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Best Bourbon Sour Recipes

A Classic Twist on a Delicious Drink

Bourbon is a type of American whiskey that’s particularly popular throughout the southern United States. Typically aged in a barrel to infuse it with extra flavor and depth, bourbon is a corn-based alcohol that also utilizes malted barley and wheat. Unless otherwise stated on the bottle, all bourbon you can buy in stores is at least four years old (and possibly older).

The longer bourbon has to age, the more the quality improves. Older bourbon will typically be smoother and more flavorful than younger bourbon, but younger bourbon can be just as delicious when used as a mixer in cocktails.

Perhaps one of the most well-known bourbon cocktails is the bourbon sour. An old-fashioned drink that dates back to the days of sailors, bourbon sours are popular with those who want a fairly hassle-free drink that requires only a few ingredients. Typically, bourbon sours are served in small bar-glasses and made to be sipped slowly and enjoyed.

Note that they can also be created with rye whiskey, but for the purposes of this list, we will rely on bourbon as the alcoholic mixer. Bourbon Sours have a simple list of ingredients, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t great creative; we’ve compiled a few different recipes that will let you try several variants of the classic cocktail.

Traditional Bourbon Sour2 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Lemon Juice, .75 oz Simple Syrup, 1 Maraschino Cherry

Some people will argue that a traditional bourbon sour requires egg white foam, but we have gone with a purist recipe instead. The addition of the simple syrup helps curb the bite of the bourbon. If you want to be really traditional, wait until you finish the drink before eating the cherry garnish. To create this drink:

  • Combine bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup inside a cocktail shaker
  •  Dry shake the mix for 10 second, then add ice and shake for an additional 10 seconds
  • Double strain into glass
  • Spear the cherry and balance atop glass to garnish, then serve

Lemon and Rosemary Bourbon Sour1.5 oz Bourbon, 1 oz Lemon Juice, .75 oz Rosemary Simple Syrup, Rosemary Sprig

Note: This recipe requires rosemary simple syrup. If you cannot find any, here is a quick recipe to create it. You will need: 3 Rosemary Sprigs, 1/2 cup Sugar, 1/2 cup Water

  • Mash sprigs with back of nice to release their flavor
  • Combine rosemary, sugar, and water in small pot over medium heat. Cook until sugar melts
  • Remove from heat and let cool
  • Strain into container. It can be stored up to 5 days

This twist on the bourbon sour infuses in the delicious flavor of rosemary. The fresh herb really helps bring out the flavor of the lemon and both pair well with the bourbon. This drink is especially refreshing when the weather is warming up, but can be enjoyed year round. To create this drink:

  • Combine bourbon, lemon juice, rosemary simple syrup, and ice in shaker
  • Shake vigorously for 10 seconds
  • Fill glass with ice and strain in shaker
  • Garnish with fresh rosemary sprig, then serve

New York Bourbon Sour2 oz Bourbon, .5 oz Red Wine, 1 oz Lemon Juice, 1 oz Simple Syrup

This fun twist on the typical bourbon sour involves the use of wine. We recommend trying a fruity variety as it will best compliment the bourbon. If you have friends who enjoy wine but are hesitant to try other drinks, this cocktail may be the perfect solution. To create this drink:

  • Combine bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker with ice
  • Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and then strain into glass filled with ice
  • Using a spoon to keep the wine floating on the surface, pour wine slowly over the mixture
  • Wait until both liquids settle, then serve

Muscadine and Basil Bourbon Sour1.5 oz Bourbon, 2 oz Muscadine Juice, .5 oz Lemon Juice, .25 oz Basil Simple Syrup, Orange Bitters

Note: This recipe requires basil simple syrup. If you cannot find any, here is a quick recipe to create it. You will need: 1/2 cup Basil Leaves, 1 cup Sugar, 1/2 cup Water

  • Combine ingredients in small pot over medium heat. Cook until sugar melts
  • Remove from heat and let cool
  • Strain into container. It can be stored up to a week

If you’ve never been lucky enough to try muscadines before, this drink is a great first introduction. The fresh flavors of the basil work very well with the slight twang of the muscadine and both compliment the bourbon perfectly. This drink has a very southern twist that play homage to the southern roots of the bourbon. To create this drink:

  • Combine bourbon, muscadine juice, basil simple syrup, lemon juice, and 2 dashes of bitters in a cocktail shaker
  • Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain over ice
  • If desired, garnish with orange twist or basil leaves, then serve

Fig Bourbon Sour2 oz Bourbon, 1.5 oz Lemon Juice, 2 tsp Honey, 2 Halved Figs, Bitters

The rich flavor of figs can breathe life into many recipes. The bourbon sour is no exception: try this recipe for a rich take on the traditional bourbon sour. This recipe is not only delicious, it is visually stunning when served. To create this drink:

  • Place figs and honey into cocktail shaker, then muddle
  • Add in bourbon, lemon juice, egg white, and dash of bitters to shaker
  • Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, then add ice and shake an additional 15 seconds
  • Strain into glass
  • Drip bitters in pattern of choice over the foam, then serve

If you’ve ever been interested in trying the bourbon sour, this list of recipes is a great place to start. Remember that any of these recipes can easily have egg white foam added or taken away; it’s up to your personal preference. Once you’ve tried these bourbon sours, we encourage you to try creating new twists on the drink with your own recipes. Who knows? You may find the next great flavor combination and one day your recipe will be shared around as “the tastiest twist on a bourbon sour”.