Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail

A classic whiskey sour cocktail recipe made with bourbon, lemon, simple sugar, and egg white. Frothy, citrusy, and refreshing.

Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail

This is not your college bar’s whiskey sour recipe. The thought of it still makes me queasy. sickly sweet sour mix and house whiskey. Nasty.

Whiskey Sour Ingredients

What’s in a real whiskey sour? Traditionally, it’s made with bourbon, fresh lemon juice, simple sugar, and sometimes egg white. The egg white serves as a frothy finishing texture that delivers so much more character to an otherwise straightforward cocktail.

The Cocktail’s History

The original whiskey sour appeared in 1862 in Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks. This cocktail did not contain egg whites. Egg whites actually came a little later and is actually referred to as a Boston Sour, by some. A lot of the classics evolved over time so I’m going with the egg white variation for argument sake. I think it’s an absolutely necessary element to the cocktail and I wont drink one without it. It’s so much better.

How to Make a Whiskey Sour

The egg white makes the shake in the whiskey sour extremely important. First, we’ll do what’s called a dry shake. Dry shaking is shaking cocktail ingredients with no ice. This will help break down the proteins in the egg white and make them foamier and silky smooth. If you shake with ice first and only, it tends to dilute the egg whites and makes them more watery.

Any cocktail with egg white should be shaken for a solid 20-30 seconds to really whip up the egg, otherwise it defeats the purpose. No cheating or wimping out—you need to earn your booze.

Once the egg whites are frothy, we can add ice, give the cocktail a vigorous few shakes to chill, and strain into your double old fashioned glass over a giant ice cube. The egg white will float on the surface yielding a nice foamy crown. This cocktail can also be served straight up in a coupe glass if you prefer. Bartender’s choice.

Not sure about using raw egg whites? I can’t make this call for you but I’ll tell you I do it all the time. Use fresh eggs at the very least. If you’re still weirded out by it, you can use pasteurized liquid egg whites sold in a carton. This will greatly reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail
Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail
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Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Cuisine: American

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white or 1 ounce liquid egg whites
  • Luxardo cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake vigorously with NO ice for 20-30 seconds. This is to whip up the eggs and make them frothy.
  2. Add ice and shake for another 10 seconds and strain into a double old fashioned glass over a giant ice cube. This can also be served straight up in a coupe glass.

Notes

Use fresh eggs at the very least. If you’re unsure about using raw egg white, you can use pasteurized liquid egg whites sold in a carton. This will greatly reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

Keywords: classic whiskey sour, how to make a whiskey sour