Mixed cocktail

Sour (cocktail)

A sour is a traditional family of mixed drinks. 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 Sours are mixed drinks containing a base liquor (bourbon or some other whiskey in the case of a whiskey sour), lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener (triple sec, simple syrup, grenadine, or pineapple juice are common).

List of sours

Gin sour

The Gin Sour is a traditional mixed cocktail which predates Prohibition.

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

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."

Pisco sour

The Pisco Sour contains pisco brandy (an un-aged grape brandy from the region of Peru and Chile), lemon juice (lime juice in Peru), sugar, egg white, and regional bitters (like Amargo bitters, though Angostura bitters work if regional bitters are unavailable). It is shaken, strained, and served straight in a cocktail glass. The addition of egg white creates a foamier consistency.

Whiskey sour

The Whiskey Sour is a famous mixed drink containing Bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, and optionally a dash of egg white. 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.

White Lady

White Lady (also known as a Delilah, Chelsea Side-car and Lillian Forever) is essentially a Sidecar made with gin in place of brandy. The cocktail sometimes also includes additional ingredients, e.g. egg white, sugar and cream.

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 original used crème de menthe, but replaced it with gin at Harry's New York Bar in Paris in 1929.

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. Joe Gilmore, former Head Barman at The Savoy, says this was one of Laurel & Hardy's favourite drinks (source: "The Savoy: Checking into History" Channel 4 TV UK).

Other sours

  • Brandy Sour or Brandy Daisy (Jerry Thomas, 1887) — brandy, 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.

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.

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