The Scotch Sour is one of many Whiskey Sour variations and definitely a rarer choice. -Oddly enough, because the flavors in a Scotch Sour are beautiful and perfectly balanced.
Some recipes omit the sweetener in this recipe. However, we don't recommend that. Making a Scotch Sour without syrup will potentially be quite overwhelming - especially, if you expect a typical Sour Drink.
Quick Facts Scotch Sour Cocktail
- Method: shaken
- Flavor profile: sour, slightly smoky
- How to serve it: over ice
- Best glassware: rocks glass
- Alcohol content: ~ 17%, 19 grams of alcohol per serving
- 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.
Ingredients & Recommendations
To make this subtly smoky and well-balanced drink, you need Scotch, fresh lemon juice, Peychaud's bitters, and simple syrup. Adding an egg white for a frothy top and a better mouthfeel is optional. Here are some more details on what we like to use for our Scotch Sour recipe:
- Scotch: 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 an excellent base here.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice is a must. Press it just shortly before mixing the drink. It adds a zesty freshness and balances the flavors of Scotch much better.
- Syrup: Simple syrup - homemade or from the store- is best. If you want more sweetness and texture, rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar per 1 part water) is an option.
- Bitters in a Scotch Sour: Many Scotch Sour recipes don't include cocktail bitters. However, we find that two dashes of Peychaud's bitters really lift the drink. Yet, it wasn't us discovering that this combination works so well.
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 - yes or no?
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 mouthfeel very pleasant. The silky texture of the egg white poses a beautiful contrast to the peaty flavors of the Scotch.
I use half an oz or one oz to get that beautiful frothy top. If you don't feel like adding raw egg white to your cocktail, you can use aquafaba instead.
Pro Tips for Making a Scotch Sour
We like our Scotch Sour best with some egg white for a frothy 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 approximately 10 seconds to build up a beautiful foam.
Then, open the shaker and add ice. Close it and shake again for 5 to 8 seconds. Now, your drink is well-chilled, and the shaker should feel frosty on the outside.
Finally, strain the drink into a Rocks glass over one large, clear chunk of ice. Don't use the small, hollow cubes. These will water down this beautiful drink way too quickly.
Scotch Sour Variations
One variation of this drink is to omit the syrup. If you plan to make a Scotch Sour with only lemon and whisky, we recommend using aged lemon juice: squeeze the juice a couple of hours before mixing and let it sit for a while. That takes away the harsh, acidic bite.
You can read more about the reasons behind this in our guide on lemon juice.
Should you be a fan of intensely smoky Scotch Whisky and want to bring that into your drink, opt for a Laphroaig 10 years or even a Lagavulin 16 years instead of a blended Scotch.
Whiskey Sour vs. Scotch Sour
The only difference between a Whiskey Sour and a Scotch Sour is the type of spirit that's used for making the cocktail. A regular Wishkey Sour usually includes Bourbon or Rye and a Scotch Sour - yes, right - Scotch.
The obvious distinction between these whiskey types is the fact that Scotch is always from Scotland. The area of production has a great influence on the final taste of a product.
The characteristic peat-dried malt used to make the Scottish spirit is responsible for its iconic smoky taste that also is pronounced in the recipe. - However, how much of a difference there is to the standard version depends on the type of Scotch you opt for.
Related Cocktail Recipes
The Scotch Sour falls in line with a long list of Sour Cocktails - and we frankly love all of them. Apart from the various options with whiskey, you can also get creative and try one of these:
For more inspiration, check out this overview of our favorite Sour Cocktails.