History of the Whisky Sour

History and Origins of the Whisky Sour

1920's prohibition front bar with people drinking
1920's prohibition



Exploring the Rich Heritage: 


The Whisky Sour, a classic cocktail revered for its perfect balance of sweet, sour, and the rich warmth of whisky, has a storied history that echoes through the centuries. As one of the foundational cocktails in the world of mixology, its origins are intertwined with the evolution of spirits and the art of crafting fine drinks. Join us on a journey back in time as we unravel the history and origins of the beloved Whisky Sour.

The Early Days:

The roots of the Whisky Sour can be traced back to the maritime practices of the 18th century. Sailors, in their quest to prevent scurvy, mixed citrus juice with spirits to create a drink both refreshing and fortifying. This early combination laid the groundwork for what would later become known as the sour cocktail family.

Transition to the American Frontier:

As the cocktail culture evolved, the Whisky Sour found its way to the American frontier during the 19th century. The United States, undergoing a whiskey boom, provided the perfect backdrop for the cocktail's ascent. In an era marked by creativity and experimentation, bartenders began refining the basic combination of whisky, citrus, and sugar, giving rise to a more sophisticated and palatable version of the drink.



Maritime practices of the 18th Century  ship with mariners
Maritime practices of the 18th Century 



Frontier Elegance in a Glass: The Evolution of Whisky Sour through 19th Century America's Whisky Boom.



bartender preparing a whisky sour
Bartenders began experiencing with variations to the whisky sour



Jerry Thomas and the Golden Age of Cocktails:

The mid-19th century witnessed the emergence of the first celebrity bartender, Jerry Thomas, whose influential book "How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant's Companion" included a recipe for the Whisky Sour. Thomas's contribution played a pivotal role in cementing the cocktail's popularity during the Golden Age of Cocktails. Bartenders across the nation embraced his recipes, and the Whisky Sour became a staple in cocktail establishments from coast to coast.

Prohibition and the Whisky Sour's Resilience:

With the advent of Prohibition in the early 20th century, the Whisky Sour faced a challenging period. However, its enduring appeal persevered through clandestine speakeasies and underground bars. The simplicity of its ingredients and the pleasing combination of flavours made the Whisky Sour a go-to drink for those seeking a taste of normalcy during a tumultuous time.

Modern Revival and Variations:

The latter half of the 20th century saw a resurgence of interest in classic cocktails, leading to a revival of the Whisky Sour. Bartenders and mixologists began experimenting with variations, introducing new twists to the traditional recipe. Some opted for different types of whisky, while others infused unique flavors or used specialised bitters to enhance the cocktail's complexity.


Today, the Whisky Sour stands as a testament to the enduring allure of classic cocktails. Its journey from the high seas to the American frontier, surviving Prohibition and evolving through the hands of master mixologists, showcases the adaptability and timeless appeal of this iconic drink. Whether enjoyed in a dimly lit speakeasy or a modern cocktail bar, the Whisky Sour continues to captivate palates and connect us to a rich history of craftsmanship and innovation in the world of spirits. Cheers to the timeless beauty of the Whisky Sour!

Sip Through Time: Whisky Sour's Enduring Elegance, a Toast to Craftsmanship and Innovation.


 'An Instroduction to Whisky Sour'

 'Basic Ingredients of the Whisky Sour'

 'Best Whiskies for a Whisky Sour'

 'Mastering the Art of a Whisky Sour'