Tart with a Kick: 11 National Whiskey Sour Day Recipes

The Brosna Sour, courtesy of Kilbeggan Whiskey and Patrick Natola. Image: Beam Suntory

Bartenders get creative with fat-washed and tea-infused bourbon infusions, and sour elements from passion fruit to gose beer to replace the usual lemon juice.

 

Tart and silky with a nice boozy kick – that’s the recipe for a killer Whiskey Sour. Start with the basic recipe: 1 ½ parts spirit, 1 part sweetener and ¾ part lemon juice, an egg white for a nice frothy top and silky texture, and a few dashes of bitters for complexity. From there, riff and replace.

“A great Whisky Sour must be balanced, tart, and make you long for another one,” says Rachel Sergi, head bartender at The Next Whisky Bar at The Watergate Hotel in Washington DC.

These versions definitely fit the bill!

[Editor’s note: National Whiskey Sour Day is Friday, August 25)

 

Summers of the Past cocktail at Westbound in Los Angeles - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
Summers of the Past

Recipe and image courtesy of Akos Orosz, bar manager, Westbound

This tropically flavored, fresh sour uses passion fruit puree and lemon and orange juices for tartness, while honey lends sweetness and Cocchi Americano gives it a bittersweet note. “This is the perfect drink if you love whiskey and want something refreshing (most whiskey cocktails get stuck in the Old Fashioned family of drinks),” Orosz says. “If you don’t particularly like whiskey you will still find this drink very enjoyable.” Egg white foam really rounds out the drink, but Orosz suggests asking the imbiber if they prefer it with or without.

  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • ½ oz. Cocchi Americano
  • ½ oz. Honey
  • ½ oz. Passion fruit puree
  • ½ oz. Orange juice
  • ½ oz. Lemon juice
  • ½ oz. Egg white (optional)
  • Mint sprig, for garnish
  • Orange slice, for garnish

If using egg white, add all ingredients except garnishes to a cocktail shaker, and dry shake for 15 seconds. (If omitting egg white, skip this step.) Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a tumbler over fresh ice, and garnish with the mint sprig and orange slice.

 

1967

Recipe and image courtesy of Rachel Sergi, The Next Whisky Bar at The Watergate Hotel

Named for the year that the iconic (and infamous) Watergate Hotel opened, this drink at the property’s sleek whiskey bar starts with a Japanese whisky made for mixology. It’s mixed with fassionola, a recently rediscovered tiki syrup that was essential in the original Hurricane, and floral and berry flavored bitters.

  • 1 ½ oz. Toki Suntory Japanese Whisky
  • ¾ oz. Cocktail & Sons Fassionola Syrup
  • 2 dashes Bittermens Burlesque Bitters
  • Soda water, for topping
  • Edible flower, for garnish

Pour the whiskey, fassionola and bitters into a Collins glass over Kold Draft ice. Add soda water, stir and garnish with a flower.

 

Waconia Sour cocktail at FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
Waconia Sour

Recipe and image courtesy of Jay Rankin, Beverage Director, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar

Combining elements of the Amaretto Sour and Whiskey Sour – without the sweetness of the former or the weight of the latter – this cocktail is named for the town in Minnesota where the whiskey used in it is produced. “What this...gives us is a nice balanced drink in the Goldilocks zone for both regular guests and cocktail enthusiasts,” Rankin points out.

  • 1 ¾ oz. Disaronno Amaretto
  • ¾ oz. J. Carver Rye Whiskey
  • ¾ oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • ½ oz. Lemon juice
  • Orange slice and cherry, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnishes to a cocktail shaker and dry shake for 20 seconds. Add ice and shake again. Double strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with the orange and cherry.

 

Slow and Low Whiskey Sour cocktail at Glunz Tavern Chicago - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
Slow and Low Whiskey Sour

Recipe and image courtesy of Christopher Donovan, Bartender/Owner, Glunz Tavern Chicago

Rather than using regular whiskey, this variant employs Rock & Rye, a mixture of rye, raw honey, navel orange, bitters and rock candy that was touted years ago as a medicinal aid for colds and sore throats. Because the spirit is already sweetened, you may want to adjust the amount of simple syrup in the drink, or omit it entirely.

  • 2 oz. Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye
  • 1 oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ oz Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • Dash Angostura Bitters

Add the egg white to a cocktail and dry shake for 15 seconds. Add the Rock & Rye, lemon juice and simple syrup, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and top with a dash or two of bitters.

 

Lemongrass Bourbon Sour cocktail at Copper Lounge - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
Lemongrass Bourbon Sour

Recipe and image courtesy of Scott Allen, Bar Manager, Copper Lounge

Here, lemongrass syrup adds a touch of exotic citrus flavor to the traditional recipe. “Balance of sweet and sour makes a great Whiskey Sour,” Allen says. “Incorporating egg whites into the cocktail and then shaking it hard creates a lighter [drink] while at the same time making it easier to drink, making you want another.”

  • 2 oz. Booker’s Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Egg white
  • ¾ oz. Lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Lemongrass simple syrup (see Note)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Lime wedge, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with the lime wedge.

For the lemongrass-infused syrup:

Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 2 sliced lemongrass stalks (the core only) in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and desired flavor is reached. Remove from the heat and strain out solids. Store the syrup in the refrigerator.

