The origins of the Whiskey Sour are heavily contested, but what we know is that the classic whiskey cocktail was invented sometime in the 1870’s, and has since become a barroom staple, enjoyed by people with good taste all over the world. A traditional Whiskey Sour comprises a careful mix of whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar—that’s it. It’s a simple, tasty classic that anyone can make with minimal experience and prep work.
Of course, as with most of life’s better ideas, there are plenty of variations to the classic Whiskey Sour. But here are the only 4 that matter.
Alexis’ Bordeaux Sour
The best thing about a traditional Whiskey Sour is that it’s easy to mix and serve. Just throw everything in a shaker, strain it, and rock and roll. An Alexis’ Bordeaux Sour is complex, but the final drink is worth the extra time. Lemon juice, maraschino cherries, seltzer, orange bitters, whiskey (duh), Lillet Rouge, and maple syrup, all get tossed together, shaken, and strained into an old fashioned glass. The sweet and spiciness of the Lillet, the subtle layer of maple, and the tart sourness of the bitters and lemon juice combine to offer something reminiscent of a classic Whiskey Sour, but completely its own concoction. Long story short, it’s wonderful. Link
Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour
With autumn bearing down on us fast and hard, did you really expect us to not include this classic take on the legendary cocktail? The Cinnamon Maple Whiskey Sour is pretty much exactly what the name suggests—some real maple syrup, a little lemon juice, and a hefty “pinch” of cinnamon. Think of it like this: You’re out relaxing by the campfire. There’s a crisp bite to the air, and in the light of the fire you can see the brown leaves that have fallen from the trees. Sure, you could grab a generic pumpkin beer or the same old Oktoberfest, or you could shake up something memorable for you and all your friends. Let this be the new drink for your fall-time fun. Link
The Ward Eight
The Ward Eight is an interesting boozy concoction with an even more interesting history. Created in the very late 19th Century to celebrate the victory of Martin Lomasney’s bid for a campaign seat in Boston’s Eighth Ward, the cocktail has grown into a legacy in and of itself—and understandably so.
As legend has it, Lomasney’s camp walked into the Locke-Ober (the third oldest restaurant/bar in Boston) and asked the staff there to create a drink in Lomasney’s honor. It’s actually kind of funny how little effort went into the drink, which might indicate just how little a shit the staff at Locke-Ober gave about Lomasney and his campaign. It’s just a traditional Whiskey Sour, with the tasteful addition of a little orange juice grenadine. The changes are small, but they really make all the difference. Link
Marmalade Whiskey Sour
We wanted to include at least one batch cocktail on this list because Whiskey Sours are the ideal candidates for a batch treatment. We think the Marmalade Whiskey Sour is absolutely perfect because it’s easy to throw together, unique, and really, really good. It includes the typical stuff like bourbon and sugar, but throws the palate for a loop with lime juice (instead of lemon), angostura bitters, and a big dollop of orange marmalade. It all goes together to make one of the tastiest batch cocktails we’ve experienced—share it with friends, or drink that shit by yourself on a Tuesday morning. Either way, it’s your world, bud! Link