Winter Whiskey Sours

7 ways to change up the go-to whiskey sour with winter citrus

The Eagle’s Rosemary Sour, photo by Michael Bonin

The Eagle’s Rosemary Sour, photo by Michael Bonin

A well made whiskey sour is a thing of beauty. What was associated with shelf-stable sticky-sweet mixers, this cocktail has finally earned its appreciation, with the standard once again to make it with fresh juice. As the name suggests, a well made whiskey sour has the perfect balance of sweet and sour ingredients as well as a complimentary whiskey profile, and all of the ingredients should be as fresh as possible. Although the sours are typically associated with summertime, the addition of winter citrus and other winter flavors gives this classic cocktail a lovely seasonal spin.

Morning Star

Mattias Hagglund, proprietor The Jasper, Richmond, VA

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake hard. Double strain into rocks glass filled with fresh ice. No garnish.

Cinnamon tincture:

5:1 by weight 151 Everclear infused cinnamon sticks for 24 hours. Shake every few hours if possible.

Green apple syrup:

Mix 1:1 by weight green apple puree (such as the one available from Perfect Puree) with 2:1 white sugar simple syrup.

The Manchester

H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir Saloon, San Francisco

  • 1 ¼ oz. (37.5 ml) ginger liqueur

  • 1 ¼ oz. (37.5 ml) Glenmorangie 10 Year Highland Single Malt Whisky or Compass Box Great King Street

  • ½ oz. (15 ml) clover honey syrup (1:1)

  • ½ oz. (15 ml) fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice

  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 3 inches each and dense with leaves

  • 1 medium egg white (approx. 1oz./30ml)

In the bottom of a mixing glass, add the leaves of a 3 inch sprig of fresh rosemary (discard the stem). With a muddler, bruise the leaves well. Add the remaining ingredients and cover with shaker tin. Dry shake well for 5 seconds, then fill with ice. Reseal and shake well again for at least 10 seconds (depending on type of ice—get it cold) and Hawthorne strain through a secondary fine strainer into a chilled cocktail coup. Place the second sprig of rosemary in the palm of one hand and slap it. Garnish with the rosemary and serve.

The Eagle's Rosemary Sour

Michael Bonin, Bonin’s Couch Cocktails

  • 2 oz. (60 ml) Eagle Rare Bourbon

  • 1 oz.  (30 ml) fresh Meyer Lemon juice

  • 1 oz. (30 ml) fresh juice from a Mandarin orange, Goiden Nugget varietal preferable

  • ¾ (22.5 ml) - 1 (30 ml) oz. Rosemary Infused Simple Syrup (depending on desired sweetness)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass with ice. Garnish with 2 cocktail cherries, Meyer lemon peel and fresh rosemary.


Joey Martin, head bartender, Coppercraft Distillery, MI

  • 2 oz. (60 ml) Coppercraft Straight Bourbon (silver medal winner, 2018 NY International Spirits Competition)

  • ½ oz. (15 ml) white grapefruit juice

  • ¼ oz. (7.5 ml) lemon juice

  • ½ oz. (15 ml) simple syrup

  • 1 egg white

Add all ingredients to a cocktail mixer without ice and shake dry for a few seconds. Add ice shake and shake till very cold. Double strain and serve with a grapefruit garnish.

Cutwater Spirits Devil’s Share Sour

Levi Walker, regional sales manager, Cutwater Spirits

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice into Collins glass.

photo by Manchester Beverage

photo by Manchester Beverage

The Duke of Earl

Brian Mura, Washington State Brand Ambassador, Westland Distillery

  • 2 oz. (60 ml) Westland Peated Malt (double gold, 2018 NYISC)

  • 2 oz. (60 ml) Earl Grey Honey simple syrup (prepare 1:1 honey syrup with brewed Earl Grey tea)

  • ½ oz. (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

  • 2 dashes of Cardamom bitters

  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.

East Indian Sour

  • 1 ½ oz. (45 ml) Balcones True Blue Corn Whisky 100 (gold, 2018 NYISC)

  • 1 oz. (30 ml) lemon juice

  • 1 oz. (30 ml) orange juice

  • .4 oz. (9 ml) Cardamom Syrup (prepare 1:1 simple syrup with a few cardamom pods. Cool and strain out the pods before using.)

Combine all in shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain in rocks glass over large ice cube. Garnish with a candied lime wheel.

For more citrusy cocktail recipes using American spirits, please go here.