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Day 219, Cocktail 217

Wow, I’m glad to finally be back.  A nasty headcold knocked me flat on Wednesday and Thursday.  I finally got my feet back under me on Friday.  I hope this is the only one of the winter!  So let’s get back to it.

After having the Ward 8, a cousin of the Whiskey Sour,  last Monday, I realized I hadn’t really explored sours since starting this blog.  Most bars that you go to will be able to immediately make you a whiskey sour or one of its many variants.  Unfortunately, most will use a bottled mix.  This is unfortunate since all it takes to make a sour is lemons and bar syrup.  Yep, it’s that simple.  Oh, and actually, they’re not really sour either.  More on that in a moment. 

Sours, in general, have been around since the 1700’s when English sailors took to adding rum to lime and other citrus juices.  This mix was done to preserve the lime juice, a necessity to avoid scurvy on long voyages.  By the 1860’s recipes for whiskey sours had been published.  Because there are so many different sources, I find it difficult to say just where the drink got its start.  Suffice it to say that it has been a bar staple for 150 years, particularly in its whiskey form.

I started my journey into sours with the classic whiskey sour.  Most recipes call for bourbon, however, I used rye and really liked it.  Rye, to me, is the quintessential American whiskey and seems to work just a tad bit better with the lemon juice than bourbon.  Don’t get me wrong, making a whiskey sour with good bourbon is also a wonderous thing…I just prefer the rye by a nose.

  Whiskey Sour

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz bar syrup

Combine the ingredients with ice in a mixing glass.  Shake to mix and pour, ice and all, into a rocks glass.  Garnish with any a lemon or orange slice and cherry.

Alternatively, you can strain the mixed sour into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy up.  However, as with an Old Fashioned, I prefer to have this on the rocks.  It’s also important to use freshly squeezed lemon juice.  The difference in taste is noticeable.  With fresh lemon juice you will have a much brighter flavor to your cocktail.

I like this drink – alot!  The lemon and rye – I used Jim Beam rye – work wonderfully together and the froth you get from shaking gives the cocktail a festive look out of the shaker.  The simple syrup cuts the tartness of the lemon juice.  While not quite sweet, this drink is not sour at all.  Mix one up and let me know what you think!



  1. Yo Stan!

    Sadly, I’m all outta Rye. I still have half a jug of Buffalo Trace bourbon though. Think I can make these by the pitcher? Would be good for a gathering.


  2. G-LO, making whiskey sours by the pitcher works great for parties – just be sure to add water at a rate of about 20% by volume to account for the ice not being used to mix it. And Buffalo Trace would make a great whiskey sour! What time should I be there!

  3. Anytime after 8PM works for us! By the way, did you realize that you’re #12 on this list:

    Pretty cool! Congrats!

  4. G-LO, thanks – yes I did see that I made the 50 best blogs for home bartenders list — I was pretty stoked when I saw it! Have fun with the party!

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