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Best Whiskey For Whiskey Sour

Will Beck
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

The whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that has been around for centuries. Traditionally, it is made with whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar, although there are many variations.

The key to making a good whiskey sour is to find the right balance of sweet and sour. Too much lemon juice will make the drink too tart, while too much sugar will make it too sweet.

Likewise, using a high-quality whiskey is essential for achieving the perfect flavor. Once you have that Simply combine whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and egg white (if desired) in a shaker filled with ice.

Shake well and strain into a glass. You can garnish your whiskey sour with a lemon slice or cherry. For a twist on the classic recipe, try adding a dash of bitters or substituting the lemon juice for lime juice.

Whether you are looking for a refreshing summer drink or a cozy winter cocktail, any of our whiskey picks will make your whiskey sours the star of your next happy hour. So let’s take a look at the best whiskey for Whiskey sour!

The Best Whiskey For Whiskey Sour

whiskey for a whiskey sour

When it comes to the whiskey sour the alcohol used in the cocktail is incredibly important. It is best to skip scotch altogether for this one since most scotches have smoky characteristics that won’t blend well with the citrus-forward flavor.

There are a few different types of whiskey that work well in a whiskey sour. First, bourbon is always a good choice.

Bourbon has a sweetness that helps to balance out the sourness of the citrus, and it also has a strong flavor that can stand up to the other ingredients.

Second, rye whiskey is another good option. Rye whiskey is slightly more tart than bourbon, which can help to offset the sweetness of the drink.

Third, Irish whiskey is another possibility. Irish whiskey is smooth and sweet, which makes it a good choice for those who want a sweeter cocktail.

Finally, American whiskey can also be used. American whiskey has a light, fruity flavor that can help to brighten up the drink.

History of the Whiskey sour

According to Eight Oaks Distillery, the first mention of the whiskey sour was in 1862 from The Bartenders Guide by Jerry Thomas. However, it’s likely that people were drinking whiskey sours long before this. Like so many spirits and cocktails, we can thank sailors for this cocktail.

Traveling by sea was difficult in the 1800s. It was particularly difficult to find clean, fresh water on long voyages, making whiskey, rum, and other spirits very popular with sailors. In addition to the lack of clean water, many sailors would take huge amounts of lemons, limes, and oranges on voyages.

They would also bring alcohol, and the best alcohol was kept at room temperature, like whiskey and bourbon. The whiskey sour was a perfect combination of citrus, to combat scurvy, and whiskey to quench the sailor’s thirst.

Sailors likely created this delicious cocktail out of necessity, but we are certainly glad they did.

Best Bourbon For Whiskey Sour

best bourbon for whiskey sour
Image: Dominic Lockyer

There are many great bourbons on the market, but Wild Turkey 101 is a standout option for making a whiskey sour.

The bourbon has a high proof, which helps to cut through the sweetness of the other ingredients, and its bold flavors complement the sourness of the lemon juice.

In addition, Wild Turkey 101 is well priced with bottles available for as low as $20, making it a great option for mixing cocktails at home.

Best Irish Whiskey For Whiskey Sour

best irish whiskey for whiskey sour
Image: Addison Berry

Irish whiskey is known for its smooth, mellow flavor profile. So when it is used in a cocktail like the sour, it is able to fade into the background of the cocktail making it not so noticeable for those who are faint of heart when it comes to a strong whiskey.

However, actually finding the best Irish whiskey for the cocktail is another story and there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, you’ll want to choose a whiskey with a good balance of sweet and spicy flavors. Second, you’ll want to make sure the whiskey is smooth and easy to drink. And finally, you’ll want to choose a whiskey that is affordable.

With these criteria in mind, we believe that Teeling Whiskey is the best Irish whiskey for a whiskey sour. Teeling has a well-rounded flavor profile that includes notes of vanilla, honey, and citrus.

The whiskey is also very smooth, with a creamy texture that makes it easy to drink. And best of all, Teeling is very affordable, making it a great option for those on a budget.

Best Rye For Whiskey Sour

best rye for whiskey sour
Image: Patrick Truby

Rye whiskey is made with at least %51 rye a spicy or peppery flavor profile, especially on the finish. This makes rye a popular choice for cocktails as the characteristics of the liquid allow drinkers to distinguish between the cocktail and the whiskey itself.

With that in mind, it’s easy to conclude that Bulleit Rye is one of the best ryes for a whiskey sour. It is aged in white oak barrels that are charred to the maximum before being filled. This whiskey is made with 95% rye and is a copper color with a slight green patina.

Bulleit 95 Rye Straight Rye Whiskey is an excellent choice for the cocktail because it is affordable and easy to find, and it also has a great flavor that bartenders love.

Runner Up: If for some reason Bulleit Rye is not as readily available, grab a bottle of Pendleton. While it’s not labeled rye, it’s a Canadian whiskey with a 100% rye mashbill.

Distiller describes the tasting notes as “Despite heavy flavors, it’s a very light whisky. Fruity, floral notes lurk beneath the sweetness, along with a faint hint of oak and grass and dark chocolate”. In other words, it’s a great whiskey to use when mixing in cocktails.

Best Scotch For a Whiskey Sour

best scotch for a whiskey sour

Even though scotch is not the most popular choice for mixing, there are a few brands that are made specifically for mixing.

The most well-known scotch option for mixing is Monkey Shoulder, one of the first Scotch whiskies made specifically with cocktails in mind. Not only that, but the whisky has won multiple awards, including Gold at the International Spirits Challenge in 2020.

The tasting notes for the scotch include a bit of fruit which will complement the lemon in the whiskey sour. Tasters also notice cloves and butterscotch, honey, hot-buttered-toast, and dried apricot develop.

According to the Monkey Shoulder website: “Some say it tastes just like riding bareback on the wild moors of Scotland with a flame-haired maiden on Christmas morning.

Others agree it tastes like 007 wearing a tuxedo wetsuit.” This is whisky intended to get the party started.

Another great mixing scotch is Sia, another scotch that was created with the intention of blending. It is a blend of Speyside, Highland, and Islay malt and grain whiskies with lots of light floral flavors making it an easy sipper.

Best Whiskey For Whiskey Sour – Final Thoughts

The whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed by many for years. It’s simple to make and can be tailored to your own tastes, making it the perfect drink for any occasion.

Whether you’re looking for something to enjoy on a quiet evening at home or want to impress your friends at your next party, this drink holds its own.

About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with whiskey a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee with spectacular scenery whilst he coordinates behind the scenes of the Drink Stack blog!

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