 

The Powder Keg cocktail at Kings County Imperial - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
The Powder Keg

Recipe courtesy of beverage director Richard P. Murphy and barman Garrett Bonasorte, Kings County Imperial; Image: Levi Miller

Murphy and Bonasorte knew they wanted to add a Whiskey Sour to the menu, and theirs infuses the booze with strong gunpowder tea. “It’s a pretty boozy cocktail, so the tea helps dilute it a bit,” Murphy admits. At Kings County Imperial, the drink is poured into a keg and served on tap; making a large batch is perfect for a gathering of whiskey cocktail fans. For a little more complexity, he recommends adding a few dashes of Angostura Bitters to each drink.

  • ½ pot of Strongly brewed gunpowder tea mixed with a 750ml bottle of Bulleit Rye
  • 1 cup Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup Honey syrup (equal parts honey and warm water, stirred to combine)
  • Healthy squirt of egg white
  • Lemon wheel and small pinch of green tea, for garnish

Mix together the infused rye, lemon juice and honey syrup. Add the egg white to a cocktail shaker, and dry shake without ice. Add 4 oz. of the cocktail mixture, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with the lemon wheel and a small pinch of green tea.

 

Whiskey Sour cocktail at Faro - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
Whiskey Sour

Recipe courtesy of Faro; Image: Michael Tulipan

Egg white and freshly squeezed lemon mix – no artificial sour mixes – are the hallmarks of a classic Whiskey Sour, says bartender Victor Oliveira. “It’s a classic and the ingredients are simple, plus it’s got a creamy texture from the egg white,” he says. “With a good amount of citrus, it’s refreshing but still has weight from the Bourbon.”

  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • ¾ oz. Lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Turbinado sugar syrup (2:1 ratio of sugar to water)
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 Egg white
  • Luxardo cherry and grated nutmeg, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, and dry shake without ice to incorporate the egg. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a tumbler over a large ice cube, grate nutmeg on top, and garnish with a Luxardo cherry on a skewer.

 

The Lawnmower cocktail from Redemption Whiskey - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
The Lawnmower

Recipe courtesy of Eric Rosentreter, Brand Ambassador, Redemption Whiskey; Image: Redemption Whiskey

Rather than using lemon juice, this recipe employs two other tart ingredients: pineapple juice and gose, a sour style of beer brewed with salt. Elderflower liqueur gives it a sweet floral note.

  • 1 ½ oz. Redemption Rye
  • ½ oz. Elderflower liqueur (St-Germain or St. Elder)
  • ¾ oz. Pineapple juice
  • Gose / sour beer, for topping.

Build the drink in the glass over ice, topping with the gose beer.

 

Kansas City Sour

Recipe and image courtesy of Nickolas Boden, Bartender, Tavernonna Italian Kitchen

  • 1 ½ oz. Bacon fat-washed 100-proof Laird’s Apple Whiskey
  • ¾ oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ oz. Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 oz. Egg white
  • ¾ oz. Cinnamon syrup (see Note)
  • Grated cinnamon and a cinnamon stick, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnishes to a cocktail shaker, and dry shake for 10 seconds to activate the foam. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Double strain into a coupe, and garnish with the grated cinnamon and cinnamon stick.

For the bacon fat-washed apple whiskey:

Fry 6 slices of bacon, reserving the fat. Let it cool a little, then pour it and a 750ml bottle of Laird’s Apple Whiskey into a freezer- safe container with a tightly fitting lid. Let the infusion set for about 4 hours, then put it into the freezer. After 2 or 3 hours, when the bacon fat has congealed on top, scoop it out and discard. Run the remaining Bourbon through cheesecloth to strain out all the solids.

For the cinnamon syrup:

Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 4 cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and desired flavor is achieved. Strain out solids and store the syrup in the refrigerator.

 

Why Go cocktail at Chambers eat + drink in San Francisco - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
Why Go

Recipe and image courtesy of Gegeon Tsegaye, Bar Manager, Chambers eat + drink

Since the chef’s menu at this San Francisco fusion restaurant has graceful Japanese accents woven throughout, Tsegaye used yuzu and lime to expand the drink’s high notes. “The heat from the whiskey is delicately balanced with a French aperitif and softened with egg white,” he says. “The earthiness of the carrot juice reacts surprisingly well with the caramel notes of the whiskey.”

  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 1 oz. Carrot-yuzu juice (equal parts of freshly pressed juice)
  • ½ oz. Lime juice
  • ¼ oz. Agave
  • ¼ oz. Egg white

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry shake for 15 seconds to incorporate egg white. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Double strain into a coupe glass.

 

The Brosna Sour cocktail courtesy of Kilbeggan Whiskey and Patrick Natola - National Whiskey Sour Day 2017 recipes
 
The Brosna Sour

Recipe courtesy of Kilbeggan Whiskey and Patrick Natola, Bartender in Chicago; Image: Beam Suntory

Named after the mighty river that runs through the Irish town of Kilbeggan right next to the distillery, this riff has subtle grapefruit notes that accentuate the spirit’s single grain flavor, Natola says. “Kilbeggan Single Grain has notes of rich, delicate honeyed malt, chocolate, Indian spices, cinnamon, that all marry together harmoniously create a subtle, thought-provoking liquid that pops with excitement in a great Whiskey Sour.”

  • 2 oz. Kilbeggan Single Grain Irish Whiskey
  • ¼ oz. Lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Grapefruit juice
  • ¾ oz. Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white

Add all ingredients to a shaker and dry shake without ice to emulsify the egg white. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass.

 

Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.

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