It’s a classic for a reason. You can find a whiskey sour anywhere from your local dive bar to the fanciest sky bars and resorts in the world, but did you know the origins of this cocktail are medicinal?
A Brief History:
The whiskey sour is a beautifully simple cocktail that in some format or another has been consumed for probably the last couple hundred years. The origins most certainly evolved over time from British Sailors due to the prevalence of scurvy in the 1600’s. It’s noted that in 1622 British Explorer Sir Richard Hawkins recorded that “sower lemons and oranges” were “most fruitful… I wish that some learned man would write of it”. Well, he got his wish.
Almost 120 years later in 1747 James Lind, a navy surgeons apprentice, performed the worlds first controlled medical experiment documented on sailors aboard the HMS Salisbury. It found that Scurvy could be cured with citrus. Later he wrote treatise of the Scurvy which was published in 1753. The Institute of Naval medicine honored Lind with a lemon tree on their emblem.
Sailors likely used citrus juices with all sorts of spirits like Rum and Gin. Cocktails like the Bumbo, Flip, Rumfustian, Grog and Sangaree (now known as Sangria) all born out of the same need to include citrus on their journeys across the seas.
The First Recipe:
The first written whiskey sour recipe Sour appeared in 1862, when it was included in Jerry Thomas’ The Bartender’s Guide. There is also a later mention in 1872 that a former ship steward by the name of Elliot Staub may have invented the whiskey sour while in Iquique Peru, using a local citrus variety called the Limon de Pica, an ingredient more commonly used today in Pisco sours. Check out our recipe for our Meyer Lemon Pisco Sour HERE.
Then and now:
The whiskey sour has not changed much since then. Sure, the fancy glass with a maraschino cherry makes it look elegant and sophisticated, but its humble roots have both saved lives and brought exploration and trade to all corners of the globe. Our biggest focus now is how to create the very best tastes we can get either at a bar or in the comfort of our home. How spoiled are we?!?
Choosing the whiskey:
For a classic whiskey sour, find a mid-range, 80-proof bourbon or a 100-proof for a stronger, boozier cocktail. You could also use a scotch for a smokier flavor or a rye whiskey for a spicier kick.
Traditionally, whiskey sours are made with whiskey, lemon, sugar and egg white. For this recipe, we decided to leave the egg white out since it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… but if you want to take your whiskey sour up a notch, try a dash of egg white. The egg white adds a wonderful creamy texture to your whiskey sour and no, it won’t make your drink taste like egg!
Mary’s Meyer Lemon Sour Mix:
This isn’t just a sour mix, it’s a Meyer Lemon Sour! Mary’s Meyer Lemon Sour has a complex lemony flavor that blends incredibly with whiskey, and just begs to be mixed into a lemon drop or vodka and soda. Extremely versatile, made with 100% juice, no additives, preservatives, or colorings of any kind. Our Meyer Lemon Sour blows other sour mixes out of the water! If your feeling adventurous you could always try our Meyer Lemon Sour Mix in a New York Whiskey sour, a Ward 8, Boston Sour, French 75, Pisco Sour, or even in a Vodka Collins. Either way if you don’t like being in the galley, come up to the top deck and join the Admirals Club with Mary’s Meyer Lemon sour. An essential for any bar be it at home or on the open seas.
How to make a whiskey sour:
Gather your ingredients: Whiskey, Mary’s Meyer Lemon Sour Mix, simple syrup.
Measure out 2 oz of whiskey, 1 oz of Mary’s Meyer Lemon Sour Mix, and ½ oz simple syrup.
Add ice and all ingredients to shaker.
Shake until chilled, about 30 seconds should do it.
Strain contents into your ice filled rocks glass.
Garnish with a cherry and lemon wedge.
Mary's Meyer Lemon Whiskey Sour
- Cocktail Shaker
- Rocks Glass
- 2 oz Whiskey or bourbon
- 1 oz Mary's Mixers Meyer Lemon Sour Mix
- 1/2 oz Simple syrup
- Lemon twist for garnish (optional)
- Maraschino cherries for garnish (optional)
- Add whiskey, Mary’s Meyer Lemon Sour Mix, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake to combine, strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a cherry and lemon twist.