Cocktails: Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour is an iconic cocktail and once you learn to master it, your guests will ask you to make it again and again. It has taken me quite some time to ace the recipe – but most of the time was spent getting the ratios between the ingredients right. If you just follow the instructions below, you will be able to make a world-class Whiskey Sour yourself today – and it will be better than 95% of the ones you order in a restaurant and a bar. Promise.

And on that topic: Many bars will simply use ready-to-pour sweet-n-sour mix that they add to the whiskey and the ice cubes. And while that cocktail will take the bartender about 30 seconds to make, it is MILES apart from the quality of the version below, IMHO. But … taste is different, of course.

To avoid that at a bar, here is a pro tip: Some bartenders thinks that a “Whiskey Sour” is without the frothy foam – hence serving it with just sweet-n-sour mix. The version called “Boston Sour” is specifically with the frothy foam – and most bartenders will make it like that, if you ask for the Boston version. If you want to make sure that you are served the version outlined below, I will suggest that you order a Boston Sour, to be safe. There is also a version called “New York Sour” that adds red wine to the mix. It tastes much better than it sounds, but I prefer mine without red wine.

So – here we go:

Equipment needed

  • A cocktail glass. I prefer the ones that can hold 10oz (like the one in the picture)
  • Boston shaker. I prefer the type where both sides are metal, but the metal/glass combo also works well.
  • Strainer

Ingredients (for one cocktail)

  • ½ egg white
  • 2oz (6cl) Bourbon or Rye, around 90-100 proof (45-50% ABV). I prefer Buffalo Trace or Knob Creek.
  • 1oz (3cl) Simple syrup (made from 50% sugar and 50% water – just mix the two)
  • 1oz (3cl) Lemon juice (lime juice does not work)
  • 2 Luxardo cherries
  • 1 teaspoon of Luxardo cherry sauce
  • Ice cubes (for both glass and shaker)
  • 1+1 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Step-by-step guide

  1. Fill the glass with ice cubes, add two Luxardo cherries and a teaspoon of the juice.
  2. Open the shaker and add the egg white. I strongly suggest that you start with his ingredient, as you will ruin the other ingredients, if you accidentally manage to drop the yolk as well. If you do that in the beginning, you can just start over, without having wasted the whiskey.
  3. Add the whiskey, the simple syrup, the lemon juice and 1 dash of the Angostura.
  4. Close the shaker and shake for 5-10 seconds WITHOUT ice. This is called a “dry shake” and is what creates the foam.
  5. Open the shaker again and add a handful of ice cubes. Close and shake well for 20 seconds, or so.
  6. Open the shaker (hit it with the side of your hand, if it is difficult to open) and pour mix into the glass with a strainer on top of the shaker to make sure the “dead ice” in the shaker stays out of your cocktail.
  7. Add an extra dash of Angostura on top of the cocktail (just for presentation) and a straw, if you are into that.


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