For Vibrant Whiskey Sours, Swap Lemon Juice With Fresh-Squeezed Orange

Since its invention in the 1860s, the whiskey sour has stuck around — and for good reason. Its straightforward formula of booze, citrus, and sugar — oftentimes with egg white — crafts a tempting creation with loads of nuance. It's easy to showcase varying whiskey characteristics while fine-tuning the tang and sweetness for maximum drinkability. The vast majority of whiskey sours rely solely on lemon juice, but adding freshly squeezed orange juice gives the drink an appealing lighter and sweeter take.

Not only does the inclusion of orange juice impact the flavor — adding a touch of sugar — but the mouthfeel, too. The cocktail will have a softer character, which can be matched with a flavorful whiskey. All the while, some lemon juice still maintains an acidic balance, which can be adjusted to taste. Further varying ratios of whiskey and simple syrup will yield distinct results. Such is the enthralling nature of this versatile drink, so let's dive into a few notable riffs.

Vary orange juice and whiskey for unique sours

Fans of a sweeter whiskey sour can reach for a bourbon base and add a greater proportion of orange juice. Such renditions can reach almost one-and-a-half parts orange to lemon, although some of the latter's acidic tang is necessary: Hey, this is a sour after all. If making this version, tone down the sugar syrup to compensate for the sweeter orangey flavor.

Alternatively, imbue only a slight orange character by utilizing two-parts lemon to one-part orange juice. This is better aligned with a bolder whiskey, like rye, and is well-suited to incorporating an egg white topping for added fluffiness. The inclusion of rich, simple syrup further plays to a decadent mouthfeel since it gives the drink a thicker consistency. This would make it more of a classic whiskey sour.

If craving an even deeper orange flavor, consider integrating the citrus in other forms. You could craft a syrup with the orange — opting for a sweet flavorful fruit variety like cara cara — and also including the rind, for a powerful full-fruit flavor. Finally, you can rim the glass with a malty brown sugar, top the egg white foam with orange bitters and garnish with a dried orange slice or grated orange zest, for an impressive effect.