I have 1 rule for the drinks I decide to post up here on WMBW Drinks, they all have to be old drinks, like really old, like older than me at least!
The whiskey sour goes back almost 300 years. Yep, it’s that old! Back then it was just called “the sour’ and it wasn’t really a cocktail, but more so a way of keeping British sailors free from scurvy by drinking lemon or lime juice. The sailors thought the best way to make the medicine go down was to mix it with a little rum or beer – I mean, who wants to drink straight up lemon right? Naturally this made it’s way inland where they quickly replaced rum for whiskey and realized that a teaspoon of sugar made the medicine go down even better! : )
There is however a massive void between those early British sailors in the 1700’s and the Whiskey Sour we know and love today because the first official documentation of the Whiskey Sour was 160 years later in Jerry Thomas’s Bartender’s Guide “How to Mix Drinks” – What a title Jerry, what a title! The recipe listed the key ingredients that have maintained this cocktails classic status till today, basically egg white, simple syrup, lemon juice, and whiskey. Egg white? Well, turns out egg white gives the drink that rich creamy texture and a nice head of foam! I mean, you have to appreciate a drink that cares about it’s appearance!
We decided we would jazz our whiskey sour up a little with the addition of cinnamon and replace the simple syrup with maple instead, because really, maple syrup makes everything more delicious. Lastly, a dash of bitters always help give your drinks a little balance so we added that too.
The method is relatively simple and there really are no fancy techniques to be learnt. There are also a 100 ways to skin this particular cocktail, some people add all the ingredients at once and dry shake (no ice) some, like us build the cocktail up adding ingredients and shaking as they go. One thing that remains a certainty is that the drink is shaken. The rule of thumb is that if the drinks is just pure liquor, like an Old Fashioned or Negroni, it should be stirred (to maintain clarity) where as anything with fruit juice or egg white will be shaken to give it a rich texture.
Simply add ice to your shaker, together with one egg white and a shot and a half of Whiskey, give it a good solid shake for about 30seconds. We decided to make ours with Gentleman Jack as I think American whiskeys just pair better with maple syrup. Now open up your shaker to add the rest of your ingredients – if it explodes like ours, you’re probably on the right track.
This is the perfect time to add that dash of biters as well as a shot of freshly squeezed lemon juice – Try and stay away from pre-mixes and long life lemon juice, mostly because that stuff is filled with the kinda crap that will kill you way before the whiskey does! Invest in a lemon squeezer like the one above, it will change your life!
Finish off with the a sprinkle of cinnamon (optional) and maple syrup to taste, we went with half a shot but it depends how sweet you like your drinks. Truth be told, I always make my drinks a little sweeter for guests who’ve never tried them before, it’s a great way to get them hooked!
At this point you can either drop some ice into your glass or serve in pre chilled glasses. Just remember that ice will continue to water down your drink so it’s best to go for larger blocks. Strain your shaker over the drinks and garnish with a cinnamon stick and lemon wheel! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
A little sweet, a little sour, always delicious!
Cheers! And of course, stay fancy!