The Bourbon Sour is a specification of the classic Whiskey Sour, which is usually based on either Rye Whiskey or Bourbon. So the name basically only serves as a definition of the base spirit.
That may sound petty, but the distinction is very precise, thus, convenient for a bartender. After all, Bourbon tastes quite different from Rye and other types.
Quick Facts Bourbon Sour
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: well-balanced, slightly sour
- How to serve it: over ice
- Glassware: rocks glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 15% ABV, 19 grams of alcohol per serving
Depending on the choice of whiskey, taste and aroma of your sour cocktail change slightly but notably. A classic Bourbon Sour is definitely a sweeter version of the cocktail.
- 1 Jigger
- 1 Cocktail Shaker
- 1 Hawthorne Strainer
- 2 oz Bourbon
- 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
- 0.75 oz Simple syrup
- 0.5 oz Egg white or aquafaba
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake with ice until chilled.2 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Fresh lemon juice, 0.75 oz Simple syrup, 0.5 oz Egg white or aquafaba, 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Strain into the shaker and shake again without ice (Dry shake).
- Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with a citrus wedge.
Best Bourbon for the Bourbon Sour
We have some excellent options of Bourbon Whiskey for a Bourbon Sour in our selection of best Whiskies for a Whiskey Sour. Our favorite Bourbon picks include the following three options.
- Eagle Rare Bourbon: This super smooth whiskey is distilled at Buffalo Trace Distillery. It's a carefully crafted Bourbon with subtle notes of coffee, leather, and oak. It's an excellent base for a Bourbon sour and impresses with a perfectly balanced taste.
- Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon: an unusual flavor profile with lots of pepper and spice notes. In combination with a whopping 47% ABV, it's a bold choice for the Bourbon Sour. Due to its perfectly balanced flavors, you likely won't notice the high proof, though. Instead, it blends nicely with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, creating a well-rounded drink.
- Woodford Reserve Bourbon: the perfect choice if you like a quality Bourbon with a traditional flavor profile. It's medium-bodied, with a well-balanced, mild, and sweet taste. The flavor profile includes subtle hints of vanilla and honey and is overall mild, which blends so well with lemon and simple syrup.
Egg white: yes or no?
Yes, we like a foamy egg white top for our Bourbon Sour. Yet, raw egg white in drinks is a bit of a controversial topic. Some love it. Others hate it.
The advantages, apart from that the frothy top improves the visual of your drink, are a richer mouthfeel, a pleasant texture, and a more refined result. The downside is mainly the longer mixing time and the fact that it does not fit every diet.
Thus, if you're not convinced yet, consider using a vegan alternative called aquafaba. That may sound fancy, but then it is just chickpea water.
The water from preserved chickpeas creates a beautiful foamy top, very similar to what you get when using raw egg white.
If you want to try it out or learn more about this topic, check out our guide about egg white vs. aquafaba.
There are some famous riffs on the Bourbon Sour recipe, and here are our favorites, all made with whiskey as a base:
- The New York Sour Cocktail: you create this variation by adding a float of dry red wine.
- The Continental Sour Cocktail: replacing the dry red wine from above with a Tawny Port wine gets you a Continental Sour.
- The Scotch Sour Cocktail: using peaty Scotch instead of Bourbon or Rye leads to another beautiful riff.
More Related Cocktails
The template of Sour Cocktails is extremely versatile, and you can basically make it with all spirits and many liqueurs, as well. Here are some rarer interpretations: