Scotch Sour cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Scotch Sour is an often disregarded version of the Whiskey Sour. It's a great recipe with smoky notes from the peated Scottish spirit.
Scotch Sour cocktail

The Scotch Sour is one of the many Whiskey Sour variations. Typically a Whiskey Sour is based on Bourbon, sometimes also Rye Whiskey. Scotch is definitely a rarer choice. -Oddly enough, because the flavors in a Scotch Sour are beautiful and perfectly balanced.

Some recipes omit the sweetener entirely. However, I would not recommend that. Making a Scotch Sour without a sweet part will potentially be quite overwhelming, if you expected a typical Sour Drink.

If you still plan to make a Scotch Sour with only lemon and Whisky, opt for aged lemon juice instead of a fresh one.

Ingredients of a Scotch Sour

The taste of a Scotch Sour is perfectly balanced. To make this lightly smoky drink, you'll need Scotch, fresh lemon juice, Peychaud's bitters, and simple syrup.

Optionally, you can add a bit of egg white to the mix for a frothy top and a better mouthfeel.

Scotch in a Scotch Sour

The best choice of Scotch in a Scotch Sour is a blended one. This way, you get the notes of peated smoke in your drink, but it's not too overpowering and you don't have to spend a fortune. Dewars 12 or Buchanan's Deluxe 12 makes a excellent base here.

However, if you're a fan of intensely smoky Scotch Whisky and want to bring that into your drink, you could also opt for a Laphroaig 10 years or even a Lagavulin 16 years.

Scotch Sour on a bar table

Lemon juice

Fresh lemon juice is a must and with this recipe I prefer to press it just shortly before mixing the drink. It adds more freshness to the drink and balances the flavors of Scotch and simple syrup much better.

Yet, in a two-ingredient Scotch Sour, I highly recommend using aged lemon juice to take back on the tartness. That means, you press the juice a couple of hours before you mix the cocktail. You can read more about the reasons behind this in our guide on lemon juice.

Bitters in a Scotch Sour

Most recipes for making a Scotch Sour don't include cocktail bitters. Although, I find that two dashes of Peychaud's bitters really lift the drink. Yet, it wasn't me discovering that Scotch and Peychaud's bitters work so well together.

David Embury, a legendary mixologist and cocktail book author, found that Peychaud's bitters do a fantastic job in drinks made with Scotch. -Even better than Angostura bitters would.

If you're interested in the details regarding the differences, read our article about Peychaud's vs Angostura bitters.

Egg white

Generally, a Scotch Sour doesn't need an egg white. However, as in many other Whiskey Sour drinks - like the New York Sour or Continental Sour - I find the texture very pleasant.

I use half an oz or one oz to get that beautiful frothy top. If you don't feel like adding raw egg white, you could use aquafaba instead.

Strained aquafaba and chickpeas

How to make a Scotch Sour?

As I said, I like it best with some egg white for a creamy top and a better mouthfeel. In order to achieve a perfect foamy egg white top on your drink, you have to dry-shake the cocktail.

First, add Scotch, lemon juice, egg white, syrup, and Peychaud's bitters into a cocktail shaker without ice. Vigorously shake the mix for 15 seconds to build up a beautiful foam.

Then, open the shaker and add ice. Close it and shake again for 10-15 seconds. Your drink should be well-chilled, and the shaker frosty on the outside.

Finally, strain the drink into a Rocks glass filled with ice.

Whiskey Sour vs. Scotch Sour

The first obvious distinction is the spelling and the fact that Scotch is always from Scotland. The area of production is, therefore, the main difference which also has great influence on the products used and the final taste.

The characteristic peat-dried malt used to make the Scottish spirit is responsible for its iconic smoky taste that also is pronounced in the Scotch Sour. - However, how much of a difference there is to the standard version with Bourbon depends on the type of Scotch you opt for.

Scotch Sour cocktail

Scotch Sour

A smoky twist on the classic Whiskey Sour recipe.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: British
Keyword: egg white, lemon juice, scotch, simple syrup
Calories: 221kcal
Cost: $3.40


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Cocktail Shaker
  • 1 Hawthorne Strainer


  • 2 oz Blended Scotch
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz Egg white
  • 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters


  • Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake without ice for 15 seconds (dry shake).
    2 oz Blended Scotch, 1 oz Fresh lemon juice, 0.5 oz Simple syrup, 0.5 oz Egg white, 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • Open the shaker, add a handful of ice, and shake again until the drink is chilled.
  • Strain into an ice-filled Rocks glass and optionally garnish the cocktail.


Serving: 5.25ozCalories: 221kcalCarbohydrates: 10.1gProtein: 1.8gFat: 0.08gSodium: 28.16mgPotassium: 91.84mgSugar: 10.1gVitamin C: 12.48mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 0.01mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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