Tequila Sour

The tequila sour is a delightfully refreshing sweet tart drink with a frothy foam topping! It’s a mashup of a 1920’s sour cocktail with a margarita.

Tequila sour

Here’s a tangy and refreshing drink that you need in your life: a Tequila Sour! It’s essentially a mashup between a 1920’s sour cocktail with a margarita. This tasty drink has vintage vibes and a whole lot of lemon lime flavor. Think of it as a Boston sour + classic Margarita, with some bitters thrown in for extra intrigue. Alex and I are big fans of sour cocktails, and absolutely loved the refreshing flavor and creamy, frothy foam. This one’s worth trying…stat!

What’s in a tequila sour?

A tequila sour is one in the family of sour cocktails. Sours are three parts: liquor, citrus, and sweetener. The common equation for a sour is this: 2 ounces spirit, ¾ ounce sour, ¾ ounce sweet. Of course, there are all sorts of variations on the theme! This is the basic formula, but it’s tweaked across different cocktail recipes. The most classic of the sours are the Whiskey Sour and Pisco Sour. But what’s in a tequila sour? The ingredients are:

  • Tequila
  • Lime juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Agave syrup or simple syrup
  • Angostura bitters
  • Egg white

A cousin drink: the margarita!

You’ll notice that the tequila sour looks much like a classic Margarita! Of course, the margarita doesn’t have bitters or an egg white foam, and it uses lime juice and Cointreau (orange liqueur) as the sweetener. Even so: it’s a very similar drink!

Do you love margaritas? Make sure to check out our 15 best margarita recipes, and don’t miss our top tequila cocktails.

Tequila sour

How to make a tequila sour (basic steps)

The tequila sour is made like any classic sour cocktail. Because it has an egg white foam, it has an extra step to make the foam topping. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds without ice.
  2. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake again for 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into a glass and garnish. It’s classic to garnish a sour with a cocktail cherry: though it’s not required, we like doing if for a little flair.

The technique above for getting that beautiful foam topping is called a dry shake! Here’s more about it…

Egg white foam cocktail

Trick to the egg white foam: a dry shake!

Egg whites have been added to drinks for about a century. Why? The foam adds a fun frothy texture on top and adds a rich, creamy flavor (it can also tone down the tang of the citrus). How to get the very best egg white foam? It’s called a Dry Shake. That means you’ll shake the ingredients first without ice. This lets the protein in the egg begin to unravel and form foam instead of being diluted by the ice.

Then you’ll add the ice and shake again. This cools the drink and strengthens the foam. Strain it into the glass and you’ll get a thick, white frothy layer. This technique is not only used in the tequila sour: you’ll see it in other egg white cocktails like the Classic Gin Fizz, Clover Club, Boston Sour, Gin Sour, and Vodka Sour.

Is there a vegan egg white substitute for cocktails?

There is! If you’re proficient in vegan cooking, you can probably guess. It’s aquafaba! Aquafaba is the liquid that’s in a can of chickpeas. Because it’s starchy, it can work as a binder similar to an egg. Two tablespoons of aquafaba is equal to one egg white, you can use 2 tablespoons of aquafaba in this recipe as an equivalent to the actual egg white. It makes for the same type of foam!

Classic sour cocktails

Use tequila reposado if you have it!

Any type of tequila works for this tequila sour: we recommend finding one in a mid-price range or above. The quality of the drink is only as good as the liquor! We also like using tequila repsoado (aged tequila) in this drink, because it adds more nuance to the drink. Think: subtle flavors of vanilla and caramel. But you can also use tequila blanco: it just has a more straightforward flavor!

Angostura bitters to seal the deal

The tequila sour works without bitters. But for the very best tequila sour, we recommend adding a few drops of bitters! Angostura bitters are popularly used in cocktails to add a complex and bitter undertone. They take a drink from one-note to extraordinarily complex with just a few drops! In this drink, we added the bitters to the cocktail itself: you’ll see some egg white cocktails also place the bitters drops on top of the foam.

Angostura bitters are one of the most popular in drinks and easy to find. They get the name from their manufacturer: the House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. (Read more here.) Other cocktails that use Angostura bitters? The Old Fashioned, Toronto, Manhattan, and Champagne Cocktail.

Tequila sour

When to serve a tequila sour

The tequila sour is both classy and laid-back at the same time! It’s perfect for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Summer patio drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
Print
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Tequila sour

Tequila Sour


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (16 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

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

Description

The tequila sour is a delightfully refreshing sweet tart drink with a frothy foam topping! It’s a mashup of a 1920’s sour cocktail with a margarita.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) tequila reposado
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 egg white* 
  • For the garnish: Cocktail cherry and lime wedge

Instructions

  1. Add the tequila, lemon juice, lime juice, syrup, bitters, 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 a lime wedge and a cocktail cherry.

Notes

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

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

Keywords: Tequila sour

More sour cocktails

Sour cocktails are a family of cocktails with base liquor, sour, and sweet elements. This extends to lots of different cocktails, even if their name doesn’t contain the word “sour”! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Tom Collins Cocktail A Tom Collins is also known as a gin sour: is light and bubbly with soda water.
  • Gin Fizz The Gin Fizz is another gin sour: the classic. It has a frothy egg white foam topping.
  • Classic Daiquiri The Classic Daiquiri is actually not frozen! It’s rum, lime juice, and sweetener.
  • Classic Sidecar Cocktail One of the best classic cocktails of all time! This sour is the perfect balance of Cognac, Cointreau and lemon.
  • New York Sour Make a classic whiskey sour and float a layer of red wine on top. Stunning!
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

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

Cookbook Author and photographer

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.

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