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Ya Basic Whiskey Sour – Quarantine Cocktail

5 from 2 votes

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whiskey sour orange garnish
Ya Basic Whiskey Sour

Perhaps I should have started with your basic whiskey sour, but there are so many riffs to be done on a whiskey sour and many directions to take it. When I start a new series, the basic cocktail is never where I want to start. But about mid-way through I like to step back and just create a simple one to remind myself of the standard I’m playing with.

To get a look at the other Quarantine Whiskey Sours go to the Blue Mood Orange Sour, the Whiskey Tiki Sour or the Blackberry Sunset Sour. Tomorrow we’ll push forward to the Peach Rosemary Sour which might be my favorite.

For this classic sour, we do add some egg white or aquafaba (the soak water from garbanzo beans) to create that lovely head of foam that holds up a fancy garnish so well. Omit the egg white or aquafaba if you like and serve the cocktail on the rocks with a few drops of bitters on the top.

Because we’re in quarantine situation, I used the simple syrup I had at hand, the champagne simple syrup (used in the Champagne Blood Orange Old Fashioned) and some black walnut bitters to top off the cocktail.

whiskey sour orange garnish
Ya Basic Whiskey Sour

Now if I’m using egg white or aquafaba I don’t worry as much about making sure I’ve got a really smooth whiskey to pair with the cocktail. Adding egg white or aquafaba mellows out the flavor and gives the cocktail a silkier taste to it.

To be honest, before I started researching and making cocktails constantly I avoided anything with an egg white in it. It doesn’t help that I don’t eat eggs, either,  but once I had a well-made craft cocktail sour with egg white it in everything changed. I highly recommend that if you’re someone who doesn’t think they will like egg white in a sour, try it, at least once, and see how the egg white changes the flavor. Not only does it round down the sharp edges of the whiskey, it makes the lemon far less pungent and blends together the sweetness and citrus in a way that’s very different from on made without.

One caveat is that using an egg white or aquafaba requires a bit of work to get that lovely foam. You’ll need to shake for an extended amount of time. If you want to just do one shake, try to shake for 60 to 90 seconds. If you don’t mind doing what’s called a dry shake, put a single cube in the shaker and shake for 30 seconds. Fill with a big scoop of ice and shake again for 60 seconds. Be sure to double strain any time you use the shaker with lemon juice. It strains out pulp and ice shards to leave you with a smooth cocktail.

whiskey sour orange garnish
Ya Basic Whiskey Sour

If you think you can get away with bottled juices with this let me disabuse you of that notion. You can’t. For any cocktail purist will say you want to use the highest quality juice you have, and in this case, that’s going to come straight from the lemon itself.

whiskey sour orange garnish

Ya Basic Whiskey Sour

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Back to basics with a standard whiskey sour recipe – whiskey, lemon, simple syrup and a touch of bitters combine to create an easy sipping tipple for a warm afternoon in the sun. Or late night by the pool.
5 from 2 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1


  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup I used champagne simple
  • ¾ oz egg white or aquafaba optional
  • Garnish: Black walnut bitters dropped onto the foam


  • Combine ingredients into a shaker with one cube of ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Open the shaker, add in a heap of ice, close the shaker and shake again. This time for 30 to 60 seconds. Double strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass (or on the rocks if you've omitted the eggwhite/aquafaba and garnish with a few drops of angostura bitters dropped on the top of the cocktail.


Note: To make the champagne simple syrup, take 1 cup of champagne and add 1 cup of sugar. Heat it just enough for the sugar to dissolve, then take it off the stove, let cool completely and refrigerate.
Keyword black walnut, lemon, simple syrup, Whiskey Sour
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on April 3rd, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey and cocktail author (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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