A sour is a cocktail mixed with alcohol, lemon juice, powdered sugar and an egg white. Because of the lemon, the cocktail truly does have a slight sour taste.

Traditionally, the drink is decorated with an orange slice or cocktail cherries.

History of Sour

To this day there is still debate over who the inventor of the sour cocktail is since there have often been different testimonials as to when it was mixed for the 1st time.

According to one of the theories, it was created by Harry MacElhone, who mixed it in a London bar. But others say that Harry Craddock was the inventor of the popular cocktail, his recipe appearing in a book published in 1930.

But proponents of the theory that MacElhone mixed the cocktail say that he created the sour back in 1919.


Archives from 1870 show that the name of the cocktail was mentioned in a newspaper published in the state of Wisconsin in the 19th century. This led to a new proposal that the inventor of the whiskey sour was Elliot Stubb.

Preparing Sour

The cocktail needs to be mixed for no more than 5 min. with a shaker. For the most popular recipe you will need 3 1/3 tbsp whiskey, the juice of one and a half lemons, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 egg white.

Mix all of the ingredients in a shaker along with several ice cubes. Then pour the mixture in a glass with ice and decorate with some kind of fruit.

Even though there is a large amount of lemon juice used, the beverage won't be too sour because the powdered sugar creates the ideal balance.

Most recipes call for making a sour with whiskey but this hard alcohol can be substituted with bourbon, scotch, gin, brandy or rum.

When prepared with bourbon, the cocktail is sweeter than the whiskey version. The ingredients for it are 3 1/3 tbsp bourbon, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice and 2 tbsp sugar syrup.

Mix everything in a shaker, then pour into a glass filled with ice, or as they say in bars - "on the rocks". Decorate with an orange or lemon slice.

A sour that uses scotch is called a "London sour". For it you will need 2 tbsp scotch, 2 tsp almond syrup, 1 1/3 tbsp orange juice, 1 1/3 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp sugar syrup.

Mix all of the components in a shaker, finally decorate with a slice of orange or cocktail cherries.

If you would like to use rum for the beverage, combine 2 tbsp of it with 2/5 cup lemon juice. As a finale, add 2 ice cubes and decorate with an orange or lemon slice.

For the gin variant, use 2 tbsp gin and 2/5 cup fresh lemon juice. Decorate with an orange or lemon slice.

To make a brandy sour, you will need 3 1/3 tbsp brandy, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon sugar syrup. Combine the ingredients and serve decorated with fruit.

Sour Cocktail

The gin version is also known as a "White Lady" and is served in martini glasses, usually with cocktail cherries.

A sour can also be made with Amaretto by mixing 3 1/3 tbsp of the sweet liqueur with 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice. Decorate with an orange slice at the end.

There also exists the notorious "Baja sour", where tequila is used. The required ingredients are 2 tbsp tequila, 2 tsp sugar syrup, 2 tbsp lemon juice and half an egg white. Mix all of them in a shaker with several ice cubes.

Melon sour is another favorite; it is made from 3 1/3 tbsp melon liqueur, 1 2/3 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp sugar syrup and 1 egg white.

After preparing any of the aforementioned mixes, the liquid needs to be strained before serving in a glass.

Serving Sour

The most suitable glass for serving sours bears the name of the cocktail itself. It is a small glass with a thick stem, providing the best way to taste the sourness of the drink.

A sour is accepted as a typically men's drink and is usually ordered and made for the stronger sex.

If preparing the cocktail for someone and it contains a raw egg white, you should warn the person before they drink it since an egg white can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

More often than not, a sour is served as a standalone and there are no specific appetizers that need to accompany it. But we can eat them with nuts - almonds, cashews, peanuts, that have not been overly salted, small sweets, salt sticks, chocolate, olives, citrus fruits and fruit salads.


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