by: Amanda Savage
National Whiskey Sour Day is Sunday, August 25. Not only is it an excellent excuse to drink, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn how to make one of America’s classic cocktails.
Arizona Foothills spoke with Ross Simon — Co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week and future owner of Bitter & Twisted, a cocktail bar set to open in downtown phoenix this fall — about the fundamentals of the perfect Whiskey Sour.
Whiskey Sour Basics
First, it’s important to know that a great whiskey sour, requires two things: correctly portioned ingredients and a quality spirit.
The cocktail is two parts spirit, one part sweet-syrup and one part sour component like lemon or lime — over a lot of ice. Simon explains that the goal is to make the cocktail “not too tart.”
Start with a quality spirit: “whiskey doesn’t have to be expensive, to be good quality,” explains Simon. Makers Mark, Jim Bean and Knob Creek, all made his list of quality spirits that mix well into cocktails.
He notes that the sour component should enhance the spirit.
Shaken, Not Stirred
Many things work as proper substitutes to a shaker, “you don’t need to get fancy, you can use a Mason jar instead of a shaker, getting the portions right is what matters,” says Simon.
If a drink pours too tart, it’s fixed easily by adding more syrup. If it’s too strong, adding water can dull the drink down. Some people choose to add .5 oz of egg white to mellow the citrus tones and create a frothy consistency.
The interchangeable parts in a sour are what make this drink fun. A person can interchange the spirit base — for example substituting one part whiskey for sloe gin — or use a flavored fruit syrup instead of an unflavored one to create an exotic interpretation of the drink. For example, Simon’s Whiskey Passion Fruit Sour uses .75 oz Monin Passion fruit syrup (see recipes on page two).