This classic Whiskey Sour is made with only the freshest ingredients, none too sweet, just perfect for sipping. My favorite part? The drink was first mentioned, way back when, in a Wisconsin newspaper.

A side shot of a whiskey sour cocktail garnished with a cherry.

An 1870 issue of the Waukesha Plain Dealer has the earliest sighting of this vintage bourbon cocktail: “‘Amen,’ says the Methodist, as he ordered another Whisky Sour.”

So not just Wisconsin, but Waukesha, my home town.

Even if you aren’t partial to the taste of whiskey, there’s something appealing about this spin on adult lemonade that you will probably enjoy, immensely. History proves it.

Table of Contents
  1. Ingredient notes
  2. Step-by-step instructions
  3. Recipe tips and variations
  4. Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe

Ingredient notes

  • Whiskey: Or substitute bourbon.
  • Lemon juice: Or substitute lime juice.
  • Simple syrup: To make it yourself, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Remove from heat and cool before adding to your cocktail shaker with the other ingredients. Store leftover simple syrup covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
Liquor being poured into a martini shaker.
  1. Cover and shake vigorously until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with a cherry.
An overhead shot of two whiskey sour cocktails garnished with cherries.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 1 cocktail.
  • Big batch: To make a batch of 8 cocktails, combine 16 ounces (2 cups) whiskey, 6 ounces (¾ cup) lemon juice, and 6 ounces (¾ cup) lemon juice in a pitcher. Have ice, glassware, and garnishes on hand so guests can help themselves.
  • No cocktail shaker: Fill a large glass with ice. Add the drink ingredients, then stir with a long spoon to get it all mixed and chilled. Strain through a small mesh strainer or use a slotted spoon to keep the ice in the shaker as you pour the cocktail.
  • Gold Rush: Substitute honey syrup for the simple syrup: Combine ¼ cup water and ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until honey is dissolved (do not boil). Remove from heat and cool. Garnish the cocktail with a lemon peel instead of the orange slice and maraschino cherry.
  • Boston Sour: This version of the drink includes an egg white for silky body and foamy frothiness. If you want to try this, first give the ingredients a “dry shake” (without ice) to emulsify them. Then, add ice to the shaker and give everything a second shake to chill the cocktail.
  • New York Sour: After straining the cocktail into a rocks glass with ice, float 1 tablespoon full-bodied red wine on top (or serve straight up, without ice).
  • Amaretto Sour: Substitute 1 ½ ounces amaretto for the whiskey and top with lemon-lime soda if desired. Garnish with a cherry.

More classic cocktails

A whiskey sour in a rocks glass.

Whiskey Sour Cocktail

This classic Whiskey Sour is made with only the freshest ingredients, none too sweet, just perfect for sipping. My favorite part? The drink was first mentioned, way back when, in a Wisconsin newspaper.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 1 cocktail
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Calories 239

Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces whiskey (¼ cup, see note 1)
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice (1 ½ tbsp, see note 2)
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup (1 ½ tbsp, see note 3)
  • 1 maraschino cherry for garnish
  • 1 orange slice for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Cover and shake until chilled, about 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with cherry and orange slice.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Whiskey: Or substitute bourbon.
  2. Lemon juice: Or substitute lime juice.
  3. Simple syrup: To make it yourself, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Remove from heat and cool before adding to your cocktail shaker with the other ingredients. Store leftover simple syrup covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes 1 cocktail.
  5. Big batch: To make a batch of 8 cocktails, combine 16 ounces (2 cups) whiskey, 6 ounces (¾ cup) lemon juice, and 6 ounces (¾ cup) lemon juice in a pitcher. Have ice, glassware, and garnishes on hand so guests can help themselves.
  6. No cocktail shaker: Fill a large glass with ice. Add the drink ingredients, then stir with a long spoon to get it all mixed and chilled. Strain through a small mesh strainer or use a slotted spoon to keep the ice in the shaker as you pour the cocktail.
  7. Gold Rush: Substitute honey syrup for the simple syrup: Combine ¼ cup water and ¼ cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until honey is dissolved (do not boil). Remove from heat and cool. Garnish the cocktail with a lemon peel instead of the orange slice and maraschino cherry.
  8. Boston Sour: This version of the drink includes an egg white for silky body and foamy frothiness. If you want to try this, first give the ingredients a “dry shake” (without ice) to emulsify them. Then, add ice to the shaker and give everything a second shake to chill the cocktail.
  9. New York Sour: After straining the cocktail into a rocks glass with ice, float 1 tablespoon full-bodied red wine on top (or serve straight up, without ice).
  10. Amaretto Sour: Substitute 1 ½ ounces amaretto for the whiskey and top with lemon-lime soda if desired. Garnish with a cherry.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 17mgPotassium: 72mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 33IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Yea Wisconsin!
    WI drinks and food are awesome and from the heart.
    We also make Old Fashions – to die for 😀
    Love Culinary Hill just as much.
    Thank you for all the fantastic recipes.