The Real Whiskey Sour: Official Drink of Summer


Photo by Brian Samuels Photography, taken at The Big Potluck

Before I met Anthony, I didn’t like bourbon, rye, rum, scotch, or just about any form of brown liquor. It took some coaxing, some time, and some really great cocktails for my palette to change, but these days I’m like “Gin, who?” My go-to cocktail used to be a dirty Martini, and now it’s a Boulevardier. Before last week, though, I still wouldn’t touch anything with the words “sour mix” in the ingredient list. Then I met this drink (and homemade sour mix), and I swooned. Y’all. This is really good. (So good it’s making my Southern girl come out to play!) You should make this drink this weekend. And every weekend. For the whole summer.

The Real Whiskey Sour
This recipe comes from the lovely ladies at This Girl Walks Into A Bar. You should definitely try making your own cherries, but if you can’t wait 24 hours for this drink, just use good quality store-bought maraschino cherries like these, or these (which they sell at my corner market for $5.00).
Serves: 2
  • 1.5 oz. bourbon whiskey
  • 3 oz. homemade sweet & sour mix (see recipe below)
  • 1 or more maraschino cherries (see recipe below)
Homemade Sweet & Sour Mix
  • 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. simple syrup
Maraschino Cherries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1¼ cup Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 pound frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and drained (reserve juice)
  1. Combine the whiskey and sour mix in a cocktail shaker. Add a small handful of ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with as many cherries as your heart desires – dash a little of that good maraschino cherry juice in there, too.
Serious Sweet & Sour Mix
  1. Combine the ingredients and stir. You just made your own sour mix. Makes enough for two drinks, but is easily doubled, tripled, or heck…quintupled.
The Real Deal Maraschino Cherries
  1. Bring sugar, salt, and ½ cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in lemon juice, almond extract, Maraschino liqueur, and reserved cherry juice. Spoon cherries into a jar; pour hot liquid over them; cool and then refrigerate; let stand 24 hours. These cherries can be refrigerated for at least 2 weeks.


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  1. says

    As a gin lover, I understand your lack of appreciation of brown liquor. Sorry I did not set a better example: )
    The good news is that I’ve branched as well, and while I may not give up my gin and tonic, this whiskey sour will definitely be part of my summer repertoire.

  2. says

    I am just like you—-just starting to appreciate the fun of bourbon et al. However, I have always liked ‘sour mix’. Your complete package for this drink is special—–including the cherries. Geez I didn’t have a clue, one could make their own.

  3. says

    P.S. The lovely women at This Girl Walks Into a Bar also recommend you can increase the bourbon to 2 ounces… or even 2 1/4, which is the booze-sour mix ratio I like!

  4. says

    Eric and I say that we don’t discriminate against any booze. We’ll drink it all. Though we do have a special place for whiskey. And gin.

    This was one mighty delicious whiskey sour. I may have had a couple of these at the Potluck.

  5. Diana Cole says

    Wonderful! It’s been a long time since I’ve make whiskey sours and if my memory serves me correctly, they were not nearly as good as these. Thank you!

  6. angelitakarmalita says

    As a true Southern girl, I love, love bourbon… and I love the thought of making my own sour mix and cherries, I can’t wait to try this. thank you!

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