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Whiskey Sour Recipe

Are you looking for a good recipe for the classic whiskey sour? You’ve come to the right place. This recipe is as close as you’ll get to the original drink. 

Its flavor perfectly balances sweet, sour, oaky, and aged notes. It even includes egg white, which is sometimes lacking in whiskey-sour recipes today. 

A glass of whiskey sour cocktail on a glass garnished with orange slice and cherry.
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It’s an incredible recipe and comes together in less than 5 minutes. It requires only a few ingredients and a shaker.

It’s an easy drink for newbie cocktail enthusiasts and experienced mixologists alike. 

What Is a Whiskey Sour?

A whiskey sour is a classic cocktail dating back to the mid-19th century. It typically contains whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and an egg white for texture. 

Of course, if you order the drink at a bar today, it usually doesn’t have the egg white.

Fortunately, you can use the authentic recipe when you make it yourself at home. (Egg white included.) Or you can make it without it! That’s the beauty of making your own drinks!

It’s a strong cocktail with a perfectly balanced sweet-n-sour flavor. 

Two glasses of whiskey sour cocktail with ice garnished with cherry and lemon slice.


The ingredient list for this cocktail isn’t long. Here’s what you need:

  • Ice – Add it to the cocktail shaker to chill the ingredients. I also add ice to my glass for sustained coldness, but it’s optional.
  • Bourbon – Use a high-quality bourbon whose taste you appreciate. I’m partial to Woodford Reserve, but whatever you like is fine. 
  • Lemon juice – I can’t stress enough that this drink needs freshly squeezed lemon juice. The bottled stuff is often too sweet and will upset the balance. 
  • Simple syrup – Make simple syrup by boiling equal parts sugar and water until all the sugar dissolves. 
  • Egg white – Though it may seem like a strange ingredient, it’s a crucial part of this drink. It gives it its silky, velvety texture. 
  • Angostura bitters – These are optional, but they add a bit of complexity to the cocktail.
  • Garnishes – The traditional garnishes for a whiskey sour are orange slices and a cocktail cherry. You can, of course, mix things up a little if you prefer. Lemon twists are also common. 
Whiskey sour cocktail served on a glass filled with ice garnished with lemon and cherry.

How to Make a Whiskey Sour 

As long as you have a cocktail shaker, you can’t mess this drink up. The steps are just too simple: 

1. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice. Then, add all the other ingredients except the garnishes). 

2. Shake it up. Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously until the drink is chilled. 

3. Strain the drink into a chilled Old-Fashioned glass with ice. Add your garnishes, then serve and enjoy!  

How to Make a Whiskey Sour Without Egg White 

If you don’t want to add the egg white to your drink, you still follow the same basic steps: 

1. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters. (Basically, everything you’d add to the original recipe except the egg white.)

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2. Shake it up. Vigorously shake the shaker until the drink is chilled. 

3. Strain it. Strain it into a glass with ice, add your garnishes, and enjoy! 

Best Whiskey for Whiskey Sour 

Traditionally, the best whiskey to use is bourbon. It has a subtle sweetness that pairs nicely with the lemon juice. It also makes for a wonderfully smooth drink. 

However, the best whiskey for your version may be something different. After all, we all have distinct taste preferences. If you prefer spicy to sweet, try rye instead. 

It’s perfectly okay to experiment with different types of whiskey until you find the one you like best. Just remember to select a high-quality brand whose taste you enjoy. 

Glass of whiskey sour filled with ice topped with lemon and orange garnish.

Tips and Variations

Try these tips for the best Whiskey Sour: 

  • Skip the egg white for a crisper drink. Egg white lends a velvety texture to your cocktail, tempering the tanginess. However, if you want a crisper, more refreshing bite, you can skip it.
  • Pick your poison. The classic choice is bourbon since its sweetness pairs well with lemon. But feel free to experiment with other types, like spicier ryes or scotch. 
  • Up or on the rocks? I prefer my whiskey sour on the rocks, but some choose ‘up’ (no ice, just a chilled glass) to keep it from getting watered down. It’s your call. 
  • Do a dry shake first. Pour all of the ingredients (minus the ice and garnishes) into the cocktail shaker. Shake it briskly, then add the ice and shake again. Shaking the ingredients first without ice lets the egg protein form the foam without watering it down. 
  • Experiment with substitutions and add-ins. Add amaretto for an amaretto whiskey sour, or use lime juice instead of lemon. You can also use honey syrup instead of simple syrup to turn the drink into a gold rush. You can even add red wine (and leave out the egg) for a New York sour. 

Whiskey Sour



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This classic whiskey sour recipe is full of sophistication! Made with bourbon, lemon juice, bitters, simple syrup, and an egg white, it stands the test of time.


  • ice

  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey

  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • 1/2 ounce egg white

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)

  • orange slice and cocktail cherry, for garnish


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, and Angostura bitters if using. Shake vigorously until well chilled.
  • Strain it into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish it with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Garnish alternative: Try a twist of lemon peel for added zest.
Whiskey Sour

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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