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Take Your Bourbon to the Islands with this Tropical Whiskey Tiki Sour

5 from 5 votes

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Whiskey Tiki Sour in two wine glasses with pineapple spear garnish, pineapple, orange and mint
Whiskey Tiki Sour

More quarantine cocktails of convenience here with the Whiskey Tiki Sour. If you’re a tiki buff, you may have a smidge of orgeat sitting in the back of your fridge. It’s an almond-based simple spirit often used for tiki drinks, but that almond/orange flavor begs to be paired with a flavorful whiskey instead of a rum. If you happen to have a smidge of pineapple juice to add to your cocktail, all the better.

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The previous whiskey sour cocktail, the Blackberry Sunset Whiskey Sour can be found here.

What’s in a Whiskey Sour?

A cocktail basic as old as they come, a sour was originally a drink given to sailors on long ocean voyages. Their vitamin C ration came with a toss of sugar and a bit of rum. It’s likely the sugar and the citrus were also added to make the rum taste better, too.

In the 1700 and 1800s, sailors developed a taste of whiskey from their travels to America, and the whiskey sour was born. For more on the whiskey sour and how to make an easy one, go to How to Make an Easy Whiskey Sour. If you want to step up your game and add egg white or aquafaba to get that creamy texture and head of foam: How to Make a Boston Whiskey Sour.

Common Ratio for the Perfect Whiskey Sour

The easiest way to remember what goes in a sour is to remember 2:1:1. In mixologist speak it stands for 2 parts spirit, 1 part sour, 1 part sweet. All sours, from the margarita to the daiquiri and the whiskey sour to the gimlet can fall within this ratio.

When you use lower proof spirits, have flavorful spirits or bitters, or when you just love a more spirit-forward cocktail you can tweak the ratio to one I love. I start most sours when I develop them with the ratio of 2: 3/4:3/4 – so 2 parts spirit, 3/4 part sour and 3/4 part sweet. Then, I adjust up and down after tasting the cocktail. I prefer my sours a little more sour than the others in the house, but as always, tweak the ratios to your own preference.

How to Make a Tropical Tiki Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Tiki Sour in two wine glasses with pineapple spear garnish, pineapple, orange and mint
Whiskey Tiki Sour

Like any great sour, you’ll add your whiskey, orgeat, lemon juice, bitters to a shaking tin with ice, shake for about 10-12 seconds and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, or fancy goblet like I did here. The key to tropical whiskey drinks is make sure to use fresh juices, a great whiskey and fresh, high quality ice.

What is orgeat?

Orgeat, pronounced oar-zhaaat (ok, so that’s not phonetic, but you can figure it out), is a simple syrup made with almonds, sugar, water and a touch of orange flower water. The almonds are blanched, the skins removed, then blended with water and sugar. The resulting syrup is strained, then has a touch of flower water added to it.

While many mixologists make their own orgeat, for this one, I am using Monin’s orgeat. Make sure that you are storing your orgeat in the fridge. Although it has almonds in it, it’s still a simple syrup at its base and needs to be refrigerated. Because of its flavor, if you don’t have orgeat itself, you can create a similar taste by adding ½ oz of simple syrup and a barspoon each of amaretto and orange liqueur. However, if you love tiki and tropical whiskey cocktails, go ahead and find or make your own orgeat.

Whiskey Tiki Sour in two wine glasses with pineapple spear garnish, pineapple, orange and mint
Whiskey Tiki Sour

Choosing a whiskey for your Tiki Sour

I found that when using whiskey in tiki drinks, the type of whiskey you choose greatly impacts the flavor of the cocktail. If you want something to blend well with the sweeter side of tiki drinks, a lovely, 80 to 90 proof wheated bourbon will make a glorious match. But, if you’d rather keep a little kick to the cocktail and make sure the spirit truly stands out, use a higher proof, more astringent spirit, such as an older rye or bourbon in your whiskey tiki sour.

However, a truly great cocktail is all about balance, so it may take a little experimentation with ratios based on what you’ll choose as your base spirit. That just means you’ll be making a few of these to test them out. It’ll be torture. You’ll need your fellow quarantiners to assist in taste testing and they will never forgive you.

Whiskey Tiki Sour in two wine glasses with pineapple spear garnish, pineapple, orange and mint
Whiskey Tiki Sour

One note with garnishing: I would normally garnish with a huge piece of pineapple, but if you I don’t have fresh pineapple, use dried baby pineapple from Trader Joe’s with an orange slice or two for some color. Your tropical whiskey cocktails will love you if you can get fresh pineapple, though.

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Whiskey Tiki Sour in two wine glasses with pineapple spear garnish, pineapple, orange and mint

Whiskey Tiki Sour

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Straddle the line between tiki and classic whiskey sours with this Whiskey Tiki Sour. Using orgeat and a smidge of pineapple juice, it’s got a hint of the tiki in it to balance out the bracing nature of a 100 proof bourbon or rye.
5 from 5 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz 100 proof bourbon or rye
  • ¾ oz orgeat see notes for substitution
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 1 bar spoon allspice dram
  • 2 droppers Bittermen’s ‘Tiki’ bitters
  • Garnish: fresh or dried pineapple garnish, mint, and a cherry or two

Instructions
 

  • Combine the bourbon, orgeat, allspice dram, pineapple juice, and lemon juice with the tiki bitters in the mixing tin. Next, fill with ice and shake 10-12 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass or over ice in a rocks glass, depending on how fancy you want to be. Garnish with pineapple and mint if it’s in season. Add a cherry or two if it suits you.

Notes

If you don’t have orgeat on hand, add ½ oz simple syrup, a barspoon of amaretto and a barspoon of orange curacao or other orange liqueur.
Keyword almond, lemon, orange, orgeat, tiki, Whiskey Sour
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on April 1st, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location

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2 thoughts on “Take Your Bourbon to the Islands with this Tropical Whiskey Tiki Sour”

  1. 5 stars
    This screams summer! It’s not only beautiful, but refreshing. Pineapple and bourbon are a perfect match for a cocktail. I’ve never tried “Tiki” bitters, but now I’m curious. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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