Classic Frothy Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe

This classic frothy whiskey sour recipe is a balanced recipe of whiskey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and the perfect froth of an egg white. And we even have advice on how to make this vegan! According to food blogger Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table, a classic frothy whiskey sour cocktail is the one cocktail every aspiring home bartender should have in their arsenal.

The original whiskey sour is actually one of the oldest cocktails still in circulation. It first appeared in print in 1862, and cocktail lore has it that it was developed as a way to prevent sailors from getting scurvy. Because whiskey was the preferred way for British sailors to quench their thirst, and lemons are a great source of vitamin C, the pairing between the two became the preferred remedy to staving off disease – much better, if you ask us, than eating a bowlful of broccoli.

Thanks to the rise of craft cocktails, making a whiskey sour from scratch — as opposed to with a mix — rose to popularity in recent years. People are rediscovering this simple, classic cocktail again. And for that, we're thankful.

Gather the whiskey sour ingredients

To make this cocktail you will need whiskey, half a lemon, sugar, water, 1 egg, a few orange slices, and a maraschino cherry.

Traditionally, whiskey sour is made with regular whiskey. You can also make it with rye, or even bourbon. Try to make this recipe with different types of whiskey and see what you like best!

Make a simple syrup

To make the simple syrup, combine 1 cup cane sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan set over low heat.

Continue cooking and stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and let the mixture cool. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Separate an egg

Next, separate the egg white from the egg yolk (you can save the egg yolks for another use, such as making homemade mayonnaise). 

If you want to keep this drink vegan, substitute the egg white for 3 tablespoons of liquid from a can of chickpeas, also known as aquafaba.

Combine the cocktail ingredients in a shaker

First, a word about technique. The common way to make a whiskey sour is with a "dry shake" technique. This means combining all the cocktail ingredients in a shaker without ice and shaking it vigorously. You would then repeat the whole thing again, but with ice. This is supposed to produce a great foam.

We encourage you to try both this technique and the "reverse dry shake" technique. In the reverse dry shake technique, you would combine 1 ounce whiskey, 1 egg white, ¾ ounce simple syrup and ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cocktail shaker, shake with a bit of ice, strain, remove the ice, add the cocktail back to the now empty (but chilled) shaker, and shake to create that foam. 

Serve your classic frothy whiskey sour

Pour the whiskey sour onto a rocks glass over ice and garnish with orange half-wheels and a maraschino cherry.

Classic Frothy Whiskey Sour Recipe
3.6 from 59 ratings
Legend has it the whiskey sour was created as a way to ward off the dreaded scurvy. Forget the pre-made sour mix and make your own craft version of the drink.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
5
minutes
Servings
1
Cocktail
whiskey sour on a metal tray with garnishes
Total time: 10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces whiskey, bourbon or rye whiskey
  • ½ lemon
  • orange half-wheels, for garnish
  • maraschino cherry, for garnish
Optional Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba (in lieu of egg, for a vegan alternative)
Directions
  1. To make the simple syrup, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  2. Separate egg white from egg yolk. Discard the latter or save for another use.
  3. Combine the whiskey, egg white, ¾ ounce simple syrup, and juice from the lemon half in a cocktail shaker. Shake with a bit of ice for 25 to 30 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail into the cap of the shaker. Discard the ice, return the cocktail ingredients back into the shaker, and shake the cocktail again without ice for just a few seconds.
  5. Strain onto a rocks glass over ice and garnish with orange half-wheels and a maraschino cherry.
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