Classic: Whisky Sour

The “sour” family of cocktails have among its members classic cocktails that date back to the 1800s and that are still widely popular today. One of the most popular also happens to be one of the easiest to make and to enjoy: The Whisky Sour.

The General Formula

You can create extremely appetizing cocktails by following a very easy tried-and-true formula:

Great Sour Cocktails = Spirit + Sour + Sweet (with the occasional addition of “egginess”)

The Standard Sour

The simplest application of this formula yields one heck of a tasty drink. Whichever spirit you prefer, lemon juice for sourness and simple syrup for sweetness. This is the classic sour and has been around for over a century and a half.

3 parts spirit
2 parts lemon juice
1 part simple syrup
Maraschino cherries or orange twist to garnish

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for approx. 20 seconds and strain straight up in a coupe or over ice in a rocks glass with your choice of garnish.

The Standard Egg White Sour

This cocktail is often prepared with an egg-white, giving it a smooth and velvety texture which also balances out the tartness of the lemon juice. If adding part of a raw egg into your drink doesn’t make you squeamish, then this is definitely the way to go!

3 parts spirit
2 parts lemon juice
1 part simple syrup
1 egg white
Maraschino cherries, orange twist, or a couple dashes of bitters to garnish

Add all ingredients into a shaker and dry shake for approx. 20 seconds. Open the shaker, fill with ice, and shake again for another 20 seconds. Strain straight-up into a coupe or into a rocks glass over ice with your choice of garnish.

The basic formula for the classic sour cocktail is so straightforward and delicious that it has led to the creation of countless variations such as the daiquiri, the margarita, the side car and the judgement day to name a few. This post, however, is focused on the forefather of these classics: The Whisky Sour.

Whisky and Bourbon Sour

The Whisky Sour is probably the most well-known of the sour cocktails, and for good reason; it’s absolutely delicious! The type of whisky you choose can really change the flavour of this drink, so make sure to use a quality spirit that you enjoy. Personally, my go-to is bourbon, but whisky and rye also work nicely. The amount of whisky as well as the sweet-to-sour ratio can also be adjusted to suit your taste buds. Here’s our preferred recipe:

2 oz whisky, rye, or bourbon
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
½ to 1 oz egg white (optional, but highly recommended)
Maraschino cherries, orange twist, or a couple dashes of bitters to garnish

If using an egg white, start here: Add all ingredients into a shaker and dry shake for approx. 20 seconds. If not using an egg white, start here: Open the shaker, fill with ice, and shake again for another 20 seconds. Strain straight-up into a coupe or into a rocks glass over ice with your choice of garnish.


A classic cocktail that’s unique and versatile. More so than many other cocktails, this one is especially delicious when you make it yourself!

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  • Cheyanne March 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I’m a sucker for a great whisky sour… love that you provided multiple versions of a classic drink! I’m totally going to try the egg white sour this weekend ♡ Thank you for sharing!

  • Bill @ The Cocktail Novice March 15, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    I definitely think @Cheyanne is right. Nice post with multiple recipes.

    I recently explored the Egg White Whiskey Sour with a slightly different recipe, but all in all it’s among my favorite cocktails.

    • Marco Provenzano March 16, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      I’m glad you guys liked the post! It’s definitely one of my favourite cocktails as well.

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