Rum Sour Cocktail recipe

Rum Sour Cocktail recipe & history

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 25, 2022 
The Rum Sour Cocktail is one delicious kind of a drink. And its origins can be traced back all the way to the Caribbean and the British Navy.

The Rum Sour Cocktail is part of the sour family and absolutely delicious. Even though the Whiskey Sour, another member of the sours family, might be more popular these days, as a matter of fact, the first written down sours recipes were Gin Sour and Rum Sour (aka Santa Cruz Sour). They were published in Jerry Thomas The Bartender's Guide from 1856. And now I will tell you when the Rum Sour got invented and how you can make one at home.

Rum Sour history

All credits for inventing not only rum sour but the whole sour cocktail family go the British Navy. To fight scurvy and malnutrition, the British sailors often mixed their spirits with lime juice. Back then, doctors believed that the acid would help the sailors. But, actually, it was the high vitamin C content of the lime. -That's also the reason why British seafarers are called Limeys, by the way.

But back to the cocktail. While sailing in the Caribbean, rum was the spirit that was available everywhere. Together with lime juice, it became known as Grog. This creation, reminding of a Daiquiri, was the origin of the rum sour cocktail as we know it today. All that goes back to the 1600s. So, it took a good 250 years before the first sour got mentioned in a book.

Different versions of Rum Sour

When making a Rum Sour, the first question that probably comes to your mind is which rum you should use. Rum offers a large variety of different types and tastes. The list of flavor profiles in rum is endless, and the decision between white and dark Rum is only the tip of the iceberg.
I tend to use dark Rum when making a Rum Sour, mainly because they've got more flavor to them. But, in general, there are no rules. You can use any Rum you want. That being said, the taste of your Rum Sour will highly depend on the rum you choose.

If you want my recommendation on which Rum to use, I suggest the following options for a start: Barbancourt, Havana club añejo especial, or Bacardi 8 years. All of them taste great in a rum sour, and with Barbancourt being a Haitian rum, you can create a Haitian Rum Sour, which became a new version of the classic cocktail.

Rum Sour Cocktail recipe

Rum Sour Recipe

A delicious recipe for a classic Rum Sour cocktail.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Preparation: 1 minute
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Rum Sour
Servings: 1
Calories: 266kcal
Cost: $2.90


  • 2 oz Rum Preferably dark rum like Havana club añejo especial
  • 1 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Simple syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • 3 drops Angostura bitters


  • Add rum, egg white, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and shake - first without ice.
  • After 15 seconds of heavy shaking, fill the shaker up with ice and shake for another 20 seconds.
  • Double-strain through a Fine Mesh Strainer into a chilled old fashioned glass.
  • Add 2-3 drops of Angostura bitters on top. 


Serving: 5.25oz | Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 79.3g | Protein: 11.4g | Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 485mg | Sugar: 72g | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

How to put a twist on a classic Rum sour?

The choice of Rum is not the only way to tweak this recipe.
As always, by adding or replacing elements, you can create something entirely new. With the limited number of ingredients in a basic sour recipe, replacing is somewhat hard, but adding something is a good option. Here are some ideas:

Stone Rum Sour

Some recipes are using orange juice as an additional ingredient. That is not in the original recipe and is called a Stone Sour version of the classic Rum Sour.

Christmas Rum Sour

I made my very own twist on a rum sour by adding a Christmas spiced syrup. The syrup is made from a dry red wine refined with typical Christmas spices like cinnamon, oranges, cloves, etc. You can read more about my Christmas Spiced Rum Sour here.

Add Egg white or not?

The original version, the Santa Cruz sour, does not have egg white as an ingredient. However, in many modern recipes, egg white is used. It does not change or enhance the flavor, but it adds another texture to your cocktail. The fluffy foam resulting from using egg white in a cocktail not only improves the visual appearance of your drink but also makes it smoother when drinking. 

If you never had egg white in a drink, it might sound weird at first. But it is a classic ingredient used in many famous and traditional cocktails. For example, the Peruvian national cocktail, Pisco Sour, and the famous Ramos Gin Fizz are well-known cocktails using egg white. So if you haven't tried it yet, don't be afraid. I promise it will only improve your drinking experience. And once you tried it, you don't want to go without it in the future.

Choosing the right glassware

Glassware always is essential. For sour cocktails, there have been several suggestions over the years. Starting with Jerry Thomas' recommendation to use a "small bar glass", continuing with a claret glass, punch glass, and even a highball glass.

Today, all sour cocktails usually are served in the same type of glass: an old fashioned glass. Additionally, a Rum Sour should always be served on the rocks. A few drops of Angostura bitters, and your Rum Sour is perfect.

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