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The Whisky Sour: All You Need to Know About This Classic Cocktail

The Whisky Sour: A classic cocktail that has been favoured for centuries for its delicious simplicity. But what exactly is whisky sour? And more importantly, how do you make a whisky sour that will impress even the most discerning of palates? Sit tight, dear reader, for you're about to embark on a delightful journey into the world of this iconic drink.

The Whisky Sour: A classic cocktail that has been favoured for centuries for its delicious simplicity. But what exactly is whisky sour? And more importantly, how do you make a whisky sour that will impress even the most discerning of palates? Sit tight, dear reader, for you're about to embark on a delightful journey into the world of this iconic drink.

What is a Whisky Sour?

Let's start by addressing the burning question: "What is a whisky sour?" Simply put, a whisky sour is a cocktail made primarily of whisky, lemon juice, and sugar. It's a harmonious blend of the robust flavours of whisky with the tangy kick of fresh lemon juice, all balanced out by the sweetness of sugar. But it's not just about the ingredients; it's about the experience. When you take that first sip, you're tasting history, tradition, and craftsmanship.

What's in a Whisky Sour?

Now, you might be wondering, "What's in a whisky sour that makes it so special?" The beauty of this cocktail lies in its simplicity. At its core, a whisky sour contains:

  1. Whisky: The soul of the drink. Whether you prefer bourbon, rye, or another type, the choice is yours. We humbly suggest our Double Barrel or our Honey Spiced for a slightly sweet, spicy rendition.

  2. Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed, of course. This gives the drink its characteristic tang.

  3. Sugar: To balance out the acidity and enhance the whisky's flavours.

Some variations also include an egg white. While whisky sours without egg whites are perfectly acceptable, the addition of egg whites elevates the cocktail with a frothy texture and a velvety finish.

The Origins of the Sour: A Nautical Tale

Before we delve deeper into the whisky sour, we’re going to have a look at the rich history of the 'sour' itself. The story takes us back to the high seas, where the British Navy played a pivotal role in the birth of this beloved cocktail.

In the 18th century, the British Navy was a dominant force, with its ships sailing across vast oceans. But life at sea came with its challenges, one of which was the dreaded scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. To combat this, sailors were given a daily ration of citrus fruits, primarily lemons and limes. 

However, drinking straight citrus juice wasn't the most palatable option. Enter rum, which was also a staple on these naval voyages. Sailors began mixing their citrus ration with rum and a bit of sugar to make the drink more enjoyable. This concoction was not only delicious but also served as a preventive measure against scurvy. And thus, the 'sour' was born, not with whisky, but with rum.

It's fascinating to think that the sour's origins was rooted in necessity and survival rather than leisure. As the drink gained popularity, it traveled from the decks of naval ships to the taverns and bars of England. Over time, as whisky became more accessible and favoured, it replaced rum as the primary spirit in the sour, leading to the whisky sour we know and love today.

How to Make a Whisky Sour: A Step-by-Step Guide

Alright, let's get down to the nitty-gritty: how to make whisky sours that will leave your guests asking for more.

WHISKY SOUR RECIPE

  1. Gather Your Ingredients: You'll need whisky, fresh lemons, sugar, and optionally, an egg white.

  2. Mix It Up: In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 oz of whisky, 3/4 oz of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/2 oz of simple syrup. If you're feeling adventurous, add in the raw egg white.

  3. Add Ice and Shake It: Give it a good shake until the mixture is chilled.

  4. Pour and Enjoy: Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon or a marinated or maraschino cherry.

    Feeling adventurous? Try our Bespoke Whisky Sour recipe for a truly elevated cocktail experience!

Bill Ashburn’s Tips for the Perfect Whisky Sour

Quality Matters: Always opt for good quality whisky. It makes a world of difference. I suggest our award-winning Double Barrel Select.

Fresh is Best: Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Some may say that a sour mix works just fine, but trust me, fresh lemons are worth the extra effort.

Experiment: While the classic recipe is timeless, don't be afraid to add your own twist. Maybe a splash of orange juice? Or a hint of ginger?

So, the next time someone asks you, "How do you make a whisky sour?" or "What is in a whisky sour?", you'll be armed with all the knowledge you need. Whether you're a seasoned bartender or a cocktail enthusiast, the whisky sour is a drink that deserves a spot in your repertoire.

Remember, it's not just about the ingredients or the method; it's about the love, passion, and history that goes into every glass. So, the next time you're in the mood for a drink that's both refreshing and rich in tradition, you know what to whip up. Cheers to the timeless whisky sour!

A bespoke whisky sour cocktail made with Forty Creek Barrel Select whisky

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