The whiskey sour is a timeless cocktail with a long, rich history, as shown in these 3 Whiskey Sour Variations. Its sweet and sour flavor pairing makes it an appealing, versatile cocktail suitable for any occasion.
Learn the intriguing history of the whiskey sour, what to expect when tasting its vibrant, rich flavor profile, and a few variations and twists you're also sure to love. We'll also leave you with a traditional whiskey sour cocktail recipe that you can use to enjoy this delicious beverage while at home.
Image via Flickr by Burger Baroness
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
The History of the Whiskey Sour
The history of the whiskey sour dates back to at least the early-1800s. Yet, the first record of a published recipe wasn't until the mid-to-late-1800s when historians found the recipe in a bartending guidebook. It's believed a ship captain invented the whiskey sour cocktail as a beverage for his sailors.
These beverages were watered down to prevent intoxicated crewmen. Sailors shared the recipe at each destination, eventually making it a popular beverage worldwide.
By the 1900s, the popularity of the whiskey sour fell as people shifted toward cocktails made using packaged ingredients. More recently, though, bars soon shifted back to a fresh ingredient menu, with this popular after-work drink becoming one of the most ordered cocktails.
This traditional cocktail was invented at a simpler time when fewer ingredients were available. While the evolution of this popular drink has undergone numerous changes, including adding and removing ingredients, many whiskey enthusiasts prefer it made traditionally.
This timeless drink has successfully made it through Prohibition, the Gold Rush, and numerous other historical events and is still one of the most well-loved cocktails today.
The Complex Flavor Profile for the Whiskey Sour
A traditional whiskey sour may include just four ingredients (plus garnishments), but it still takes your taste buds on an exciting adventure. The freshly squeezed lemon juice helps dissolve some of the added sugars, while the citrus gives the cocktail a perfect blend of sweetness and tartness.
The base spirit of a whiskey sour is always its foundation, making it essential to choose a premium liquor. You can also make your own simple syrup at home to achieve the perfect sweet flavoring.
The contrasting sweet and sour flavors make it an exceptional drink to sip in summer. Enjoy a cold mixed drink with friends on a summer patio, or make your own refreshing cocktail at home after a long day of yard work.
Variations on the Classic Whiskey Sour
If you want to try something different, bartenders have made many variations on the classic recipe. The first variation uses an egg white. An egg white was added to the recipe at one time in its long history.
Egg whites gave the beverage a creamier, frothier texture. A whiskey sour without an egg white is more refreshing and invigorating.
Another variation of this well-loved drink is an amaretto sour. An amaretto sour offers an indulgent, almost dessert-like twist on the traditional recipe. This recipe uses amaretto liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and ice cubes. Add a single cherry or orange slice for garnishment.
Consider trying a New York sour if you want an even sweeter cocktail with wine. This tart yet flavorful drink uses red wine, simple syrup, lemon juice, an egg white, ice, and bourbon. You can also omit the egg white for a thinner, summer-worthy cocktail.
A fruitier variation of the classic whiskey sour is Alexis' Bordeaux sour. Like a whiskey sour, this cocktail uses many of the same base ingredients but adds French red wine, muddled cherries, orange bitters, lemon juice, maple syrup, and seltzer. The added ingredients give this sour cocktail a citrus, spicy flavoring.
How To Make the Perfect Whiskey Sour
You can easily make a delicious and refreshing whiskey sour at home with just a few ingredients: 2 ounces of premium bourbon, ¾ ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¾ ounce simple syrup, one-half orange wheel, and a maraschino cherry for garnishment.
Combine your favorite bourbon with freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup using a cocktail shaker. Then, fill your shaker with ice and vigorously shake until the whole glass is cold. Strain the contents into an old fashioned or rocks glass. Garnish with a fresh orange wheel and cherry, and enjoy.
The whiskey sour has been delighting people for over 200 years. Its perfectly balanced sweet and sour flavors make it a refreshing summer cocktail. With only a few ingredients and a premium bourbon, you can even enjoy a classic whiskey sour at home this summer.