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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
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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, Trinidad Sour 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
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Tequila sour

Tequila Sour

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.3 from 4 reviews

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


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.


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) tequila reposado
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • ½ 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


  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.


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

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

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:

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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  1. Niklas says:

    This recipe is way to sour for my taste. I would suggest ½ ounce Agave Syrup or Simple Syrup.

  2. Jessica Carson says:

    This is my new favourite cocktail!! Absolutely delicious.

  3. Michelle says:

    Made your tequila sour recipe – wow – delicious! Just added a wee bit more simple syrup. Definitely going to make again.

  4. Dianne says:

    I only have Blanco and Anejo tequila on hand. Will either of those work or only Reposado?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Any tequila you like will work!

  5. Dianne says:

    Can you leave out the egg white and still have it taste good following the rest of the instructions?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:


  6. Dana Hall says:

    Not vegan at all! Great drink though!!

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      For vegan, use the aquafaba substitute listed in the recipe!