How to Make a Delicious Whiskey Sour

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Just in time for #WhiskeyWednesday, I perfected the Whiskey Sour! The trick to getting the perfect frothy-ness (not a professional term), is to do a dry shake (no ice) before a final shake (with ice). 

This super classic cocktail is one that I’ve had my eye on for a while, but I’ll be honest I was a bit intimidated by the egg white situation (like is it even safe to drink raw egg?). A classic whiskey sour has a dash of egg white mixed in, but it’s an optional ingredient and no bartender will scoff if you ask for one without egg (it’s legit). I will say though, adding the egg white made this drink so refreshingly light. Highly recommend conquering any egg white phobias and giving it a try! PS- Here is a great trick for separating the egg whites from the yolk.

How to Make a Whiskey Sour

This drink is pretty straightforward. You can just add all of the ingredients into the bottom half of a cocktail shaker.

  • Measure your ingredients one at a time, rather than having them all measured out first. Adding the egg white last is best, so that it doesn’t sit with the acid from the citrus too long before you shake it. 
  • Once all your ingredients are in the shaker, put the top half on and shake, shake, shake!
  • Note I haven’t put any ice in yet. This is the dry shake. Read below about the super cool science that happens during this part. 
  • Once you’ve shaken for at least 10 seconds, then add ice in. This will chill the drink and also dilute it just slightly. 
  • With the ice, give your shaker at least another 10 seconds of shaking.
  • Find your cutest or favorite glass (classic coupe glass recommended) and strain your delicious cocktail in. 
  • I added some heart-shaped bitters on top of mine. I love the color contrast this creates, make any fun design you choose! 
  • Bitters accentuate other flavors in the drink, adding complexity and depth of flavor. There are many ways to add the bitters in, and if you just want to sprinkle some on top of your drink in no design, that works too! Get creative friends!

The Science and History of Egg Whites in Cocktails 

Some of the earliest cocktails (throwback to the 1800s!) used egg whites to settle stomachs and soften the acids in alcohol and citrus juice. Curious about the science behind why the egg white foams when you give it the dry shake? I was! All of the protein molecules in the egg white (we know eggs are a great source of protein, especially the whites… hello egg-white-omelet!) catch little air bubbles and hug around them, creating teeny tiny air bubbles. This is what creates the frothy aeration in your drink. 

Eggs are also an emulsifier—which means they help bind other dissimilar ingredients together (like juice and alcohol, or in the case of mayonnaise, oil and lemon juice). When you do your dry shake, the egg white is binding the other ingredients together, and if you shake it well enough, they won’t separate, ever! 

Think it will give your drink an eggy-flavory? No way! I learned that the egg-flavor comes strictly from the yolk. When you separate that out what you get is an almost tasteless ingredient that gives your drink a ton of body and yummy froth! 

Hot tip: don’t ever use an egg white in your cocktail if the egg has any cracks in the shell (even a hairline). The fresher the egg, the better it will be.

Check out this cool egg trick I learned to easily get the yolk out!

What’s the difference between bourbon & whiskey?

When I noticed that the recipe calls for bourbon I felt confused why whiskey is the main ingredient. If it’s called a whiskey sour, where is the whiskey? I had to ask Google… here’s what I found:  

A good rule of thumb is the saying, all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.

Whiskey is made from grain, often wheat or corn. There are also barley whiskeys and rye whiskeys (hence if you hear someone order a rye-whiskey at the bar). The biggest factors that distinguish bourbon from other whiskeys are: 

  • Made mostly from corn (at least 51%)
  • Aged in oak barrels (as opposed to other types of wood)
  • Only made in America, most often Kentucky. 
  • Because of the corn, bourbon tends to have a slightly sweeter flavor than other whiskeys like Scotch or rye 

Shortly after posting about this cocktail, everyone recommended I watch Neat, a great Netflix documentary about bourbon. Even if you’re not into spirits, you should totally add it to your Netflix watchlist. In fact, now that I’m an aficionado on the subject, I prefer Bourbon for it’s subtle sweetness. 

Alternative Ways to Make this Classic Drink 

Me, a lover of margaritas, I was excited to discover a version of this classic drink that uses tequila: a Tequila Sour. It’s very similar to the Whiskey Sour, but with a couple of twists. First, and most obviously, instead of whiskey it calls for tequila (I personally love Reposado for it’s aged, oak-y and caramel notes). It also adds a splash of lime juice, along with the lemon juice.

Here is my Whiskey Sour tutorial! Watch until the end to learn how to make the heart-shaped bitters. ????????????

Show Me Your Cocktail

Nothing makes me happier than seeing you create beautiful cocktails from my tips. If you make a spread inspired by this post, please tag me at @ainttoooproudtomeg so I can see and share.

Or, If you want to try another cocktail, check out my tried-and-true Skinny Margarita. And if you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, here’s my Blackberry Mocktail Mule using Kombucha.

And, if you liked this cocktail recipe, please rate and review.

whiskey sour egg white design

Whiskey Sour Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Description

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Egg White
  • Ice

Instructions

  • Measure your ingredients one at a time, rather than having them all measured out first. Adding the egg white last is best, so that it doesn’t sit with the acid from the citrus too long before you shake it. 
  • Once all your ingredients are in the shaker, put the top half on and shake, shake, shake! *Note I haven’t put any ice in yet. This is the dry shake.
  • Once you’ve shaken for at least 10 seconds, then add ice in. This will chill the drink and also dilute it just slightly. 
  • With the ice, give your shaker at least another 10 seconds of shaking.
  • Find your cutest or favorite glass (classic coupe glass recommended) and strain your delicious cocktail in. 
  • I added some heart-shaped bitters on top of mine. I love the color contrast this creates, make any fun design you choose! 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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1 Comments

  1. Ryan P wrote:

    5 stars
    Thank for this. I am so horrible at making drinks.

    Posted 12.21.20 Reply