What is a Whiskey Sour?

Don’t be put off by the name; just because it has the word ‘sour’ in it, doesn’t mean it is going to blow your head off like one of those crazy sherbet lollies of your childhood that you loved to hate. We are going to show you how to make the perfect Whiskey Sour at home, but before that, let’s take a look at the background of this iconic cocktail. A sour is a just traditional cocktail name referring to a mixed drink made with a base liquor, a sweetener, and citrus juice.

The Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail that is created by mixing Bourbon Whiskey, lemon juice and sugar. It is a shaken cocktail and is served over ice. Sometimes egg white is also added to a Whiskey Sour, in which case it is then referred to as a Boston Sour.

Although the drink has a sourness to it (of course), if you use the right Whiskey and a good ratio of sweetness, it is possible to create a Whiskey Sour that is perfectly balanced and not too tart. Remember to adjust the cocktail to your own personal palette as needed.

How to make perfect whiskey sour4

The history of the Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour dates back to the late 1800s, and was first referenced in a Wisconsin Newspaper in 1870 however there was also mention in some publications that it was created in Peru by a North American, in 1872.

Why in the world is egg white added?

Egg white is added to the cocktail as an emulsifier. Just like when you whip an egg white to become a meringue, egg white becomes thicker when you shake it in a cocktail shaker. Essentially that means the egg acts as a thickener and adds a creamy frothiness to the drink, finishing it off nicely with a lovely foam cap. It won’t really add any flavour, it just adds an extra silkiness to the texture, so don’t be afraid to add the egg white!

It’s best to shake the egg white, lemon and sugar first without the ice (also referred to as a ‘dry shake’) so that the egg emulsifies properly and the proteins aren’t watered down by the melting ice cubes. Then you can add your ice in and give it a good vigorous shake to finish it off. The lemon juice helps in the emulsification process by strengthening the bonds between the protein strands, and the sugar syrup thickens the water in the cocktail and therefore helps in the thickening process. Who’d have thought that so much science was involved in creating the perfect cocktail?

How to make perfect whiskey sour2

How to make the perfect Whiskey Sour

Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge’s Beverage Supervisor Simon Hersee took us through the steps to create the perfect Whiskey Sour at home. It literally takes less than 2 minutes to make so why not give this a go and impress your friends with a refreshing, tasty cocktail created by you! Although a traditional Whiskey Sour is made with Bourbon, we used Scotch Whiskey in our recipe as that’s our preference, so do what works for you!

You will need

Boston Shaker


Low ball glass


60ml good quality Whiskey of your choice

30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

30ml simple sugar syrup (see instructions below on how to make your own)

2 egg whites

Lemon wedge to garnish


  1. Add whiskey, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white to shaker
  2. Seal shaker and shake well for about 10 seconds
  3. Add ice to glass
  4. Add ice to cocktail shaker, re-seal and shake again for a further 10 seconds
  5. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon wedge


How to make perfect whiskey sour3

How to make Simple* Sugar Syrup

You will need

1 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup water


  1. Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan
  2. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves
  3. Bring to the boil and then lower to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator

*Simple sugar syrup refers to the fact that it is made with equal parts sugar to water. Heavy Sugar Syrup uses 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.

Come in and relax at Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge

If you would prefer to have your Whiskey Sour made to order, come in and see our talented team at Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge and our mixologists will mix you up a concoction to remember! Jimmy’s Bar & Lounge is located at The Westport Club and is open 7 days from 11am until late. View our Whiskey Menu.

Remember to always Drink Responsibly.