Sour cocktails are refreshing drinks with a perfect balance of sweet and acidic. In the early days of sour cocktails, the combination of lemon (or lime) juice and sugar was an easy way to hide harsh notes of cheap alcohol. But nowadays, sour cocktails are more than that. If done right, cocktails like a Whiskey Sour, Gin Sour, or Rum Sour are fabulous drinks with quality base spirits. And the Tequila Sour is another delicious twist on that classic recipe template, extending the list of great sour cocktails.
Tequila has a unique taste to it coming from the agave plant. And that typical taste of Tequila also shines through in this recipe. Combined with fresh lime juice and a bit of syrup is somewhere between a typical sour cocktail and a classic Margarita. Of course, it's lacking Cointreau or triple sec, but the overall taste is still comparable.
Ingredients for a Tequila Sour cocktail
Like all the other sour cocktails, the Tequila Sour combines a spirit base, citrus juice, and simple syrup. The ratios vary depending on the respective spirit used. But as a rule of thumb, you can start with two parts spirit, one part sour, and one part sweet.
Some sour cocktails include egg white to create that frothy head on top of the cocktail and others Angostura bitters to add flavor to the cocktail. Both are also part of my Tequila Sour recipe. So what's in a Tequila Sour? Here's my list:
- Lime juice
- Simple syrup
- Egg white
- Angostura bitters
How to make a Tequila Sour
Making a Tequila Sour isn't much different than shaking up a Gin Sour. To get an extra foamy top on our Tequila Sour, you have to perform the two-step shaking approach as described below.
First, add all ingredients except Angostura bitters into the cocktail shaker. - But don't use ice at this point. Shake the ingredients vigorously for at least 15 seconds.
Now open the shaker, add ice and shake again for 15 to 20 seconds. That will chill and dilute the cocktail while still keeping that beautiful egg white foam.
This approach of shaking without ice first followed by another shake with ice is called Dry Shake.
Dry Shake for better foam
The frothy top you'll find on many sour cocktails comes from the addition of egg white. But only when you know how to shake it the right way you'll end up with the perfect texture. Beginners often complain that they only got a little foam or none at all. The secret key for getting that beautiful mousse-like and frothy texture is a Dry Shake.
Dry Shaking means that shake your cocktail ingredients without ice first. That helps build a solid and longer-lasting egg white foam for your drinks. If you want to learn more about this technique, check out our article on how to Dry Shake a cocktail.
Vegan alternative to egg white
If you're on a vegan diet using egg white in a cocktail is a no-go. But in just leaving it off, there's no frothy top. Luckily there's a solution to this dilemma - Aquafaba. Using aquafaba instead of egg white will result in a very similar foam. Your drink will lack a bit of that rich mouthfeel egg white creates, but the difference is marginal.
And although the name Aquafaba sounds like an expensive new product, it's literally just chickpea water. If you want to know more, read this article about Aquafaba vs. egg white.
Best Tequila for Tequila Sour
For a proper Tequila Sour, I recommend using 100% agave Tequila. That is not a specific type of Tequila but rather a quality seal. It guarantees that the product you're using is not a mixto -a an inferior version of Tequila where only 51% of fermentable sugars needs to be from agave. The rest is cheaper cane or corn sugars.
Now let's discuss the type of Tequila. For me, there are two options: A Tequila Blanco or a Tequila Reposado. Each of the two has its strengths in a Tequila Sour. Using Blanco will result in a fresher cocktail with more bite to it. If you're using a Reposado, you'll get more warm and mellow flavors in your cocktail. That is due to a Reposado Tequila aging anywhere from 2-12 months in wooden barrels. During this time, the spirit develops flavor and incorporates woody notes from the barrel.
If you ask me for my favorite, I choose the Blanco Tequila, at least in a Tequila Sour. The freshness and that zing are just more prominent in unaged Tequila. In combination with tangy lime juice, that's making for a perfect cocktail.
- 2 oz Tequila
- 1 oz Fresh lime juice
- 0.5 oz Simple syrup
- 1 oz Egg white or Aquafaba
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Add Tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and egg white (or aquafaba) into your cocktail shaker without ice. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
- Open the shaker, add ice, and shake for another 20 seconds.
- Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with a twisted lime peel.