Whiskey Sour

This one really needs no introduction. The Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail comprised of bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup sugar, and an egg white. It's always a favorite - simple, tasty, and to the point.
By September 11, 2019 No Comments Jump to Recipe
whiskey sour in coupe glass 3

This Whiskey Sour recipe is such a great classic whiskey cocktail recipe. It’s delicious, easy to whip up, and gets rave reviews any time I serve it. It’s one of those easy, comforting cocktails that works so well as an end to a busy day. This Whiskey Sour recipe is little on effort, but big on flavor!

Not only is The Whiskey Sour a perfect cocktail to enjoy on a weeknight, it even works well served at special occasions. You get that tangy bite of lemon combined with the sweetness of simple syrup and frothiness of the egg white. Nothing quite compares. You’ll want to make this one again and again. From summer to winter. It’s one that never gets old and can easily be riffed with other sprits.

History of the whiskey sour

The Whiskey Sour is thought to have originated in the 1860s. The first written record comes in the seminal 1862 book The Bartender’s Guide: How To Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas. It was again mentioned in the Wisconsin newspaper, Waukesha Plain Dealer, in 1870. And then finally was referenced in 1872. A former ship steward, Elliot Staub, “invented” a drink — the whiskey sour — in a bar in Iquique (then part of Peru). Through these three origins, we come to, more or less, what we have today–a cocktail that mixes a spirit, a sour, and a sweet.

What makes a drink a sour?

A sour cocktail is technically one that is made with fresh citrus juice. In this case, we’re using lemon juice. They typically have a base liquor, fresh citrus and a sweetener. Occasionally egg white is added to a sour drink to smooth it out and add that foaminess. You will also sometimes see a small splash of club soda or bit of champagne added to lighten a sour cocktail. Variations of sour cocktails can include muddled herbs or fruit or infusions for flavor. Common sour drinks are:

Whiskey sour ingredients

There’s just four simple, fresh ingredients between you and the best whiskey sour recipe you’ve ever tried. Here’s what you need:

  • Good quality Bourbon Whiskey.
  • Fresh lemon juice, which will taste much better than store bought sour mixes. 
  • Simple Syrup. This is so easy to make and can be used in so many different recipes, like this Rum Sour. Combine equal parts sugar and water together over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool before using. Leftover simple syrup keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. 
  • An egg white. The egg white is what gives this cocktail that foamy texture that is so dreamy.

Why is there egg white in a whiskey sour?

The egg white being shaken up with all of the other ingredients is what gives the whiskey sour the foamy texture. Adding an egg white is optional, but definitely recommended. As long as you’re using pasteurized eggs, there’s no reason why you should worry about using raw egg white.

If you are vegan and have a love for frothy cocktails, you can substitute aquafaba (aka chickpea water) instead of the egg white. 3/4 ounce liquid from canned chickpeas (aquafaba) will equal 1 egg white.

How to make a whiskey sour

  1. For one cocktail combine two ounces of whiskey, one egg white, 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice and 3/4 ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds and until it’s foamy.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake another 20 seconds and until the cocktail is very cold.
  4. Strain the frothy mixture into a cocktail glass with ice.
  5. Garnish with 2 to 3 bitters. Now, you’ve got yourself exquisite tasting cocktail.

Calories in a whiskey sour

Calories calculations in a whiskey sour can vary greatly, depending on exact ingredients and measurement of ingredients used. Most of the calories in this drink come from the whiskey. There are about 64 calories in 1 ounce of whiskey and by my calculation, this particular whiskey sour recipe has about 216 calories.

Cocktail Equipment

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More delicious cocktail recipes

whiskey sour in coupe glass 3

Whiskey Sour Cocktail

Print Pin Rate
Course: Drink
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail


  • 2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 Egg White Pasteurized if you prefer
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • Bitters for garnish 2 – 3 dashes


  • Combine the whiskey, egg white, simple syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake for about 10 seconds to froth the egg white.
  • Fill the shaker with ice and shake until very cold, about 20 more seconds.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a chilled coupe or rocks glass and garnish with a few dashes of bitters.


Make it vegan by substituting 3/4 oz aquafaba (aka chickpea water) for the the egg white.

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