Stone Sour - Tom Bullock's almost forgotten creation

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Stone Sour marries together the base element of a classic Sour cocktail with the fresh flavors of orange juice.
Stone Sour Cocktail

The Stone Sour Cocktail is a refreshing drink you can easily make at home. 

In short, it is a twist on the classic sour cocktail with the additional use of orange juice and apricot. That's not covering all aspects of the drink, but it gives you an idea of its taste.

The Whiskey Stone Sour, probably the most famous version, is a close relative of the Whiskey Sour

Apart from the Whiskey version, Amaretto, Rum, and even Tequila Stone Sours occupy a place on cocktail menus around the globe.


Following the regular Sour Cocktail template, the Stone Sour calls for a base spirit -Bourbon-, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

Additionally, you need orange juice and Apricot Brandy to make this cocktail. 

Stone Sour Cocktails

The lemon juice and the orange juice should be freshly squeezed. Only then do you get those beautiful citrus flavors and the tangy freshness.

Also, the Apricot Brandy or liqueur brings in a subtle note of stone fruits.

History of the Stone Sour

American bartender Tom Bullock is regarded as the inventor of the cocktail. 

His cocktail book "The Ideal Bartender" featured the first recipe with orange juice but without Apricot Brandy.

His version of a Gin Stone Sour marks the starting point of Stone Sour history. The book was published in 1917, shortly before prohibition began. So it's no wonder the cocktail somehow vanished for quite some time.

Stone Sour Tom Bullock original recipe

In the early 1970s, the Stone Sour with orange juice resurfaced in different country clubs. It's hard to find out how and why the recipe spread, but it did. A little later, by the 80s, the recipe was quite common and well-known. 

It got even mentioned in "Sardi's Bar Guide", published in 1988, which described the cocktail as a sour "with the addition of orange juice."

In the decade after that, the drink had its most triumphant time. In the 90s, in some parts of the US, the drink was so popular you were hard-pressed to find someone who didn't know it. 

Stone Sour Cocktail

With the new Millennium, the decline of the Stone Sour Cocktail started, and it fell into oblivion again. 

As with most things, it surely will have another revival. However, at this point, while you can still find recipes online in all kinds of variations, the hype is not there anymore.

The story of Tom Bullock

As Tom Bullock is the inventor of the Stone Sour, I want to write a few lines about him. 

He was not only the inventor of this exceptional drink, but he was the first African American to publish a cocktail book. His book "The Ideal Bartender" gives an excellent impression of how pre-prohibition drinks looked and tasted. 

Tom Bullock Photograph

What makes the book stand out even more is that Bullock did not use modified versions of existing cocktails. He did his very own, unique creations. -Something you won't find very often.

If you want to read more about Tom Bullock and his legacy, there is a brilliant article about his life as a bartender. You can find it here.

Different versions of Stone Sour Cocktails

As mentioned, other versions are also pretty famous. The Amaretto Stone Sour, for example, can be found on many bar menus. The Apricot Brandy part is usually missing there, making the drink even more similar to a classic sour version.

Another example would be the Tequila Stone Sour. Many recipes include orange juice as well as triple sec. The triple sec works great with Tequila - we also know that from Margarita cocktails- and therefore is a fantastic addition for this stone sour.

How to make a Stone Sour

Freshly squeezed orange juice is a must. Other than that, it's quite a simple and easy drink to make.

Stone Sour Cocktail

Stone Sour

Prep Time: 1 minute
Shaking time3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: whiskey
Servings: 1
Calories: 194kcal
Cost: $1.70


  • 1 Cocktail Shaker
  • 1 Hawthorne Strainer
  • 1 Jigger
  • Old fashioned glass


  • 1.5 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 0.75 oz Lemon juice - freshly squeezed
  • 0.5 oz Orange juice - freshly squeezed
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup


  • Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake.
    1.5 oz Bourbon Whiskey, 0.5 oz Apricot Brandy, 0.75 oz Lemon juice, 0.5 oz Simple syrup, 0.5 oz Orange juice
  • Strain the cocktail into a chilled glass, preferably over a large ice cube.


Serving: 4ozCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 17.9gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSodium: 2.75mgPotassium: 95.75mgSugar: 16.38gVitamin C: 16.25mgCalcium: 26.5mgIron: 0.23mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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