Since its debut more than a century ago in the 1800s, the Whiskey Sour has undergone numerous changes and possibly given rise to dozens of variations. However, one thing has remained constant through the years: A shaker of Whiskey Sour is only as good as the whiskey you mix it with. Though you can make a Whiskey Sour with both Bourbon and rye whiskey, don’t mistake it as a one-to-one substitution. Your choice of whiskey actually plays a crucial role in the flavor of the final drink.
This difference in taste is due to the distinct mash bills, which are the combinations of grains that are eventually fermented into alcohol, used in these two types of whiskey. Rye whiskey, as the name suggests, is made from a mash bill that has at least 51% rye, which gives the whiskey a very heady, intense flavor packed with spice. This is perfect if you enjoy your Whiskey Sour cocktail hard and dry.
On the other hand, if you prefer a smoother and more mellow taste, then Bourbon is the way to go. Bourbon’s mash bill consists of at least 51% corn, which gives it a totally different flavor profile. The corn contributes to a sweeter and fuller-bodied flavor in the final drink. Depending on the brand, you may even detect common tasting notes of vanilla, caramel, honey, nuts, and oak from the cask — all of which you’d be able to savor more easily with less spice in the liquor.
Read more: 13 Liquors Your Home Bar Should Have
If you’re aspiring to enhance your Whiskey Sour with additional sweetness and a gentler flavor profile, consider a few options rather than relying solely on bourbon. First off, altering the sweetening elements can make a noticeable difference. Typically, a conventional Whiskey Sour employs simple syrup for sweetness. By slightly increasing the quantity of syrup from the usual ½ ounce, you can augment the sweetness. Be cautious, however, to not go overboard, as excess syrup can render the cocktail overly sweet.
For those who don’t have any qualms deviating from the classic recipe, there’s another shortcut. Certain bartenders have introduced orange juice for adding a blend of sweetness and tartness to this cocktail. This trick comes in particularly handy when bourbon isn’t available and you are resorting to rye whiskey, helping scale-down the whiskey’s spice profile by adding a citric hint.
And if you’re attempting the frothy Whiskey Sour recipe with egg white, think about employing the “reverse dry shake” method. Start by stirring the ingredients with ice for cooling. Post that, strain the mix, discard the ice, pour back the cocktail into the shaker, and shake it again without adding ice for around 15 to 20 seconds. This extra shake contributes towards enhancing the frothiness of the egg white, leading to a smoother texture that feels easier on the palate.
For more insights, do visit the original article on Tasting Table.