Thinking Spring: Sours for All Seasons

When it’s 70 degrees in March, it’s hard not to imagine yourself on a patio or next to the water, taking back a few drinks to celebrate how warm it is. So when the temperature goes up, you wanna be prepared even if you’re still waiting to pull your April Fools pranks in a few weeks. We think that a Sour—not just the flavor, but the family of drinks—is perfect for any time of year, whether it is actually hot enough to break out your tiki torches, or just one of those days you need to get away from the latest Snowpocalypse.

Sour Lemon Juice Cocktail ShakerSo first, what is a Sour?

Obviously, it involves sourness—typically provider by a lemon or lime. But that’s just the start—the citrus family is much bigger than that. And we think you should branch out to some others—grapefruits, rangpurs, or any of the multitude of different lemons and limes that exist.

But a Sour doesn’t work just on that alone—you need to add a little sweetness to deepen the flavor of the drink. So sugar, simple syrup, or something else help to make the flavor just that much better—even if the citrus is still the star.

And Sours are also one of the most varied families of cocktails—they are made with every liquor, and can be modified to each season. So while we’re going to provide 4 seasonally-customized Whiskey Sours below, you should feel free to swap our the brown liquor for anything else you like.

So now we’ll take you on a time trip—and offer some suggestions for a Whiskey Sour for each season of the year—the same drink, just made for all sorts of weather:

**First of all—for all of these recipes, you’re going to need a cocktail shaker (like this one) to completely blend the citrus juice and spirits. Stirring will not give you the same results here.  

***Secondly—you’ll want a hand juicer (like this one) to make fresh lemon juice. Don’t use the juice in the plastic lemon bottle. It is not the same. 

Summer Whiskey Sour: The Classic

Let’s start with the classic. Since you should probably be out at the beach instead of in a liquor store all day in the summer, we’ll keep this one simple.

  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
  • 2 dashes Angustura Bitters

Add all the ingredients to the shaker, shake hard, and strain over ice. Not too fancy. But damn fine.

Fall Whiskey Sour: New York Sour (here’s ours)

New York Sour Cocktail - Speaking Easy PodcastOnce fall hits, you’re going to need a little more color to match the leaves, or the bruises you have from winning the Turkey Bowl football game at Thanksgiving. So we’ll make some a New York Sour that gives you a two-tone look that’s sure to impress your guests. Except for your uncle, who is still pissed that you caught the game winner.

  • 2 oz. Rye Whiskey
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. simple syrup (1:1)
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters (these have a bit of a cinnamon flavor to match the spicy Rye)
  • ½-1 egg white (for added texture)
  • ½ oz. fruity red wine (e.g. Malbec, Shiraz)

Combine whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, bitters, and egg white in a shaker, shake vigorously. Add ice to shaker, and shake well, again. Stain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Close to the surface of the drink, slowly pour the red wine over the back a bar spoon to disperse the wine over the top of the sour (keeping it from blending with the rest of the drink). Garnish with a lemon peel.

Winter Whiskey Sour: Maple Whiskey Sour

Okay, now you’re thinking we’re crazy—maple syrup with lemon juice? Trust us, this is going to be your favorite drink on a cold night—or a warm night—or just any night you have enough maple syrup to go around.

  • 1.5 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons maple syrup, to taste
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Add ingredients and shake long and hard—maple syrup takes a little longer to break down than simple syrup or sugar.

Spring Whiskey Sour: Whiskey Smash

Sour - Whiskey Smash - Bourbon - CocktailsWhile we all wish that “Whiskey Smash” was our nickname in high school, we rest easy knowing that this drink is best with ridiculously fresh ingredients—growing your own mint is easy, even in an apartment. Adding mint to our Whiskey Sour brings out a freshness in the drink that just can’t be beat.

  • 1/2 Lemon, cut into wedges
  • 4-6 Mint leaves
  • .75 oz Simple syrup
  • 2 oz Bourbon

Muddle the mint leaves into the lemon wedges in the bottom of a cocktail shaker—this releases oils from the mint leaves that are going to smell great. Add the simple syrup and bourbon and shake, strain into an Old Fashioned glass, and please, don’t forget to garnish with a few fresh mint leaves.


All-in-all, Sours are a versatile group of drinks. Playing with the base liquor, the sugars, and the citrus can all make a big difference in your drink. So get experimenting. You’ve only got all year.