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 Sour – 2 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:
Lemon and Rosemary Bourbon Sour – 1.5 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
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:
New York Bourbon Sour – 2 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:
Muscadine and Basil Bourbon Sour – 1.5 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
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:
Fig Bourbon Sour – 2 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:
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”.