Whiskey Sour (in Pictures) For Dear Ol’ Mom!

Learn to mix this classic cocktail for a classy individual in your life.

My dear ol’ Mom turned 90 on August 6th. My mom’s been a lifelong mentor and strong inspiration to me. I’ve had the very fortunate pleasure more than a few times over the years she was an active doctor to catch a glimpse of her treating patients that came to her, usually with very tough diseases. Even as a young kid, I could see how she was always a person first and doctor second by the way she put her patients at ease and treated them as people, not cases. What a privilege to see that kind of real human compassion in action.

Well, Mom’s favorite drink is a whiskey sour, which is actually the first mixed drink I learned how to make. Now, the only hard part about putting this drink together—and it’s really not hard at all—is squeezing the lemons. After that, it’s just mix, stir or shake, and enjoy.

Before getting started, here are some quick tips regarding this drink:

1. Rule of Thumb: For every 1 ounce of lemon juice, add 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 ½ ounces bourbon. What you’re looking for in the end with this drink is a full, slightly sweetened but tart “Wah!” flavor. Just great!

2. About “Whiskey”: The whiskey sour is also called a “bourbon sour”. Bourbon makes the best whiskey sour.

3. About Lemons: For the best possible drink, use fresh lemons that are heavier in weight and slightly soft to the touch when you squeeze them between your thumb in the palm of your hand. Slightly soft and heavier in weight lemons should also be juicier and more flavorful than those that are lighter in weight and rock hard to the touch.

4. About ice: Although this may sound counterintuitive, pack a drink like this with ice to maintain its refreshing coolness and avoid diluting the drink flavor.

Preparation Time: about 5 minutes


(per 4 ounce drink)

2 – 3 Ounces Bourbon Whiskey (depending on how strong you like the drink. Personally, I like the drink about medium strong to enjoy the full blast of flavor from all the ingredients)
1 ½ Ounces Lemon Juice (about 1 lemon)
1 ½ Teaspoons Sugar


Citrus Juicer
Bar Measuring Glass & (optional) Metal Shaker or Measuring Cup
Sharp Knife
Cutting Board
Long Teaspoon
Cocktail Glass

1. Squeeze 1 ½ ounces lemon juice into a measuring glass/cup

2. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

3. Add and stir in 2 ounces of bourbon.

4. Finish by either stirring or shaking the drink.

To stir the drink, fill a glass with ice, top with drink and stir with a spoon.

To shake the drink, add ice and drink to a metal bar shaker, securely slide the measuring glass on top …

… grip both pieces snugly with both hands and shake vigorously up and down for 5-10 seconds. Then …

… lightly tap the shaker and glass against a countertop edge, if needed, to loosen both parts from each other, and serve the drink packed with as much ice as possible.

More from Bruce Tretter: How to Make Fresh Daiquiris

Images courtesy of Bruce Tretter

About Bruce Tretter

Bruce Tretter helps people feel comfortable making practical, flavorful and quick & easy meals for themselves---even if they’ve never boiled water---through Gotta’ Eat, Can’t Cook step-by-step picture book and short video directions. He’s a father of 3, Former Naval Intelligence Officer, current school board member, and avid cyclist.

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