 egg white. Close the shaker and shake vigorously for 40-45 seconds, until the egg white is frothy.
- Add the lemon juice, sweetener of choice, and ice to the shaker, close, and shake for another 20-25 seconds to combine and bring to temperature.
- Slowly strain the cocktail through the shaker into a coupe or bourbon glass and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes to allow the egg white to separate and float to the top of the drink. Add ice cubes if desired, then garnish with the orange and lemon wheels and a cherry.