Whiskey Sour

Cocktail Classic: The Whiskey Sour

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A sublime ratio of sour to sweet to temper the strong whiskey base is what makes the whiskey sour such a popular and classic cocktail.

One of the earliest mentions of the whiskey sour appears in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 book, ‘How to Mix Drinks’.

Little has changed. The type of whiskey moves through cycles of fashion. The most common whiskey used currently is Bourbon. Feel free to use any whiskey that you prefer.

We like the addition of egg white to give the drink a creamy, frothy quality. Omit the egg white if you wish.

It’s easy to make a whiskey sour at home. In addition to the Maraschino cherry garnish, try a few drops of bitters also.  

Whiskey Sour Recipe

3 ounces whiskey
1.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Garnish: Maraschino cherry, Angostura bitters (optional).

In a cocktail shaker combine the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white (if using).
Shake well.
Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously.
Strain into an old fashioned glass over ice.
Garnish with Maraschino cherry.

Optional – garnish with a few drops of Angostura bitters. They add a beautiful splash of color resting on the egg white foam, and enhances the interplay of sour with the whiskey.

You can make this into a Whiskey Flip by using a whole egg instead of just the white.

Omit the egg entirely and top with club soda and you have a Whiskey Fizz.

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A note on Maraschino cherries

A good maraschino cherry is made from sour marasca cherries. Luxardo is an excellent brand. These are nothing like the bright red cherries most are used to. Treat yourself to a jar of good Maraschino cherries and you may never go back to the others.

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David Wondrich explores the classic cocktails with engaging stories and recipes as seen through Jerry Thomas’ writings in Imbibe! the Updated and Revised Edition

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