Classic Whiskey Sour Recipe

We've said it before, and we'll say it again: You don't need to go to a bar or restaurant to order a great whiskey cocktail. Whether you're a skilled bartender or a beginner just practicing your skills, it's super easy to whip up this classic whiskey sour. According to Arcadia Publishing, the whiskey sour has an interesting backstory. Sailors would make this drink to prevent scurvy, which was a real threat for those out at sea months at a time. And, considering there's a decent amount of Vitamin C-providing citrus in a whiskey sour, it's easy to see why the cocktail became so popular on the high seas.

Recipe developer Michelle McGlinn came up with this flavorful cocktail recipe, and we can't help but clink our glasses over it. "I love that this is a bourbon cocktail that tastes more light and creamy than usual dark liquor drinks," McGlinn shares. "If you don't like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans but do love margaritas, this might be your new favorite drink. It's sour, sweet, smooth, and creamy, and so easy to make that you probably have the ingredients on hand!" And don't let the egg scare you away — it's a pasteurized egg white, and it provides both creaminess and a delightful foam that makes a whiskey sour so iconic.

Gather the ingredients for this classic whiskey sour

Begin by grabbing all of the necessary ingredients to make this cocktail. You will need bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, an egg white, maraschino cherries, angostura bitters, and an orange peel. When you're at the store, be sure you get pasteurized eggs. "Pasteurized eggs or egg whites have been gently heated to remove bacteria; you can find pasteurized eggs and egg whites in the grocery stores, just look for a carton that says "pasteurized" on it (It's often written very small)," McGlinn explains. "You can also pasteurize your eggs at home if you are able to keep your heat at steady temperature; the heat can't go over 140 or the egg will cook." 

Once you have those items, you can whip up this classic whiskey sour.

Combine the liquids in a cocktail shaker

Take out your trusty cocktail shaker and begin adding your liquids. This includes the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white. Once you add them in, close the lid of the cocktail shaker tight and dry-shake the ingredients for about 30 seconds. The consistency should be frothy. McGlinn says that dry shaking is the way to go. "It is the best way to mix egg whites into your cocktail. Like in baking, you can transform egg whites by whipping them — and in making cocktails, this can be done quickly in a cocktail shaker," she notes. 

Don't have a cocktail shaker? "We've used mason jars and beer glasses to mix cocktails in a pinch! Mason jars work especially well, since they are sealable and durable for shaking," McGlinn shares. "You can also use two sturdy cups, about the same size, and use them like a Boston shaker." 

Add ice cubes and shake again

After you've finished doing the dry shaking, remove the lid from the shaker and toss in two medium-sized ice cubes. Close the lid tightly and shake again until chilled. This shouldn't take more than 15 seconds or so.

Strain the liquid

Grab a rocks glass or a coupe glass and strain the liquid from the cocktail shaker into the glass. Hold the cocktail shaker upside down to extract the egg white foam, which will come out slightly slower than everything else.

Garnish and serve your whiskey sour

This drink is very easy to garnish. Just add bitters, cherries, and an orange peel as desired. McGlinn also shares a few additional garnish options. "I love whiskey sours garnished with herbs like thyme and lavender," she shares. "So pretty. You can also swap the orange peel out for lemon, or use a whole citrus wheel instead of just the rind."

McGlinn also provides a few great pairing suggestions if you want to serve this cocktail with food. "Sours are apertifs, so I'd pair with appetizers, especially spicy or salty ones," she suggests. "Bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes, meaty charcuterie, marinated olives, or oysters. You could certainly enjoy as a dessert, too — it would pair well with salted caramel or chocolate cake." Chocolate cake and a cocktail? Sounds like a great time!

Classic Whiskey Sour Recipe
5 from 18 ratings
Skip the bar and the overpriced drink — make an authentic and classic whiskey sour at home instead.
Prep Time
Cook Time
classic whiskey sour in glass
Total time: 6 minutes
  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 pasteurized egg white
  • 2 maraschino cherries, for garnish
  • 3 dashes of angostura bitters, for garnish
  • 1 orange peel, for garnish
  1. Combine the bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Firmly close the lid and dry shake the ingredients for 30 seconds, until very frothy.
  2. Carefully remove the lid of the shaker and add 2 medium-sized ice cubes. Firmly close the lid and shake again until chilled, about 15 seconds.
  3. Strain liquid into a rocks or coupe glass, holding upside down to extract the egg white foam, which will come out slowly.
  4. To garnish, dash bitters on the foam and add cherries and an orange peel as desired.
Calories per Serving 219
Total Fat 0.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 14.9 g
Sodium 52.7 mg
Protein 3.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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