10 Best Whiskeys to Use in a Whiskey Sour
A whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that has been enjoyed for generations. The traditional recipe calls for whiskey, lemon juice, sugar and (sometimes) egg white, but there are many variations on this basic formula. As the heat of summer turns up, many folks look to the trusty whiskey sour for a refreshing, whiskey-forward cocktail.
The most important thing to remember when making a whiskey sour is to use high-quality ingredients. If you want to add a bit of sweetness, you can use simple syrup or honey and add a touch extra. For a frothy topping, you can either shake the egg white separately or use an egg substitute. If you hate the idea of egg in your whiskey, you can skip it altogether, although the consistency will change.
What Whiskey Should I Use in a Whiskey Sour?
When it comes to making a whiskey sour, the type of whiskey you use can significantly impact the final cocktail. Bourbon and rye are the most popular choices for this classic drink, but each type of whiskey will impart its own unique flavor.
Bourbon is known for its sweetness, while rye is slightly more spicy and botanical. If you want to make a truly unique whiskey sour, try using a single malt Scotch whisky. The bold flavors of Scotch can stand up to the citrus in the cocktail, resulting in a well-balanced drink that is both complex and refreshing. No matter what type of whiskey you choose, be sure to use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
The 10 Best Whiskeys for a Whiskey Sour
Bulleit Rye earned the Double Gold and Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a score of 95 points, and Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in 2014. It achieved a Liquid Gold Award and a score of 96 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018. It’s one of the best values you’ll find on the shelf, and a perfect cocktail minded purchase.
This whiskey is made with 95% rye and 5% malted barley, giving it a distinctively spicy flavor that makes it a great choice for a whiskey sour. The high rye content also gives Bulleit Rye a slightly higher proof than most other whiskeys, making it a good option if you want a spicier sour with more noticeable whiskey character.
Find Bulleit Rye Whiskey from ReserveBar from $41.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
This bourbon, which is aged for a minimum of eight years, is the flagship product of America’s oldest continuously operating whiskey distillery. Buffalo Trace Bourbon has a rich flavor with notes of vanilla, oak, and spice. In addition, Buffalo Trace uses their notable Mashbill 1 for this bourbon, which delivers a 45% ABV which is well above the minimum proof for bourbon, making it more robust than other whiskeys.
Buffalo Trace Bourbon can be found at most major retailers for between $25 and $35.
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey is an excellent option for this cocktail. Aged for a minimum of five years, this whiskey has notes of citrus and orange zest that pair perfectly with the sour mix. The Ultimate Spirits Challenge gave this whiskey a score of 92 points, making it one of the best options for a whiskey sour.
The best part about this bourbon is that it retails for as low as $25 and is one of the highest quality whiskeys found for its price range.
Find Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey for $31 on ReserveBar.
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made using a traditional bourbon recipe and is then finished in port wine casks — which are credited for giving the bourbon its award-winning flavor.
The whiskey is aged for up to six years in charred, new white oak barrels and has a unique gold color with reddish amber hues. On the nose, it’s said to have notes of vanilla and nuts. The vanilla flavor continues into the palate, as well as ripe fruit and maple syrup, making it perfect for complementing the sweet and sour notes of the whiskey sour.
Find Angel’s Envy Bourbon Finished in Port Barrels for $58 on ReserveBar.
Scotch whisky is not typically a go-to when it comes to mixed drinks. However, Monkey Shoulder scotch whisky is considered to be an ideal scotch to mix with considering its value, availability and approachable profile.
Created by vatting three different single malt whiskies, Monkey Shoulder has a unique flavor that is ideal for mixing. In addition, Monkey Shoulder scotch whisky has earned numerous accolades, including a Gold Medal at the International Spirits Competition six years in a row and a Gold Medal at the International Wine & Spirits Competition for three consecutive years. Monkey Shoulder refers to the muscular shoulders that Scottish barley malters build over their career from turning barley as it dries and malts on the malting floors in Scotland.
Find Monkey Shoulder for $45 on ReserveBar.
Woodford Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey
This rye whiskey is made from a unique mashbill containing only 53% rye grains. As a result, it has a smooth, complex flavor that is perfect for mixing. In addition, it is affordable without sacrificing quality.
There are many different types of whiskey, all with their own distinct flavor profile. When it comes to making a whiskey sour, the best results will be achieved with a whiskey that has a semi-sweet character. Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Straight Rye Whiskey fits this description perfectly. The whiskey is produced in small batches, using a unique combination of rye, corn and malted barley. This gives the whiskey a smooth and mellow flavor, with just a hint of sweetness.
Find Woodford Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey for $43 on ReserveBar.
Four Roses Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Aged for a minimum of eight years, Four Roses Single Barrel won a Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It has a reputation of being a fruitier whiskey, which will complement the citrus in the cocktail.
Bottled at 50% ABV, this whiskey is not the cheapest on the list, but it will make a high-quality cocktail you will be proud to offer any guest. Great ingredients yield great cocktails, and Four Roses is one of the best we can think of without breaking the bank.
Find Four Roses Single Barrel for $62 on ReserveBar.
Rittenhouse 100 Proof Straight Rye Whisky is a great option that is affordably priced. This rye whisky is aged for a minimum of four years and was named the “Best North American Whisky” by Whisky Magazine.
It has strong, spicy notes on the palate that are balanced by sweeter notes of vanilla and orange zest. This makes it a perfect option for a whiskey sour, as the sweetness will complement the sourness of the lemon juice.
Find Rittenhouse Rye for $27.99 at Total Wine.
Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey
One of the best whiskeys for a whiskey sour is Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey. This whiskey is aged for a minimum of six years, and it has earned a score of 95 points from Wine Enthusiast. It has a lovely balance of vanilla, spicy rye and candied citrus on the palate, and it ends with a touch of dried fruits and rye. Sazerac Rye is lovingly known as “Baby Saz” in the whiskey community as the younger sibling to Buffalo Trace’s epic Sazerac 18yr Rye.
Find Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey for $34 on ReserveBar.
Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey
Knob Creek has a rich, sweet and full-bodied flavor that makes it perfect for mixing. Additionally, the 100 proof ensures that your cocktail will be delicious and refreshing.
This bourbon has a rich, sweet flavor that is well balanced with smokey undertones. Additionally, it is of high quality without being too expensive. Finally, the 9-year age statement ensures that this bourbon has been adequately aged and will make for a delicious whiskey sour with plenty of tannin and complexity.
Find Knob Creek Bourbon Whiskey for $43 on ReserveBar.
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