Whisky Sour-Hi

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June 24, 2013


Kristin Salaky

A whiskey sour is a staple at many bars and restaurants, but few can successfully put a twist on it. Now, you can successfully create the iconic drink with a twist at your next party.




  • 2 Ounces Yamazaki 12yr
  • 1/2 Ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 Ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 Ounces simple syrup


Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and top off with club soda.


Whiskey Sour with Egg White

When it comes to classic cocktails, there’s nothing quite like the whiskey sour. It’s sweet tart, with just enough pucker from the lemon balanced with simple syrup and a spicy bourbon finish. To take it to over the top status, in our opinion, you’ve gotta have that retro foam topping. Here’s how to make a Whiskey Sour Recipe with Egg White! This classic way to top drinks is perfectly safe and has been a tradition for hundreds of years. Your whiskey sour just got better.

Recipe Summary

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 fluid ounces 100-proof bourbon whiskey
  • 1 fluid ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 drops orange bitters, or more to taste
  • 1 large egg white
  • ice cubes as needed

Bring sugar and water to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat, transfer to a bowl, and let syrup cool completely before using, 15 to 20 minutes.

Pour 3/4 fluid ounce simple syrup, bourbon, lemon juice, bitters, and egg white into a large cocktail shaker. Cover with a smaller cocktail shaker, or top, and give the cocktail a "dry shake" without ice, about 30 seconds.

Add 3 ice cubes to the mixture, cover, and shake vigorously until the shaker is very cold and the outside is frosty, about 45 seconds. Uncover and strain into a rocks glass containing one large ice cube. Serve immediately.

Ward III Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour is a gold standard of sours—a sweet, tart, and boozy mixture of whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup. However, one way to add an additional complexity and a striking visual appeal to the drink is to make it a New York Sour. This century-plus old variation on the traditional sour is a simple one: the drink is finished with a crimson float of red wine.

That’s how bartender Kenneth McCoy made the standard of Whiskey Sour at New York City’s now-shuttered Ward III. McCoy was using Heaven Hill bourbon, a bottled-in-bond bourbon from Bardstown, Kentucky. McCoy found that the soft caramel notes of Heaven Hill bourbon could handle a little extra tartness, so he adjusted the normal proportions in the drink from equal parts citrus and simple syrup to a bit heavy on the lemon side. And, as with a New York Sour, he added a red wine float using chianti, a relatively high-acid red wine.

The balance in this drink is also helped by the inclusion of egg whites. Beyond giving the drink a beautiful layer of foam—which is created in part by dry shaking the drink with no ice before shaking again with ice—egg whites also add richness and a silky mouthfeel that can smooth out some of the sharper, more acerbic edges of the citrus juice and tart red wine.

To really step up the visuals of the drink, it’s possible to pour the red wine carefully down the back of a bar spoon whose tip is just under the layer of egg white foam. When poured, it should settle and float under the foam, creating a vivid red band between the lush brown drink and the white foam. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t come out right the first time. As with any bartending trick, it can take many tries to get down. That just means more opportunities to try McCoy’s balanced, intriguing take on this classic.


  • For a Boston Sour, add an egg white and dry shake for 30 seconds to emulsify. Add ice and the additional ingredients, then shake again for 15–20 seconds.
  • Split the base using 1 oz (30 ml) each of rye and apple brandy for an autumnal rendition.
  • Use malty genever instead of bourbon and an orange twist in place of a lemon twist.

A recipe from Spirited: Cocktails From Around The World by Adrienne Stillman (Phaidon). Buy the book here.

The Classic Whiskey Sour Recipe

Few drinks are as iconic as the whiskey sour. Perhaps owing to its three-ingredient simplicity—whiskey, lemon and sugar—the cocktail has remained a mainstay in American drinking culture for over 150 years. While variations exist, the sour as we know it today is thought to have been codified around the same period as the Old Fashioned, during the mid-1800s.

At its most basic, a sour is an umbrella term for a number of cocktails that include a spirit, lemon juice, sugar and water for dilution, usually in the form of ice. The combination is said to have been popularized by British sailors as far back as the 1600s, who sought to fend off scurvy on long journeys by creating punches (or “grogs”) using spirits and citrus.

While gin, rum and brandy were popular in early sours, whiskey became the spirit of choice after the drink took hold in America. Its first known recorded mention dates to a January 4, 1870 edition of a Wisconsin newspaper, the Waukesha Plaindealer, in a satirical article written by “Terence McGrant,” a fictional character created by politician and writer George W. Peck who purported to be an Irish cousin to U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

First known mention of the whiskey sour in the Waukesha Plaindealer

“Then may God have mercy on your sowl,” says I, taking a drink out of me cousin’s glass.

“Amen,” says the Methodist, as he ordered another whisky sour.

Early recipes for the whiskey sour largely did not use egg white, though you’ll find it listed in many formulations. Completely optional, egg white will create a creamier, richer cocktail with a frothy head, while eggless sours will tend to have a cleaner, zestier, more refreshing profile.

