Stone Sour Recipe - Tom Bullock's Almost Forgotten Creation

By Timo Torner / Last updated on December 4, 2023

The Stone Sour marries the base elements and concept 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. 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.

Quick Facts Stone Sour Cocktail

  • Method: shaken
  • Flavor profile: sweet & sour, fruity
  • How to serve it: over ice
  • Best glassware: rocks glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 17% ABV, 18 grams of alcohol per serving

The Whiskey Stone Sour, the most famous version we make here, is a close relative of the Whiskey Sour. Apart from that, Amaretto, Rum, and even Tequila Stone Sours are among the more popular choices.

Stone Sour Cocktail

Recipe 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: 6gProtein: 0.2gSodium: 2.75mgPotassium: 35.75mgSugar: 6gVitamin C: 16.25mgCalcium: 26.5mgIron: 0.23mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Ingredients with Recommendations

Following the regular Sour Cocktail template, the Stone Sour calls for a base spirit, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Additionally, you need orange juice and Apricot Brandy to make this cocktail:

  • Whiskey: Bourbon is the whiskey of choice for this drink. The subtle sweetness is the perfect match for the apricot brandy. If you are looking for recommendations, you can pick one of the best bourbons for a Whiskey Sour. They are just as fantastic in this Stone Sour.
  • Apricot Brandy: The Apricot Brandy or liqueur brings in a subtle note of stone fruits. We like using products from established liqueur brands like Bols and Giffard and also found Rothman & Winter Apricot Brandy a really great option.
  • Simple syrup: A mix of water and sugar you can make at home or buy at a supermarket.
  • Citrus Juice: The lemon and the orange juice should be freshly squeezed. Only then do you get those beautiful citrus flavors and tangy freshness. 
Stone Sour Cocktails

Pro Tips 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. That is absolutely vital, though, to get a proper craft cocktail. The same goes for the lemon juice. Bottled citrus juice is a no-go in mixology. 

Apart from that, we have a few best practices for you to keep in mind when mixing:

  • Shake with plenty of ice cubes.
  • Pour the drink over fresh -ideally large & clear ice cubes into a rocks glass.
  • Chill your glass in the fridge for 15 minutes before you prepare the drink - or cool it with some ice cubes. Replace them with fresh ones before you pour your Whiskey Stone Sour.

Variations 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 left off here, making the drink even more similar to a classic sour version.

Another well-known variation 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 to this Stone Sour.

History of the Stone Sour

American bartender Tom Bullock is widely accepted as the inventor of the first version of this 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 had been published in 1917, shortly before prohibition. No wonder the cocktail vanished for quite some time.

Stone Sour Tom Bullock original recipe

In the early 1970s, the Stone Sour with orange juice resurfaced in country clubs across the US. 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 was 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. During 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. 

With the new Millennium, the popularity of the Stone Sour Cocktail declined, and it fell into oblivion again. As with most things, it likely will have a comeback at some point. However, at this point, while you can still find recipes online in all kinds of variations, the hype is not there anymore.

More About Tom Bullock

Tom Bullock was not only the inventor of the Stone Sour, 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 made 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.

Related Recipes

Apart from the variations of the Stone Sour mentioned above, there are countless other creative Sour Cocktail recipes you should try at least once. Three of those are:

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