Even when apricots aren’t in season, this delicious and nuanced Apricot Whiskey Sour is a wonderful reminder of the honeyed and mouthwatering flavors of fresh apricot. The ginger-infused honey syrup is a creative combination of flavors perfect for both warm and cold cocktails. But in this Boston Sour it’s softened by the egg white and melds deliciously in with the bourbon and fruit flavors.
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What is a Whiskey Sour?
First, let’s talk about the whiskey sour. It’s an old cocktail – one that derived from the rum sour. The rum sour was developed to keep sailors on long transcontinental voyages healthy. On long voyages in the 1400-1700s sailors without access to fresh fruits and vegetables would often succumb to scurvy.
One solution was to give the sailors lime juice or lemon juice with their watered-down rum ration and add a bit of sugar to make it palatable. It wasn’t a true whiskey sour – they were likely drinking rum. But by 1862 it was set down in Jerry Thomas’ The Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks as a “Whiskey Sour” so it was well-known by then.
Whiskey sours have a basic ratio of 2:1:1 – two ounces spirit to one ounce sour to one ounce sweet. They’re endlessly variable with the sour, sweet, and spirit elements. One of the easiest ways to vary it is through different sweeteners, from infused fruit syrups to maple to honey.
For more on the whiskey sour, head to my article How to Make a Classic Whiskey Sour for more information on the history and the basics of the whiskey sour. To learn more about the egg white sour head to How to Make a Boston Sour.
Why Make this Whiskey Sour with Egg White
Egg white or aquafaba (the vegan substitute) makes a deliciously silky cocktail. Egg white emulsifies in the presence of acid and sugar, creating a silky, creamy cocktail. It softens the citrus flavors and the burn from the whiskey.
If you’ve never made a whiskey sour with egg white or aquafaba, try it once. If you’re worried about raw eggs, try using pasteurized eggs or cartoned egg whites.
Flavors in this Apricot Whiskey Sour
Have you ever had an apricot tart when they’re in season? It’s s symphony of the light tartness of apricots and their honeyed sweetness when cooked into a tart. This cocktail builds on some of those flavors: using honey to bolster the the sweetness of the apricot and adding in ginger to add a little complexity and spice with bourbons vanilla and caramel notes.
A dash of Hella ginger bitters does two things, it adds a bit of bitter bite and brings out more of the ginger flavor from the syrup. It also balances the sweetness of two sugar elements – the honey syrup and the apricot liqueur.
How to Make a Ginger-Infused Honey Syrup
If there’s an easy way to do something, or a shortcut, I’ll use it to make cocktails and syrups more efficiently. In this case, I made a the infusion a fast one by heating the water and the syrup in the microwave. Full details are in the recipe card at the end of the article.
To make the syrup, add the hot water to the syrup and stir to combine it. Add it back to the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until it is steaming hot. If you prefer, put it over low heat on the stove for a few minutes until it starts to steam, but not simmer.
Add the peeled, chopped ginger and stir. If you’re making it with the microwave, leave it in the microwave to infuse while it cools. Let it infuse for 15 to 20 minutes until you love the ginger taste in the syrup. If you like more of a ginger bite, leave it in the syrup until it cools completely.
Strain the syrup and it’s ready to use. Store it in the fridge in a clean glass jar for two weeks. It’s wonderful in Old Fashioneds, tropical drinks, Gold Rush, Bees Knees and Hot Toddies.
How to Make an Apricot Whiskey Sour
You’ll need the following ingredients for this Apricot Bourbon Sour:
- Bourbon (or your favorite whiskey)
- Apricot liqueur
- Lemon juice
- Ginger-infused honey
- Egg white/aquafaba
- Ginger bitters
Add the bitters, bourbon, apricot liqueur, lemon juice and egg white to the cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake for 10-12 seconds. Double strain into a mixing glass and use an electric latte whiskey to create that lovely thick form by whiskey for 20 seconds in the mixing glass.
Then all you need to do is pour your whiskey sour into a rocks glass if you’re serving over ice or in a coupe glass if you’re feeling fancy and want to sip it up.
The best garnish for an apricot whiskey sour is a dried apricot and some candied ginger.
What Kinds of Whiskey to Use for this Apricot Cocktail
I prefer bourbon with apricot rather than rye. Some ryes with savory spice or dill notes will not work in this drink. However, softer ryes, and some ryes with more vanilla and cinnamon/ginger notes will make a delicious apricot sour.
For bourbon, look for one that’s 90-95 proof, not too strong, but one that can stand up the lemons sourness and spirit. Bourbons with cinnamon, caramel and strong vanilla flavors excel here.
If you want to try a flight of these to see a few different flavor variations I would try Elijah Craig, Ritttenhouse Rye (since its flavor profile is so close to bourbon’s) and Maker’s Mark 46.
Or if you know you’ll prefer a bourbon, I would suggest Elijah Craig, Four Roses Small Batch, Maker’s Mark 46 and Wilderness Trail Bottled in Bond if you have it near you. Have a friend try the flight with you (drinking all four is a recipe for disaster and leaves you unable to evaluate them by the 4th one.)
Bourbons with strong leather or earthy notes, or very dry bourbons don’t fare well in a cocktail like this. And young bourbons with herbaceous, grassy or lots of oakiness should be avoided as well.
Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy
- Lavender Sour
- Peach Rosemary Sour
- Apricot Chocolate Manhattan
- Blood Orange Whiskey Sour
- Fig and Pear Sour
- Apricot Julep
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Apricot Whiskey Sour
- 1.5 oz bourbon or whisky I used Elijah Craig Small Batch
- 1 oz apricot liqueur I used Giffard Abricot du Rousillon
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz ginger-infused honey syrup**
- 2 dashes Hella ginger bitters
- 1 egg white/aquafaba optional
- Garnish: mint leaf, dried apricot, apricot preserves on rim
- Put a small swipe of apricot preserves on the rim of the rocks glass and set aside.
- Combine ingredients in a shaking tin, fill with ice and shake for 10-12 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled mixing glass and whip with an electric latte whiskey for 20 seconds.
- Pour into the rocks glass filled with ice or one large ice cube. Garnish.
- ⅓ cup hot water
- ⅔ cup honey
- 1 thumb ginger, peeled and chopped