The Best Whiskey for a Great Whiskey Sour
Written by Emma C | Updated May 2023
The classic sour cocktail is one of the oldest and most revered types of libations; harmoniously blending spirits, citrus, and sugar. Within this esteemed cocktail family, the Whiskey Sour has been satisfying thirsty drinkers for well over one and a half centuries. Although the exact origins of this delightful concoction remain uncertain, its historical connections trace back to at least the administration of Abraham Lincoln. We gain insight into its early existence circa 1862 when Jerry Thomas featured the first printed recipe for the Whiskey Sour in his renowned book, The Bar-Tenders Guide. In this post, We will be sharing a recipe for making a whiskey sour, along with our top 10 whiskey recommendations available in our bottle shop to help you choose the perfect whiskey for your cocktail.
- 2 oz whiskey
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- Garnish: lemon wedge and cherry
- In a shaker, combine the whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup.
- Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with a lemon wedge and a cherry.
- Enjoy your delicious whiskey sour!
Top 10 Recommendations for a Whiskey Sour – Available In Our Bottle Shop
1. Elijah Craig Small Batch
The award-winning Bourbon that started it all. Our signature Small Batch owes its distinctive warm spice & subtle smoke flavor to Level 3 charred oak barrels. Handcrafted by our Master Distillers, it’s a favorite of Bourbon connoisseurs and casual whiskey fans alike.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Peach, Toffee, Spice | ABV: 47%
2. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year
Legendary bourbon-makers Jimmy and Eddie Russell use their vast knowledge to craft this 10-year-old classic. Aged in No. 4 alligator char barrels and bottled at 90 proof, this is the Russell’s Reserve bourbon that started it all.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Caramel, Vanilla, Tobacco, Oak, Spice | ABV: 45%
3. Nikka Days
Nikka Days is a brilliantly bright blended Japanese whisky from the legendary producer, featuring spirits from the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries. The slightly peated whisky delicately balances both fruity and malted flavors.
Region: Japan | Tasting Notes: Nut, Toffee Apple, Vanilla Fudge | ABV: 40%
4. Rittenhouse Rye
Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky has a storied past with a heritage that commemorates Philadelphia's famous Rittenhouse Square. Bottled-in-Bond, today's Rittenhouse carries the distinct, spicy flavor that is long associated with the brand. Rittenhouse is the Rye Whisky of choice for both mixologists and whisky aficionados alike.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Herbal, Licorice, Honey Rye, Black Tea | ABV: 40%
5. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
The art of making fine bourbon first took place on the site of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, a National Historic Landmark, in 1812. The perfectly balanced taste of our Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is comprised of more than 200 detectable flavor notes, from bold grain and wood, to sweet aromatics, spice, and fruit & floral notes.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Caramel | ABV: 45.2%
6. Lot 40 Canadian Rye
Gold-medal winning Lot No. 40 is one of the rare North American 100% rye whiskies. Produced by the Hiram Walker distillery in Windsor, Ontario, locally cultivated rye is distilled in the old-fashioned way – one batch at a time in a traditional copper pot still. Released in 2012, Lot No. 40 follows a recipe passed down seven generations that results in a pure expression of rye whisky.
Region: Ontario, Canada | Tasting Notes: Gingersnap, Pine, Molasses Pepper, Herbal | ABV: 43%
7. Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack
Inspired by our founder, Gentleman Jack undergoes a second charcoal mellowing to achieve exceptional smoothness. Its balanced flavor is perfect for celebrating life’s extraordinary occasions, plus all the moments along the way.
Region: Tennessee | Tasting Notes: Honey, Caramel, Pepper, Mint, Vanilla | ABV: 40%
8. Four Roses Bourbon
For a new or casual bourbon drinker who wants an elevated yet everyday whiskey, Four Roses Bourbon is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that can easily open you up to the world of bourbon.
Region: Kentucky | Tasting Notes: Marmalade, Honey, Cinnamon | ABV: 40%
9. Knappogue Castle 12 Years Old
Knappogue Castle 12 year old, our signature expression, is an exceptional single malt made exclusively from malted barley. Triple distilled one batch at a time in traditional, onion-shaped copper pot stills, the whiskey is then aged in bourbon oak casks for twelve years. The delicate distillation process, along with the moist and temperate climate, yields the distinctive flavor of this remarkable Irish single malt.
Region: Ireland | Tasting Notes: Granola, Honey, Dried Fruit, Almond | ABV: 43%
10. Jura 10 Year
A whisky only Jura could make, born of our island and still produced today in a bottle originally shaped to withstand the roughest of journeys from our home. Crafted in exceptionally tall stills and matured for 10 years in America White Oak ex bourbon barrels.
Region: Scotland | Tasting Notes: Oil, Vanilla, Chocolate, Raisin | ABV: 40%
The Whiskey Sour is a delicious and classic cocktail that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion. With the right ingredients and the right whiskey, you can create a drink that is sure to impress. We hope this recipe and bottle recommendations have inspired you to try making a whiskey sour at home. Remember to drink responsibly and enjoy your cocktail!
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