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How to Make the Perfect Whisky Sour

While this blog mostly looks at our family’s wine and travel experiences, sometimes you want something cheap, easy, and highly alcoholic. Hence, the Whisky Sour.

The first written record of the whiskey sour was in the 1862 book The Bartender's Guide by Jerry Thomas. There are many different variations on the classic whiskey sour, but today I’ll be teaching you what I believe is the correct step-by-step process for how to make the perfect whisky sour.

Step 1: Your Ingredients


Any whiskey sour requires two main ingredients: your mix or “sour”, and your whisky. There are two main versions of mix - powder and liquid. The powder mix is cheaper, and this is definitely one of those times where you get what you pay for. The powder mix is dry - obviously - and doesn’t have the sweetness of the liquid whisky sour mix. The liquid sour mix is tasty and is more easily measurable. We’ll come back to this in a minute. The liquid mixes I prefer are Mr. and Mrs. T’s and Master of Mixes. Either is fine; I buy whatever is on sale. But seriously, whatever is cheaper is what you should be using. The quality of the whisky sour does not come from the mix, but rather the precise ratio of mix to whisky.


The second, and most important, component to a whisky sour is the whisky itself. Some people will buy an expensive whisky under the false impression that this will result in a superior whisky sour. This is not necessary. Once you start putting mixers with alcohol, you want to buy the cheapest possible version, as the taste of the alcohol will be diluted. I’m partial to Canadian Mist (sponsorship pending 😊), but whatever is on sale at your local liquor store will work just fine.

How to Make Perfect Whisky Sour
NY Giants glasses not required.


Your mastery objective is to make the perfect whisky sour. Many whisky sour mixes will advocate a ratio of four parts mix to one-part whisky. I don’t recommend that. Firstly, they do this to have people purchase more and more of their mixes. Secondly, and more importantly, this results in an extremely weak drink.

Rather, I, as the self-proclaimed whisky sour expert, prefer a balanced approach to making the perfect whisky sour. This has two benefits. First, it results in a higher alcohol content in your drink - which is always a good thing. Secondly, (Jessie made me post this) it will help keep your calories in check. Whisky sour mix has more calories in it than pure whisky.

You should ideally be looking to pour a one-to-one ratio of whisky to whisky sour mix. However, to answer the question: “How to Make the Perfect Whisky Sour?” there is a specific formula and quantity you should aspire to.

15 Steps to Make the Perfect Whisky Sour

  1. Get a whisky glass. Or any short and wide glass.

  2. Fill the glass ¾ of the way with ice cubes. Cubed, not crushed. Never crushed; that will water down your drink too quickly.

  3. Then get a shot glass, a standard one ounce shot glass.

  4. Pour one shot of whisky into the shot glass and subsequently pour the contents into the whisky sour glass.

  5. Repeat step four.

  6. Now, here is the hidden secret. Truly, how to make the ideal whisky sour. What I’m about to share with you has been perfected over years and years of practice. And, I’m giving this secret away for free. However, if you wish to donate you can email me at to discuss opportunities 😁. You need to add the extra splash. Take your bottle of whisky and pour, for about one second, directly into the whisky sour glass. This is the hidden secret which many people fail to realize.

  7. Use the same shot glass you used to measure your whisky - no need to dirty up another shot glass which then you’ll need to hand wash - and pour a shot of whisky sour mix.

  8. Pour shot into glass.

  9. Repeat steps seven and eight.

  10. Then, add the extra splash! For one second, in the same way you did with the whisky, you need to pour the whisky sour mix directly into the glass.

  11. So, for you non-math majors - I taught math for two years and now tutor it extensively, so I know what I’m talking about - your ratio is 2.5 shots of whisky and 2.5 shots of whisky sour mix.

  12. Stir drink extensively.

  13. Now, my friends, you have the perfect whisky sour!

  14. Drink and enjoy!

  15. Repeat steps 1-14 at least one time. Twice if you want a crazy night!

how to make perfect whisky sour
There you have it: your perfect whisky sour.


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