Friday Cocktail: The Whiskey Sour

What is it about the whiskey sour that seems a bit old fashioned? It’s certainly old, with the first recorded recipe seen in 1862, but for some reason I always associate it with dramatic starlets in old movies, and 1960’s cocktail parties á la Mad Men. I think it should come back into style, though, and hopefully by the end of this post you will too.

I love a margarita, or a daiquiri in the summertime, and at it’s most basic level, a whiskey sour is the same– 2oz sprit, citrus, a bit of sugar. It’s so wonderfully simple I don’t even need to check the recipe while combining everything. Better yet, it requires ingredients I always have in the fridge/pantry. Better yet, a good margarita, daiquiri, and whiskey sour are generally well received by all.  While margaritas and daiquiris may be warm weather drinks, the whiskey sour has staying power.

Thinking about why the whiskey sour may have fallen out of favour I came to the conclusion that, much like the margarita and the daiquiri, the inclusion of sour mix rather than freshly-squeezed citrus is the likely cause. I alway find sour mix to be too sweet, and masks any properties of the spirit in the drink. A good whiskey sour needs to flavours of the whiskey, not just the lemon and sugar. So, if you’ve tried one with sour mix and have an unfavourable opinion, I hope you give this a try (and let me know if you do in the comments).



• 2 oz whiskey or bourbon (I like Buffalo Trace for these)

• 1 scant tsp sugar

• 1 Tbs lemon juice (or half of a small lemon)


  1. Combine lemon juice, sugar, and bourbon in the base of a shaker. Mix a bit by swirling everything together to dissolve the sugar a bit.
  2. Add ice and shake well to combine
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve with or without ice, and a orange or lemon slice


I like ice in my whiskey sour most of the time, mostly because there are so few ingredients that it’s nice to have the slowly melting ice mellow the drink out a bit, but either way is equally delicious. You may have noticed the absence of an egg white here. My favourite thing about sours is their simplicity– adding an egg white ruins this a bit (at least for me).


Earlier this week I was thinking about this series, and how much fun it’s been to try so many different cocktails, but that it would be lovely to have one go-to ‘signature’ drink. Admittedly this can be a bit difficult to discover when I’m testing new recipes every week, but I think the whiskey sour may be in the running– it’s simple to throw together, good in both warm and cold weather, and delicious without being fussy.

Cheers to my (possible) new go-to drink, and the weekend!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s