My Dirty Secret and the Amaretto Sour

I have a dirty secret to admit. Back before I knew much about cocktails I used sour mix to make whiskey sours. I know, I know, the horror. There’s a part of me that now feels ashamed except so many people get into cocktails through similar “easy” drinks. Thankfully this whiskey sour, made with whiskey and sweet and sour mix, was my “gateway drug” to loving classic cocktails.

What many of us never realized in our early days of learning cocktails, is that sour mix is not needed. The ingredients that constitute a proper “sour” are a spirit, a sour ingredient, and a sweet ingredient (most commonly in the form of simple syrup). We don't need a store bought sour mix filled with chemicals to mimic such simple ingredients.

This blog has covered the whiskey sour but it’s time to learn a variation: the amaretto sour. If you Google “amaretto sour” you’ll most likely find a combination of amaretto, simple syrup, and lemon juice. That is totally sufficient for making an amaretto sour. But if you want to make an amazing amaretto sour, a version that famed bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler says is the best in the world, check out the following recipe.

The History

As far as I know, Morgenthaler invented this version by adding cask-proof bourbon to Simon Difford’s version of an amaretto sour (which included egg white). A combination of two great talents.

The Recipe

  • 1 ½ ounces amaretto
  • ¾ ounce cask-proof bourbon
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
  • ½ ounce egg white, beaten

Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake without ice (dry shake). Then add ice and shake again. Strain ingredients into an old-fashioned glass filled with a large chunk of ice. A lemon peel and cherry are an optional garnish.

The Execution

Here are a few tips to help perfect the cocktail:

  • Morgenthaler prefers Lazzaroni Amaretto (DiSaronno works well too) and Booker’s Bourbon.
  • If you have health concerns with using egg whites in cocktails, read my blog post on the whiskey sour.

If you are still using sour mix stop right now and trade it in for lemons and sugar. Then experiment with this awesome variation of the whiskey sour.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below, email, or hit us up on social media. No question is too basic!