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Crafting the Perfect Whiskey Sour

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The Whiskey Sour, with its harmonious blend of sour citrus and the warmth of whiskey, is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. This delightful libation is a true testament to the art of mixology. Originating in the 19th century, it has undergone various transformations to become the beloved cocktail we know today.

Historical Context

The origins of the Whiskey Sour can be traced back to the early 19th century, when cocktails were simple and typically comprised just three key elements: a base spirit, a sweetener, and a sour component. The first recorded recipe for a Whiskey Sour appeared in Jerry Thomas’s 1862 bartending guide, “How to Mix Drinks or The Bon Vivant’s Companion.” This classic cocktail has since evolved into a cherished staple in bars around the world.


1. Prepare Your Ingredients

  • Start by gathering all your ingredients. Ensure that your whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup are fresh and ready to go.

2. Ice It Up

  • Fill your rocks glass with ice to chill it while you prepare the cocktail. You can also use an ice cube tray to make large ice cubes for a slower dilution.

3. Measure and Pour

  • In your cocktail shaker, add 2 oz (60ml) of bourbon or rye whiskey.
  • Follow with 3/4 oz (22ml) of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Add 1/2 oz (15ml) of simple syrup to balance the tartness of the lemon.

4. Shake It Up

  • Secure the lid on your cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds.

5. Strain and Serve

  • Remove the ice from your rocks glass.
  • Using a strainer, pour your well-shaken cocktail into the glass over fresh ice or a large ice cube.
  • Garnish your Whiskey Sour with a lemon wheel or a cherry if desired.

6. Sip and Savor

  • Your Whiskey Sour is ready to enjoy. Take a moment to appreciate the balanced flavors of sweet, sour, and whiskey’s warmth.


The Whiskey Sour, a classic cocktail with a rich history, continues to captivate the palates of cocktail enthusiasts around the globe. Its timeless appeal lies in its simplicity and perfect balance of flavors. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a budding cocktail aficionado, crafting the perfect Whiskey Sour is an art worth mastering. So, raise your glass to this enduring classic, and savor every sip of this delightful concoction. Cheers!


prep time
About 5 minutes.
cooking time
None (No Cooking).
total time
About 5 minutes.


  • Cocktail shaker

  • Jigger (or a measuring cup)

  • Strainer

  • Rocks glass

  • Ice cube tray (if using ice cubes)

  • Citrus juicer

  • Knife for garnish


  • 2 oz (60ml) bourbon or rye whiskey

  • 3/4 oz (22ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 oz (15ml) simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part sugar)

  • Ice

  • Lemon wheel or cherry, for garnish (optional)


Prepare ingredients.
Ice the glass.
Measure and shake.
Strain, garnish, and serve.
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