The Whiskey Sour: A Family Tradition

standard July 31, 2014 Leave a response

whiskey sourRecently I’ve just had a hankering for a whiskey sour. Not sure what it is, but my mouth waters at the thought of those words. Whiskey. Sour. If i think about it, the whiskey sour is likely one of my first cocktail memories.

Aunt Mary Nicoloso

Aunt Mary was known the world over (OK, the Lansdale, PA over) for her whiskey sours. When I was kid growing up and we were going to Aunt Mary’s I could count on three things: horseshoes, being tortured by my cousin Mary Sue and maraschino cherries.

Cherry Salvation

After the onslaught of half nelson’s and indian burns, the only thing to heal the pain was those gloriously red, syrupy maraschino cherries. And there was never a shortage at the Nicoloso house.There, as I later found out, was a reason for that: Whiskey Sours. These cherries are the icing on the cake for this classic cocktail.

I’ll admit, I’m not too sure how she made her Sours but if I had to guess it included some frozen orange juice concentrate, whiskey (likely a blended such as VO), lemon juice and the cherry. This sounds pretty amazing to me, but I have to assume that this is not the “classic” recipe. So, being the novice I am, I retreated to the lab to come up with what may (or may not be) a classic whiskey sour.

A lot of the recipes I researched called for just lemon juice, bourbon, simple sugar and the cherry. These seemed rudimentary to me and I wanted to really expand on the sour part of the cocktail. So here’s what I came up with and got drunk on.

The Cocktail Novice Whiskey Sour Recipe



  • Fill a rocks glass with ice to chill and fill your cocktail shaker with ice while you’re at it
  • Add the CN Sour Mix and Whiskey and shake vigorously to blend/chill
  • Strain drink over ice and add orange juice
  • Drop the cherry in with a dash of cherry juice
  • Drink

Cocktail Novice Whiskey Sour
This version is really good. My wife liked it and so did my mother-in-law, Nini. She is pro at whiskey sours and sometimes drinks way too many of them on Thanksgiving (but don’t we all)?

I’ve also experimented with the egg white version. This scares me b/c egg whites not cooked are gross, but in true Nov Fashion, I said: “Eff it, let’s egg”.

The Egg White Whiskey Sour Recipe

For this version you’ll want to compensate for the egg white and maybe go a tad lighter on the sour mix.

So Let’s Say:

  • 1 oz. egg white (1 egg white)
  • 1 1/2 oz. sour mix
  • 1 1/2 oz. whiskey/bourbon/rye
  • 1/2 oz. OJ
  • Cherry, juice, blah blah blah


  • For this version we want to add the egg white to the shaker FIRST and shake the hell out of it for like 20 seconds (we are trying to emulsify the egg white so it’s nice and frothy)
  • Next add the rest of the ingredients and THEN put the ice in the shaker and give ‘er a quick clank to get everything blended and cold
  • Pour over ice, add cherry and juice
  • Wonder why it’s not as frothy as the pictures
  • Shrug
  • Drink
  • Say “Eggs-cellent”

You’ll notice that this one has more texture and a smoother feel. That’s the egg working it’s magic. I’ll say this was pretty good and I’ve been using the egg version a lot more lately. Mostly because I’m trying to get it to look perfect and partly because I’m fancy.

Now, everyone go try this out. Let me know what you think and what other “sours” you all get down on in the comments. In the meantime, I’ll get acquainted with “real” maraschino cherries and you keep knockin’ back those whiskey sours.


So I just got back from a pretty awesome vacation in the Endless Mountains of Central PA (Eagle’s Mere, to be exact) and I’ve got a great “poor man’s” whiskey sour recipe for you. Nini (my mother in law) was there mixing these bad boys up and they were a big hit. Basically just some frozen fruit juice concentrate, water, whiskey and cherries made these things deliciously mind numbing!

Nini’s Whiskey Sour


  • One can orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 can lemon juice concentrate
  • 1/2 can lime juice concentrate
  • Water
  • Blended Whiskey (we used Seagrams 7)
  • Cherry & Juice


  • Mix up the concentrates and freeze them a bit so they get kinda slushy
  • Once slushy, add about 3-4 spoonfuls into a rocks or collins glass
  • Fill glass with water about ½ of the way and stir
  • Top off with whiskey and stir some more
  • Add cherry and juice
  • Knock back
  • Praise Nini!


Prolific Party Drinker. Last One To Leave. Sausage Maker. Pizza Eater. Cocktail Novice.