The Whiskey To Reach For If You Enjoy A Softer Sour

Since its debut more than a century ago in the 1800s, the whiskey sour has undergone numerous changes and possibly given rise to dozens of variations. However, one thing has remained constant through the years: A shaker of whiskey sour is only as good as the whiskey you mix it with. Though you can make a whiskey our with both bourbon and rye whiskey, don't mistake it as a one-to-one substitution. Your choice of whiskey actually plays a crucial role in the flavor of the final drink.

This difference in taste is due to the distinct mash bills, which are the combinations of grains that are eventually fermented into alcohol, used in these two types of whiskey. Rye whiskey, as the name suggests, is made from a mash bill that has at least 51% rye, which gives the whiskey a very heady, intense flavor packed with spice. This is perfect if you enjoy your whiskey sour cocktail hard and dry.

On the other hand, if you prefer a smoother and more mellow taste, then bourbon is the way to go. Bourbon's mash bill consists of at least 51% corn, which gives it a totally different flavor profile. The corn contributes to a sweeter and fuller-bodied flavor in the final drink. Depending on the brand, you may even detect common tasting notes of vanilla, caramel, honey, nuts, and oak from the cask — all of which you'd be able to savor more easily with less spice in the liquor.

More tricks you can use to soften your Whiskey Sour

If you're looking to make your whiskey sour sweeter and lighter in flavor, there are a few tricks to consider beyond just using bourbon. The first one is to adjust the sweeteners in the recipe. Normally, a classic whiskey sour is sweetened with simple syrup. You can amp up the sweetness by adding a bit more syrup than the standard ½ ounce found in most recipes. Try not to overdo it, though, as too much syrup can make the cocktail cloyingly sweet.

If you don't mind straying from the original recipe, some bartenders have added orange juice to give the cocktail a sweeter and slightly tangy twist. This is particularly handy if you don't have bourbon on hand and are using rye whiskey instead, as it helps balance out the rye's spiciness with citrusy notes.

Lastly, if you're making the frothy whiskey sour with egg white, consider the "reverse dry shake" technique. Start by shaking the ingredients with ice to chill them thoroughly. Then, strain the cocktail, remove the ice from the shaker, pour the cocktail back in, and shake it again without ice for 15 to 20 seconds. This extra shake will create a better frothiness in the egg white, resulting in a creamier texture that feels lighter and softer in your mouth.