High Maintenance Loves: Whiskey Sour

High Maintenance Loves: Whiskey Sour

"This old thing? Just something I threw on..."

“This old thing? Just something I threw on…”

There is a pretty wide range of hassle in making drinks. For every Jack and Coke, there is a seven ingredient monster that calls for a tincture of mistletoe harvested with a golden sickle and caught in a oaken bowl before it could hit the ground. At midnight. During a Full Moon. I don’t care how transcendent the latter is, I’m not making it at home. Not to be all heteronormist here, but you marry the one and you date the other. Briefly.

But, while at home I strongly favor drinks that make my life easy to make (there is a reason it is only Tiki Month once a year), there are a few high-maintenance gals that make the effort worthwhile. Exhibit A, in what I optimistically plan to become a series, is the Whiskey Sour.

To much of the populace the Whiskey Sour is the sort of faceless drink that leathered old men in dive bars might nurse while watching the results roll in on closed-circuit from Aquaduct. And the Whiskey Sour in that mental picture is indeed no Kim Kardashian. You just slip some Jim Beam into a glass with some ice and a splash of sour mix and call it a day. And while this is a perfectly serviceable drink, it is not going to be a common tipple for the portion of the human race who have the knowledge to appreciate a really good cocktail.

I am talking about this Whiskey Sour.

Whiskey Sour

This here is a high-maintenance cocktail, folks. Check out the recipe I use to see why.


  • 2 oz. low-premium bourbon (Four Roses Small Batch)
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. not-quite-rich simple syrup (1.5:1)
  • 1 fresh egg white

Combine ingredients in an empty shaker. Insert the spring from a worn-out Hawthorne shaker, or the wire ball from a protein smoothie shaker. Seal well and shake vigorously for thirty to forty five seconds. Be careful, as the shaker can develop substantial pressure during this step as the foamy head forms out of the egg proteins. When using a Boston Shaker, it will often leak a little. Once you have formed the foam, open the shaker and add ice. Shake again until chilled. Strain into an old-fashioned glass with fresh ice cubes, or better yet a large chunk of ice. Garnish with a large strip of lemon zest.

For the home bartender, making a round of proper Whiskey Sours means a lot of cleanup. Eggs make a mess, and if you are smart you will clean the counters and your bar tools immediately, before you get to enjoy your cocktail. If you don’t, you will have a royal pain of a cleanup. You also ought to take into consideration the tiny chance that those raw egg whites could make you sick. Wash your hands. Thoroughly. It takes at least twice as long to make one of these, than it does to whip up, say, a proper Daiquiri.


But is this high-maintenance beauty worth it?

Oh Lordy, yes. As you saw above, it is gorgeous. If “mouthfeel” was not a term already, you’d have to pretty much invent it to talk about the unctuous, rich texture of each sip on your tongue. The flavors last beautifully. You can easily adjust the ratio of ingredients to suit your personal tastes. (Mine runs to the sour side.) For spirits aficionados, the Whiskey Sour has the virtue of both making mediocre bourbon taste great, but still retaining the ability to showcase that much nicer bottle you got from your brother at Christmas.

Disclaimer: The Pegu Blog is not advocating making Whiskey Sours with that bottle of Pappy Van Winkle….

Make the Whiskey Sour a part of your regular rotation. It is worth hauling all those packages.


  1. Joe G.

    28 January

    Opine on pasteurized egg whites from a carton.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Jen

    9 February

    The egg white makes this.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Dagreb

    17 February

    This is a delicious drink! What do you end up doing with the yolks?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. Doug Winship

    18 February

    Joe G.,

    Pasteurized eggs from the carton work very well. I only buy them when I’m going to entertain for a bit, or have other uses, since even the smallest carton will go bad well before its expiration date once you open it.

    As for amounts, I usually use 1 oz = 1 egg white. Others?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. Doug Winship

    18 February


    I either freeze the yolks in an ice tray, or just pitch them, depending on how brutal I was during the extraction process…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

@DAWInship on Instagram
Please Add Widget from here