Sour (cocktail)

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A whiskey sour in the hand.jpg
A typical whiskey sour in a non-standard glass.
Type Cocktail family
Alcohol common in this class of cocktail
Notes See the article for specifics.

A sour is a traditional family of mixed drinks; the word itself is often used as a post-positive adjective when in the name of a drink. Common examples of sours are the margarita and the sidecar. Sours belong to one of the old families of original cocktails and are described by Jerry Thomas in his 1862 book How to Mix Drinks.[1] Sours are mixed drinks containing a base liquor, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener (triple sec, simple syrup, grenadine, or pineapple juice are common).[2] Egg whites are also included in some sours.

List of sours

Gin sour

The Gin Sour is a traditional mixed cocktail that predates prohibition. It is a simple combination of gin, lemon juice, and sugar. Adding carbonated water to this turns it into a gin fizz.

In an 1898 book by Finley Dunne, Mr. Dooley includes it in a list of great supposedly American inventions:[1]

I have seen America spread out fr'm th' Atlantic to th' Pacific... An' th' invintions, — th' steam-injine an' th' printin-press an th' cotton gin an' the gin sour an' th' bicycle an' th' flying machine an' th' nickel-in-th'-slot machine an' th' Croker machine an' th' sody fountain an' — crownin' wur-ruk iv our civilization — th' cash raygister.

Popular during the 1940s, Kevin Starr includes it in "an array of drinks (the gin sour, the whiskey sour, the Gin Rickey, the Tom Collins, the Pink lady, the Old Fashioned) that now seem period pieces, evocative of another era."[2]

White Lady

White Lady
IBA Official Cocktail
Type Cocktail
Primary alcohol by volume
Served Straight up; without ice
Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
IBA specified ingredients*
  • 4cl gin
  • 3cl Triple Sec
  • 2cl lemon juice
Preparation Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into large cocktail glass.
Notes This cocktail is a variant of the Sidecar

White Lady (also known as a Delilah, Chelsea Side-car, Kiernander, Janikedvence and Lillian Forever) is essentially a Sidecar made with gin in place of brandy. What makes it different from the simple gin sour is the switching of sugar for triple sec. The cocktail sometimes also includes additional ingredients, e.g. egg white, sugar and cream.

The classic concoction is most commonly served in a Martini cocktail glass. When an egg white is added a champagne saucer is preferable; the silky foam clings more pleasingly to the curved glass.

It is disputed who originally invented this cocktail. There are at least two different opinions. Firstly, that this cocktail was devised by Harry MacElhone in 1919 at Ciro's Club in London. He originally used crème de menthe, but replaced it with gin at Harry's New York Bar in Paris in 1929.[5]

But The Savoy's Harry Craddock also claims the White Lady (gin, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice). The recipe appears in his Savoy Cocktail Book, published in 1930.[6] Joe Gilmore, former Head Barman at The Savoy, says this was one of Laurel and Hardy's favorite drinks.[7]

In John le Carré's 1965 novel The Looking Glass War, British spy and main protagonist Fred Leiser's favorite drink is a White Lady, and he makes several attempts to get the other agents to try the cocktail.

In Dorothy Sayers' mystery-novel Have his Carcase Lord Peter has a White Lady, when he hears about his 'Lady' Miss Harriet Vane being in trouble again. You can see this in the BBC-Series (1987) as part of a series starring Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter and Harriet Walter as Harriet Vane.

Pisco sour

The Pisco Sour contains pisco brandy (a usually un-aged grape brandy from Chile and Peru), lime (more strictly, limón de pica) juice, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters.[8] It is shaken, strained, and served straight in a cocktail glass then garnished with the bitters ( cinnamon can be used ). The addition of egg white creates a foamy head when shaken before serving.[9] While pisco sour is limón de pica-flavoured by default, pisco is combined with other fruit to create mango sour, maracuya (passionfruit) sour, lucuma sour and so forth.[10] Peru has a National Pisco Sour Day (which lasts a weekend) in mid-February,[11] and Chile has Pisco Day in mid-May.[12]

Whiskey sour

The whiskey sour is a famous mixed drink containing Bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and optionally a dash of egg white to make it a Boston Sour. It is shaken and served either straight or over ice. The traditional garnish is half an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

A notable variant of the whiskey sour is the Ward 8, which often is based either in Bourbon or rye whiskey, with both lemon and orange juices, and grenadine syrup as the sweetener. The egg white sometimes employed in other whiskey sours is generally not included in this variation.

Other sours

  • Brandy Sour or Brandy Daisy (Jerry Thomas, 1887)—brandy, clear or orange curaçao, sugar, lemon juice, shaken and strained into a wine glass.
  • Cypriot Brandy SourCyprus brandy, lemon cordial and bitters, stirred in a tall glass, and topped with soda or lemonade.
  • Santa Cruz Sour (Jerry Thomas, 1887)—Santa Cruz rum, sugar, lemon juice, shaken and strained into a wine glass.
  • Midori Sour—Honeydew melon liquor, grenadine, lemon juice. Poured properly, it resembles a green Tequila Sunrise with visible layers.
  • CaipirinhaCachaça, sugar, lime, ice in an Old fashioned glass.

See also


  1. ^ Jacques Barzun, 2001 (reprint), Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War, University of Illinois, ISBN 0-252-07029-1. Originally published by Small, Maynard and Co., 1898. Collected from newspaper columns. Online sources cite 1897 as the year of this particular quotation.
  2. ^ Kevin Starr, 2002, "Embattled Dreams: California in War and Peace, 1940–1950 (Americans and the California Dream)", Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-512437-5, A9 page image
  3. ^ Tom Bullock, 1917, The Ideal Bartender. Project Gutenberg eBook. The directions "½ Lime Juice" and "½ Orange Juice" are as given in the source and presumably refer to the juice of half a lime and half an orange, respectively.


  1. Paul Clarke. Make Yourself Comfortable. September 25, 2005. The Cocktail Chronicles. Retrieved on January 1, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Regan, Gary (2003). The Joy of Mixology, The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft. Clarkson Potter. pp. 158–159. ISBN 0609608843.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Regan, Gary (2003). The Joy of Mixology, The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft. Clarkson Potter. p. 275. ISBN 0609608843.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Regan, Gary (2003). The Joy of Mixology, The Consummate Guide to the Bartender's Craft. Clarkson Potter. pp. 160–162. ISBN 0609608843.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Drink Recipe - White Lady
  6. 101 cocktails that shook the world: #5: The White Lady | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at
  7. The Savoy: Checking into History" Channel 4 TV UK
  8. Goode, JJ. Cocktail of the month. Epicurious. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
  9. Pisco Sour recipe at DrinkBoy

External links