How To Make A Whiskey Sour

“Sour mix” (the pre-made stuff) gives this drink a bad name. Here’s how to make a world-class Whiskey Sour instead.

The Whiskey Sour needs a PR person. But until it actually gets one, we’ll take the job. Sour mix - unless made from scratch - is not good. Do not buy sour mix. Make your Whiskey Sour with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, and you’ll have a world-class beverage that’ll bring you more joy than at least two or three of your current friendships. Here’s how to do it.

How It Tastes: Tart, Juicy, Refreshing

Drink If You Like:Paper Plane, Whiskey Ginger

How To Make A Whiskey Sour image

The Whiskey Sour

You’ll Need:

  • Ice

  • A rocks glass

  • 2 ounce whiskey

  • .75 ounce lemon juice

  • .75 ounce simple syrup

  • Orange slice and/or cherry for garnish

  • Optional: one pasteurized egg white

Step One: Simple Syrup

Remember how to make syrup? Just use equal parts warm water and white sugar, then stir until the sugar is dissolved. Now that you’ve done that (and let your syrup cool), add .75 ounce to your shaker.

Step Two: Lemon Juice

Once again, we’d like to emphasize the importance of fresh-squeezed juice. It’ll make a world of difference in every cocktail that calls for juice, and it isn’t hard to make. Now, squeeze at least one lemon. That should give you about 2 ounces of lemon juice. Put .75 of those ounces into your shaker.

Step Three: Bourbon

Could you use rye here? Sure, why not? But bourbon is traditional, and we prefer it. So take two ounces of your bourbon, and pour it into your shaker.

Step Four: Shake

For a Whiskey Sour especially, a strong shake is key. So grab that shaker, and have at it. You want those ice cubes bouncing from end to end, making a sound like Fred Astaire in a shipping container. (Disclaimer: don’t know what that sounds like.) Once you finish, pour your drink over ice in a rocks glass. If you shook hard enough, it should have a thick layer of foam on top (and, if you want, you can decorate that foam with a dash of bitters). Next, stick an orange slice and/or a quality preserved cherry on top for garnish, and you have a cocktail that will force people to acknowledge the power of both you and the Whiskey Sour.

If You’d Like to Add an Egg White

Yes, you can put egg whites in cocktails. No, it’s not gross. In fact, an egg white gives your cocktail a nice creamy texture - which is especially great for Whiskey Sours. Just add your egg white to your shaker first, then pour in every other ingredient, and give everything a 12-second “dry shake.” That’s just a strong shake without any ice, to get everything airy and integrated. Once you’ve done that, do a second, normal shake with ice, and enjoy your supernaturally fluffy cocktail. (For peace of mind, use either pasteurized eggs or a 1-ounce pour from a carton of pasteurized egg whites.)

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