The Whiskey Sour has been around since at least 1870, but word has it that it dates back to before the Lincoln Administration. We know that because that’s when the mixed drink received its first historical mention in the Waukesha Plain Dealer, a no longer existent Wisconsin newspaper. Classically made with whiskey (usually bourbon), lemon juice, sugar, and, optionally, a dash of egg white–when it often gets the name, “Boston Sour”–this mixed beverage continues to be one of the world’s most popular.
It’s popularity and simplicity has made it ripe for variations, one of the most popular being the New York Sour, where a few bar spoons of full-bodied red wine are floated on top. A Ward 8, meanwhile, includes both lemon and orange juices, and grenadine syrup as the sweetener, but skips out on the egg white.
The Whiskey Sour is one of those cocktails that anyone throwing a dinner party should be able to whip up without hesitation. It’s also a huge crowd pleaser, especially if you add the velvety egg white. Liquor, sugar, citrus, and protein, it’s basically a balanced break in a drink. Execution is easy, but anything with an egg white generally gets rave reviews, and will likely get the crowd talking. If you feel like showing off a smidge, add a few dashes of aromatic bitters on top for a complementary spice note.
- 2 oz whiskey
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 egg white (optional)
- Orange slice
- Maraschino cherry
Combine whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and optional egg white in a cocktail shaker. Fill a shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds. Pour the cocktail through a strainer or a slotted spoon into an old-fashioned or rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.