Sour cocktails are one of the oldest drink families: because they’re truly timeless! Here are the best sour recipes to try: whiskey sour, margarita, and more.
Sour cocktails are one of the oldest cocktail families: and for good reason! The sweet tart flavor is simply timeless: it doesn’t matter what decade you live in! What’s a sour? It’s a mixed drink made of liquor, citrus, and sweetener. You might be surprised by the familiar names of cocktails that are part of the sour family. The Margarita! The Cosmo! Sours are near and dear to Alex and me: they are my favorite family of drinks, so we’ve set out on a quest to try them all.
Here are the basic the elements of a sour cocktail:
Liquor: Sours can be made with just about any spirit: whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, and brandy.
Citrus (the “sour”): Usually you’ll see lemon juice or lime juice, but some variations have grapefruit or orange.
Sweetener:Simple syrup or orange liqueur like Cointreau or triple sec (which contain sugar) are the common sweeteners.
Egg white: (optional): Often you’ll see classic 1920’s style sour drinks topped with an egg white foam. This gives the drink a creamy, rich texture and frothy topping, like in the Boston Sour or Gin Fizz.
As you can imagine, there are endless variations on the sour. Below we’ve listed the 3 most popular sour cocktails, then listed the rest organized by type of liquor.
There’s truly no drink like it. Meet the classic pisco sour! This sour cocktail from Peru is mega popular for a reason. It’s just that good. The way the pisco melds with the lime makes it bright, mellow, and distinctly magical. Here’s how to make this famous classic cocktail that’s earned it’s place in history.
The sidecar is one of the best classic sour cocktails of all time! Why? Taste it and you'll see. This drink is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, and layered and complex: warm, crisp, dry, rich, and full at the same time.
Here's another sour cocktail martini spin: the Pomegranate Martini! Crisp, sweet tart, fruity, and light: it’s much closer to a Cosmo than the classic martini. But instead of cranberry juice, it’s made with pomegranate juice!
Here's the perfect amaretto sour! It's nothing like those syrupy versions with sour mix. Made correctly, this drink can be one of the best sour cocktails out there! It’s tangy and sweet tart, with a hint of almond from the amaretto that’s toned down by the secret ingredient: bourbon.
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.