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. There's sweetness, acidic sourness, and a beautiful hint of smoke coming from the Scotch Whisky.
Some recipes omit the sweetener in this recipe. However, I would not recommend that. Making a Scotch Sour without a sweet part will lead to an imbalanced 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.
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.
However, for the majority of people, a fine blended Scotch like Dewars 12 or Buchanan's Deluxe 12 is the better base for this drink.
In this recipe, I prefer fresh lemon juice over aged juice. 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.
Bitters in a Scotch Sour
Most recipes for making a Scotch Sour don't use cocktail bitters at all. I think, though, that 2-3 dashes of Peychaud's bitters absolutely lift the drink.
But 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 a detailed comparison of these two brands, please refer to our article about the differences between Peychaud's and Angostura bitters.
So, my personal favorite is to use half an oz or one oz to get that beautiful frothy top on your drink. If you don't feel like adding raw egg white, you could use aquafaba instead.
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.
How is Scotch different from other Whiskey?
Above all, as the name indicates, Scotch is always from Scotland. The area of production is, therefore, the main difference. But there are more distinctions to be found.
It begins with the peat-dried malt used to make the Scottish spirit responsible for its iconic smoky taste and ends with a different spelling, namely Whisky instead of Whiskey with an e.
Like with other Whiskey, there are many different types of Scotch. For instance, Single malts, blended, Islay, and so on.
For a Scotch Sour, a blended Scotch is best due to its more balanced flavor profile.
- 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).
- 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.