This classic whiskey sour recipe is quick and easy to make with an optional frothy egg white layer on top.
When it comes to cozy bourbon cocktails, a classic whiskey sour is hard to beat. ♡
This classic drink is said to date all the way back to the 1870s, and has remained a favorite since then for good reason. It balances the deep, rich notes of whiskey with tartness from freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a hint of sweetener. And then here in our house, we’re partial to the version (also called a Boston Sour) made by shaking the cocktail with an egg white for a velvety, frothy, creamy layer on top. It always looks so elegant garnished with a lemon peel and cocktail cherry and comes together easily in just a few minutes!
The beauty of making your own whiskey sour is that you can tinker with the ingredient ratios to make your cocktail exactly as sweet or tart as you prefer. And while the egg white topping is optional, it absolutely makes this cocktail in my opinion, so I highly recommend giving it a try.
Let’s make some whiskey sour cocktails!
Whiskey Sour Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Whiskey Sour Ingredients
Here are a few brief notes about the ingredients you will need to make a whiskey sour cocktail:
Whiskey: Bourbon is the whiskey traditionally used in a classic whiskey sour, with its warm vanilla and brown sugar flavor notes. We strongly recommend using a mid-range, high-proof bourbon (between 43-50% ABV) so that its flavor does not get drowned out by the other ingredients. And while we’re partial to bourbons with a stronger, peppery, slightly smoky vibe, feel free to use whatever variety of bourbon you love best here.
Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is essential here for balancing out the sweetness of the other ingredients with its bright and tangy flavor. Be sure to remove the lemon peel first (for garnish) before juicing the lemon!
Maple syrup (or simple syrup): We’re partial to adding a hint of pure maple syrup to sweeten this cocktail, but you’re welcome to use simple syrup (the traditional sweetener) in your drink instead.
Egg white: A single raw egg white is traditionally used as the foamer for this cocktail. When shaken with the drink, it forms a silky, frothy, creamy top for the cocktail that’s always so lovely!
Angostura bitters: A few drops of bitters enhance the rest of these ingredients with its spicy, herbal, citrus flavor.
Garnishes: We typically top our drink with a lemon peel (easy to make with a vegetable peeler) and Luxardo cherry or two.
How To Make A Whiskey Sour
Full instructions for how to make a whiskey sour are included in the recipe below, but here are 5 extra tips to keep in mind:
Use fresh citrus juice. As always, freshly-squeezed lemon juice adds the best and brightest flavor to this cocktail. Plus you can twist the rind of a fresh lemon as a garnish. So I highly recommend going the fresh route here versus using pre-bottled lemon juice.
Add sweetener to taste. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to the sweetness of this cocktail. (I personally prefer mine on the more tart side, and only add a hint of sweetener.) So if you’re making this cocktail for the first time, add the sweetener gradually to taste.
Use a good-quality bourbon. Bourbon is undoubtedly the dominant flavor in this cocktail, so choose a good one whose flavor notes. you love.
Don’t skip the “dry shake.” It’s important to first shake all of the liquid ingredients together without ice so that the ingredients can mix while the egg white aerates and gets nice and frothy. Then you can do a final shake with ice to chill everything.
Use fresh ice. This drink is traditionally strained over fresh ice, so that the cubes are not melted by the time you pour the drink.
Whiskey Sour Variations
Here are a few classic variations on a whiskey sour that you’re welcome to try too:
Scotch Sour: Use scotch whiskey for a rich and smoky twist on this cocktail.
New York Sour: Add a red wine float for extra depth of flavor and a lovely red color.
Amaretto Sour: Replace bourbon with amaretto liqueur for a nutty, almond variation on the classic sour.
Gold Rush: Use honey syrup instead of simple syrup or maple syrup.
More Whiskey Cocktails To Try!
Looking for more whiskey cocktail recipes to enjoy? Here are a few of our favorites: