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The gin sour is a classic sour cocktail that’s the perfect balance of lemon, gin and syrup! Top with an egg white foam for a frothy topping.

Gin sour
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Here’s a cocktail with a long history that inspired a slew of other drinks: the Gin Sour! It’s the lesser known relative to sours like the Whiskey Sour and Amaretto Sour. But the Gin Sour is just as tasty as its cousins: it’s smooth, tart, balanced, with floral notes from the gin. Top it with a classic egg white foam for a creamy body and frothy finish. It’s a unique sour to remember! Here’s how to make it.

What’s in a gin sour?

The Gin Sour is one in the family of sour cocktails: drinks made of liquor, citrus, and sweetener. The most well-known of course is the Whiskey Sour. But there are many more classic sour cocktails that don’t have “sour” in the name. The MargaritaMojito, Sidecar, Daiquiri, and Gimlet are all considered sours!

The history of the Gin Sour is not known, but it likely came to be in the mid-1800’s. The Whiskey Sour was first recorded in 1862: and many recipes around the time specified that you could use any alcohol in the sour. The Gin Sour is lighter and more delicate than the boldness of the Whiskey Sour. The ingredients in a Gin Sour are:

  • Gin
  • Lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Egg white
  • Angostura bitters, for garnish
Gin sour

How to make a gin sour (basic steps)

The gin sour is quick and easy to make. The only fancy part is the shaking technique to get that frothy foam topping. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Dry shake: Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds without ice.
  2. Shake: Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake again for 30 seconds.
  3. Strain: Strain into a glass and garnish with a few shakes of bitters on top. Voila!

What’s a dry shake?

Bartenders have added egg whites to cocktails since the 1860’s. Why? They add a frothy texture to each sip, and a creamy rich flavor. The best frothy egg white form is achieved by doing a Dry Shake. Here’s how it works:

  • Shaking without ice lets the protein in the egg begin to form foam, instead of being diluted by the ice.
  • Shaking again with ice cools the drink and strengthens the foam. Strain it into the glass and a thick, white frothy layer will form.

You’ll notice that the classic egg white foam is also atop the Gin Fizz, which is a close cousin drink to the Gin Sour. The only difference is using soda water to add a bubbly note. Speaking of its drink relatives..

Gin sour

Related gin drinks! Tom Collins, Gin Fizz & more

The Gin Sour is like the godfather of a lot of the famous gin drinks. You’ll notice that the combination of lemon, gin and sweetener seems to have infinite variations. Here are the most famous classic cocktails related to the Gin Sour:

Tom Collins
The Tom Collins is a close relative of the gin sour

More classic sour cocktails

The family of sour cocktails includes all sorts of drinks that don’t have “sour” in the title. But let’s talk about those “classic sours” for a moment! These are drinks that combine liquor, lemon, and simple syrup, then top it off with an egg white foam (and sometimes bitters). Here are the major classic sours:

  • Whiskey Sour The best known of all!
  • Pisco Sour The magic meld of pisco and lime in this Peruvian sour gives it flavor like none other.
  • New York Sour Whiskey sour on the bottom, red wine layer floated on top.
  • Boston Sour The whiskey sour with an egg white foam.
  • Amaretto Sour The perfect way to make it with amaretto liqueur! A must try.
  • Vodka Sour Tangy and sweet, with a hint of bitters.
  • Tequila Sour Like a margarita, done up as a sour.
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Gin sour

Classic Gin Sour

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The gin sour is a classic sour cocktail that’s the perfect balance of lemon, gin and syrup! Top with an egg white foam for a frothy topping.


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) gin
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup
  • 1 egg white*
  • For the garnish: Lemon strip, Angostura bitters


  1. Add the gin, lemon juice, syrup, and egg white to a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake for 15 seconds.
  2. Add the ice to the cocktail shaker. Shake again for 30 seconds.
  3. Strain the drink into a glass; the foam will collect at the top. Serve with or without ice. Garnish with bitters swirled into foam and lemon twist.


*Substitute 2 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) for a vegan variation.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

When to serve a Gin Sour

The Gin Sour is a light, refreshing drink with a retro feel that works anytime! It’s great for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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