Make a Traditional Whiskey Sour – or Make It Your Own With These Fun Twists

by Mama Loves A Drink

The Whiskey Sour is another one of those absolute classic cocktails that every amateur bar tender should look to master. The ingredients are super simple, but it’s how you present it and make it your own that counts!

The sour comes from the citrus – in this case lemon – which is then mixed with a sweeter ingredient to balance out the flavours. Super simple, but have some fun, especially with the whiskey and really make it your own!

Can’t make it now? Save this to Pinterest for later

Glass of Whiskey Sour - How to make whiskey sour

As Amazon affiliates, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Tools you will need for making a Whiskey Sour

  • A cocktail shaker with strainer
  • Jigger
  • Citrus juicer
  • Ice cubes
  • Cocktail sticks to garnish (optional)
  • Old fashioned glass

Find all our favourite tools for your home cocktail bar here.

Yield: 1 serve

Whiskey Sour

glass of whiskey sour cocktail garnished with cherry and a cocktail shaker

Sugar, spirit & Syrup magically combine in this classic cocktail to make an elegant, bold and satisfying sip, perfect for any occasion

Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes


  • 60ml 80% Proof Bourbon
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
  • 25ml Simple Syrup
  • Orange or lemon slice and a maraschino cherry to garnish (optional)
  • Angostura Bitters to garnish (optional)


  1. Combine the bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker (grab our simple syrup recipe here)
  2. Fill your shaker with ice, cover& shake vigorously for about 20 seconds
  3. Serve through a strainer into an old fashioned glass filled with ice and garnish
  4. As an optional extra, you may want a few drops of Angostura bitters delicately dripped on top

Adaptions to the traditional whiskey sour

Whilst the whiskey sour really is a super-simple 3-ingredient cocktail, there are plenty of ways you can play with this traditional recipe and make it your own, from the glass and the garnish to the type of whiskey you use.

Changing your whiskey in your whiskey sour

We have suggested to use an 80% proof bourbon as the base spirit, but you could also substitute in:

  • Brandy – making for a Brandy Sour
  • Wild Turkey – or any 100% proof bourbon for a much fuller flavour
  • Scotch – if you want a smoky finish a blend such as Famous Grouse will do the job
  • Rye – if you like it a little spicer on the pallet but still sweet this is our go-to (check out Old Forester)

Egg White in your Whiskey Sour?

If you’ve ever seen a whiskey sour with a much more frothy top, it’s likely they’ve adapted the traditional recipe to add an egg white. The egg white is usually a minor ingredient, and flavourless, but none the less changes the consistency of the drink, it reportedly helps bind the ingredients and can reduce the acidity that you often get from sour drinks.

Can you subsitute sugar syrup

Whilst yes, in theory, you could go with straight forward sugar it really comes out far too grainy for such a simple drink. Given the importance as one of the 3 core ingredients to add that crucial sweet element, this is one that’s well worth the time preparing a batch of sugar syrup to get the consistency right.

One other option which slightly trasnform the whiskey sour again is to substitute the sugar syrup with honey.

Serving glass for your whiskey sour

We do love a whiskey drink served into an old fashioned glass, but why not go for a classy touch for a ladies night and serve it in a coupe glass? The presentation can be everything even with our amateur cocktail guides so why not mix it up and add a little elegant touch, skip the cherry and just lightly drop the bitters on the foam for garnish.

National Whiskey Sour Day

Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable to drink a whiskey sour any day of the year but the national spotlight in the US shines bright on the Whiskey Sour every 25 August. Why not give it a try this year!

Mama Loves A Drink advocates quality over quantity. Always drink responsibly!

Like it? Share it with a friend!

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Skip to Recipe