Easter Drinks: Boston Sour


The Boston Sour, which has served as my drink of choice this spring, is one of my favorite cocktails.  Purists might object to our use of the more modern term “Boston Sour” for what is essentially a “Whiskey Sour,” but for the purposes of clarity, by “Boston Sour” we are essentially referring to a Whiskey Sour with egg white.

The origins of the Boston Sour predate the American Revolution, with some sources suggesting that the drink began as a type of rudimentary cure to scurvy.  Others have suggested that some early recipes indicate that the drink was used as a punch.  In any event, about 100 years ago, the egg white was added (thus separating the Boston Sour from the Whiskey Sour), which when shaken creates an appealing foam on the top of the cocktail.

There are many variations to the Boston Sour, but one of the most basic recipes includes:

  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz. simple syrup
  • .25 oz. egg white

I typically make my Boston Sours with Jack Daniels Green Label, but frankly any sweet bourbon will do. Alternatively, a mild rye will serve as an excellent base because the simple syrup provides plenty of sweetness.  If I have a good rye on hand, it is typically my first preference for any cocktail.

A more traditional taste could be achieved by mixing powdered sugar with soda water to create the simple syrup.  Of course, the benefits of the soda water will be rather limited once the carbon is released by the mixing and shaking process.


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