Whiskey Sour

A sour delight for whiskey lovers: the bright sour notes balance out deep, smoky whiskey for a lightly sweet drink.

Who’s ready to taste the simplistic beauty and balance of a whiskey sour? Me, me, me!! Today, we’re learning how to make a whiskey sour, how to order it, and variations and what they’re called.

Whiskey Sour Ingredients

So, what’s in a Whiskey Sour anyway? Here are the simple ingredients:

  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Optionally: egg white
Pouring the remaining mixed drink mixture from the cocktail shaker into the glass

What is a Whiskey Sour?

A whiskey sour is a mixed cocktail made with whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. It’s sometimes made with an egg white and is considered part of the Sours families of drinks.

Sours are cocktails made with a base liquor, a sour component (lemon or lime juice), and a sweetener such as simple syrup. [1]

A Boston sour is when a Whiskey Sour is made with egg whites; a Scotch sour it’s made with scotch. A whiskey sour made with honey syrup is a Gold Rush.

How to Make a Whiskey Sour

I’m going to go over how to make a whiskey sour without an egg white. If you’d like to know how to make one with an egg white, you’ll find that down below.

First, fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.

Then, add in bourbon whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup.

Shake until well mixed and chilled, then strain into an old fashioned glass filled with ice.

Lastly, garnish the glass with a lemon peel and drop in a cherry. Sip and enjoy.

How Many Calories in a Whiskey Sour?

A whiskey sour has approximately 158 calories, depending on the amount of simple syrup you use.

A photo showing How to Make a Whiskey Sour – beginning to pour the drink into a glass

How to Make a Whiskey Sour with Egg White

Since we’re making a whiskey sour without an egg white today, I’ll show you how to make one with an egg white.

Simply add the egg white along with the bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Shake thoroughly, until fully mixed—this shaking with create a foam from the egg white.

Lastly, strain into a glass, getting almost every bit from the cocktail shaker—this is where the foam will be. Enjoy!

What does a Whiskey sour taste like?

A whiskey sour tastes kind of like an adult lemonade that’s a bit strong. If you’re not a whiskey lover, this is the one to skip.

But, if you’re right in the middle—okay with whiskey, but think it could use a bit of balance, the sweet and tart combo of simple syrup and lemon juice help to smooth out the smokiness of whiskey, for a beautifully balanced cocktail.

For an added layer of sophistication and according to some, a better-balanced overall drink, add the egg white.

How to Order a Whiskey Sour?

If you’re in the mood for a this cocktail, you can try simply ordering one at the bar. However, be prepared for questions like…

“What type of whiskey would you like?”

Bourbon is the safe way to go here—it’s what most  people order. Ask for Scotch if you want a Scotch whiskey that’s smoky. Choose Rye whiskey for a spicier sour that’s complimented by its citrus notes.

“Do you want it shaken or stirred?”

Shaken cocktails are shaken up in a cocktail shaker, tend to be chilled more, and are the way to go if you’re getting a Boston Sour (the egg white version), so the egg white can foam up in the shaker.

Choose stirred if you’d like your drink less diluted—but most folks order it shaken.

“How would you like it?”

Most people will order their whiskey sour on the rocks, meaning it will be served in a glass with ice. You can have it up which means it will be served without any ice, or neat, meaning it’ll have a bit of water added to it.

A photo showing How to Make a Whiskey Sour – pouring the last drop over the glass with an orange and cherry garnish


Is a Whiskey Sour a well drink?

Yes and no. Yes, a whiskey sour is generally considered a well drink, which is defined as a mixed drink made with cheaper liquor that is easily within reach of the bartender. In contrast, a call drink is a drink that calls for a particular brand of liquor, which typically costs more.

Thus, if you order a this cocktail with a particular brand of upper tier liquor, it wouldn’t be considered a well drink. If you ordered it without specifying, you’ll probably get a lower cost well drink.

How to make simple syrup for a whiskey sour

To make simple syrup, simply boil 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan set over high heat. Stir throughout until the sugar dissolves. Cool, then use in cocktails. Refrigerate until needed.

Tools You Need

Shaken, not Stirred

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Sending you all our love and maybe even a dove, xo Demeter and Erik ❤️

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Whiskey Sour in an old fashioned glass with an orange slice and cherry garnish

Whiskey Sour

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A sour delight for whiskey lovers: the bright sour notes balance out deep, smoky whiskey for a lightly sweet drink.



Whiskey Sour Ingredients

  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½  to ¾ oz simple syrup, to taste
  • For a Boston Sour, add an egg white


  • Lemon peel or orange slice and cocktail cherry


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup to taste.
  2. Shake until well-chilled.
  3. Strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice.
  4. Garnish with a lemon peel or orange slice and cocktail cherry.


See post for recipe variations and preparation tips.

  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Drinks, Cocktails
  • Method: Chilled, No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

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  1. This was such an easy and delicious drink that does not disappoint! Quick, refreshing and with the perfect kick!

  2. I made these whiskey sous after dinner last night for my husband and I. Delicious! definitely a new go to cocktail!