The simplicity of a whiskey sour makes for an easy cocktail, but the ingredients make selecting the best whiskey for a whiskey sour a tad tricky.
An expensive and complex whiskey can get lost behind the sugar and lemon juice, but choose the right whiskey and the cocktail is a minimalist’s dream. A great whiskey sour is made with rye, but bourbon, Irish, or Canadian whiskey will all do the trick, however; the zip of a rye always boosts a cocktail with an added layer of flavor. Avoid the pre-made sour mix and pick your favorite variation recipe and add these whiskies.
For a simple recipe shake two ounces of whiskey, an ounce of fresh lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar and ice.
Charcoal filtered like any Tennessee whiskey, this rye has a mash bill of 95 percent rye. George Dickel Rye Whisky’s chocolaty, mellow, and smooth finish makes it perfect for cocktails like the whiskey sour, Old Fashioneds, and Manhattans.
This ridiculously cheap rye whiskey is rich and smooth with a touch of fruit, making a fantastic base for a whiskey sour. Old Overholt is a classic, a national brand by 1900, and at 40 percent ABV will keep the cocktail subtle and sweet.
For more than 200 years Jim Beam has been the classic bourbon, so the distillery is doing something right. Still crafted by Jim Beam’s great-grandson, the bourbon is cheap and good with caramel and light char notes, perfect for the inclusion in a classic cocktail.
This light whiskey keeps the whiskey sour light. Bushmills is mellow and warm with vanilla and honey notes through the nose and palate. It’s a hot finish, which is a nice change for a whiskey sour.
With honey, almond and pepper notes, Canadian Club offers another light option for a whiskey sour, with a dry, oaky finish. Canadian whiskies are known for their smoothness, a quality many seek in a simple cocktail.
Looking to turn up the whiskey sour a notch? Grab the Wild Turkey Rye 101. Wild Turkey 101 is nearly synonymous with Wild Turkey bourbon, but Wild Turkey Rye 101 will add the same boozy punch while adding the rye complexity George Dickel and Old Overholt contributed.