How to make a standard Whiskey Sour.
The Whiskey Sour is a true classic that works as a great template for improvisations and personalized tweaks. It is well balanced between sweet, sour and boozy with a silky smooth texture.
Any whiskey is fair game here based on the final drink you are after.
Like it sweet? go for the bourbon. Bold and spicy? use a high ABV rye. Or maybe you reach for a blended scotch to add a bit of smoke and extra maltiness.
Choosing your Whiskey Sour recipe
Much like a classic Daiquiri many bartenders use different unique recipes with adjusted ratios, different whiskies and sweeteners, and unique flavor modifiers.
I don’t think it’s very easy to make a really bad whiskey sour, but the finer details of the ratios and ingredients you choose will be the difference between and good cocktail and a great one.
And the key to determining what makes a great whiskey sour for you, is experimenting.
Start with what type of whiskey you want to use and build from there.
Next I would suggest selecting the sweetener you want. You can keep it classic with a standard simple syrup (maybe cane sugar syrup), or get weird with it by using dark sugars, maple, honey syrup or agave. Then adjust the ratio of ingredients based on the potency of the sweetener you go with.
Now for the lemon.
I think there are only really two ingredients that a classic style whiskey sour should have, with those being whiskey and lemon.
Sure you can use something else sour in addition, but I think the flavor combination of lemon and whiskey is the constant backbone through all the variations of this drink.
Then the last two choices are what flavor modifiers you will use, and whether or not you will use egg whites. I strongly encourage the latter, but I love to see experimentation with the additional ingredients people use.
I always use Angostura bitters or (something comparable), but I rarely add other flavor elements. This is a drink that I need to do more experimenting with as I have seen people add orange juice, use sherbet, and add hints of amaro or liqueurs… all things that I need to try.
If you have a favorite recipe or any suggestions let me know!
Egg whites in cocktails
Every raw egg white drink recipe on the internet seems to address the topic of safety and here I am going to do the same just to clear some things up.
Eggs on rare occasion carry the salmonella virus that can cause serious illness particularly in people with weakened immune systems such as pregnant women, older people, and those with preexisting health issues. However, eggs that actually carry the virus are very few and far between and are on a significant decline all over the world.
Some people will tell you that alcohol and the acid from citrus juice kills any virus in the drink which is not exactly true. Alcohol and acid both can kill the virus over the course of a few hours, but not in the 30 seconds of shaking that goes into a whiskey sour (if you feel like shaking for 10 hours straight knock yourself out).
The moral of the story is: buy eggs from a healthy reputable source and with ridiculously favorable probability you will be fine. You are at the same risk putting egg white in your cocktails as you are when you eat sunny side up eggs so just do it, its worth it.
Now that I have maybe convinced you that egg white is fine, measure it when using it in a cocktail.
It is a pretty nit-picky thing to do, but if you are going to measure every other ingredient you should do the same with whites so that you get the consistent layer of foam each time you make the drink.
Shaking up the Whiskey Sour
Use a dry shake method shaking without ice first, then adding ice and shaking a second time to get the best texture.
Only shaking with ice will give you decent results, but for a really rich foam you need to whip lots of air into the eff whites before any ice enters the scene.
To garnish, add a few drops of bitters on top of the foam and run a toothpick through them to make a nice design. (I kind of screwed up on this one but I thought it looked cool so I went with it).
USEFUL LINKS: Shaking Drinks
Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe
- 2 Oz Whiskey - (your choice)
- 3/4 Oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Oz 1:1 Simple Syrup
- 1 1/2 Oz Egg White
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- 3 Drops Saline - (optional)
- Add the ingredients to the shaker (egg white last) and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Add the ice and sake for 12 seconds.
- Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a few drops of Angostura bitters.