The whiskey sour’s fortunes waned in the latter half of the 20 th century, as pre-bottled ingredients rose in prominence, and the timeless combination of fresh lemon juice and sugar was replaced by packaged sour mix. However, since the turn of the last century, as bars have reverted to well-crafted versions of classics using fresh ingredients, the whiskey sour has once again regained its position at the top of the classic cocktail pantheon.

You’ll see countless variations of this drink in cocktail books and recipes across the globe, but it’s hard to beat the simple beauty of the three-ingredient original. Here’s how to make one.

  • 2 ounces whiskey
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • Lemon twist, thick cut, for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Combine whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10–15 seconds. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with thick cut lemon twist and cherry, if desired.

Whiskey Sour Cookies Recipe

Whiskey Sour Cookies Recipe
By Ann
The great taste of a classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail in cookie form with this wonderful and easy to make Whiskey Sour Cookies Recipe.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes

● ½ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
● ¾ cup Sugar
● 2 Large Eggs
● 2 cups Flour
● 1½ tsp Baking Powder
● ½ cup Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon
● 1 tsp Lemon Extract

● ½ cup Sugar
● ¼ cup Unsalted Butter
● 3 TBSP Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon
● 1 tsp Lemon Extract
● 1 cup Confectioners Sugar
● 15 Maraschino Cherries, halved for garnish


● Preheat oven to 400°
● Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl, set aside.
● Using your mixer, cream butter and sugar together.
● Add eggs, beat well.
● Add half of flour mixture, mix well.
● Add Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon to the batter, combine.
● Add the rest of the flour mixture and the lemon extract, mix well.
● Drop by tablespoons 2″ apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
● Bake at 400°for 9-11 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly brown.
● When you remove the baked cookies from the oven, immediately remove the cookies onto a wire baking rack to cool.
● Allow the cookies to cool completely.
● Prepare the frosting:
● Melt sugar and butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat, stir until sugar is dissolved.
● Remove from heat, add the Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon (be careful, this will spit and pop).
● Quickly add the lemon extract and confectioners sugar, stir until smooth.
● Cool frosting slightly, and frost cookies (leave the frosting in the pot).
● Garnish frosted cookie immediately with half a maraschino cherry.
● Allow the frosted cookie to set on a wire rack until frosting is dry.
● Note: if frosting in the pot hardens too much to spread, return to stove under low heat for a few seconds, stirring until frosting is again spreading consistency

How to Make a Whiskey Sour

This is a great drink, because there’s not that much you can do to screw it up.

There are a lot of recipes out there, and frankly any one of them could be great.

My sister for instance, makes her whiskey sours with egg white. Which gives it an awesome froth, and a fantastic texture. For my recipe here, I’m not going to suggest that since I know a lot of people just starting out with cocktails feel pretty worried about cracking egg white into their drinks.

But if you’re feeling adventurous, give her recipe below a try, or get even more unique and try this Union Club cocktail.

My recipe? I keep it really simple, and use the same ratio I use for my classic daiquiris.

Sidenote: Check out the book Cocktail Codex to learn about some of these ratios and recipes. I’m not sure I’ve found a better book for teaching you enough of the basics to help you feel comfortable experimenting on your own. Here are some other favorite cocktail books as well.

Where was I? Oh yeah, ratios.

Super simple, super delicious.

I love the fact that this drink is great for both whiskey and non-whiskey drinkers.

If you know someone who says they don’t like whiskey? Make them one of these.

It cuts out all of the harshness often associated with whiskey, and allows you to taste the spirit without tasting straight alcohol.

And then once you’ve got them hooked on the whiskey sour, then you can slowly graduate them to a peach old fashioned.

Before you know it, they’ll be downing shots of Jamison like its nobody’s business.

Oh wait, we’re adults now. We don’t do that? Right. We don’t do that.

This drink is also great because you can serve it basically however you want.

If you do go with egg white, a coupe is best, but when you leave out the egg white? You can do a coupe, or you can serve it over a big cube in a rocks glass, or even get super pretentious and go nick and nora.

As for whiskey? I like bourbon in this, but use whatever you’ve got. This is not a pretentious drink, so anything goes.

I wouldn’t even judge you if you used the crappy bottled lemon juice.

Ok, that’s a lie. I’d judge you a little bit. But hey, I’m not going to pretend like I haven’t done it in a pinch.

But trust me, fresh lemon juice makes a BIG difference.

Regardless, you’re the boss.

Let me know what you think of my recipe, and how it turns out!

If you’re looking for another “beginner friendly” bourbon cocktail, consider making a mint julep as well. Only 3 ingredients, and super tasy!

Whiskey Sour

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
  • 1/2 ounce or 1 small egg white
  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, and dry shake.
  2. Add ice to the shaker and shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass or over ice into a rocks glass.
Editor's Note

A most iconic sour of the whiskey variety.

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Yum, 4+ forks. Perfect whiskey sour. Made them with Makers Mark but will try Buffalo Trace next time.

I will never but a Sweet and Sour mix again. perfect recipe. If you're using a higher proof bourbon or whiskey reduce to 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 ounce instead of two.

Delicious and easy---this will be our summer bourbon drink!

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