Tim 27 Aug 20079:04 am
Robert, you mention that you ‘could’ add the entire egg white into the drink, but choose to just add a tsp… does that mean some recipes have called for an entire egg white?
Also…any recipes that use the yolk sack?
Great episode…never knew about the egg white in sours before.
pedro 27 Aug 20076:11 pm
why did you decide to skip Angostura bitters?
Boavida 28 Aug 20077:34 am
Just a few days ago I tried to do a Whiskey Sour for some friends (without the egg white), with some sucess (I need to replenish my bourbon). I will certainly try with the egg white.
You mention other Sour’s, like the Daiquiri and the Marguerita, could we also use the egg white on those? Or would it change too much the drink? (my Marguerita’s were not a sucess :-( )
john 29 Aug 20071:35 am
Why is the simple syrup brown?
Robert Hess 29 Aug 20077:28 am
In a sour, it is typical (or used to be) to just use a teaspoon or so of egg white, although the “Pisco Sour” uses the entire white. The result is a much more pronounced foam on top, and a silkier texture. You can use a full egg white in a sour, which will, like in the Pisco Sour, add more foam and texture.
As for using the yolk as well… the drink style that uses that the most would be the “Fizz” (1 tablespoon sugar, 1 oz lemon juice, 2 oz spirit, shake, strain into collins glass, and top with charged water). When you use egg, it becomes a “golden fizz” (if just the yolk) or “royal fizz” (if the whole egg), or “silver fizz” (just egg whtie).
Robert Hess 29 Aug 20077:30 am
The “Whiskey Sour” doesn’t typically use bitters, the Pisco Sour, which is a somewhat similar drink, does use a dash or two of bitters to the foam which forms on top.
Robert Hess 29 Aug 20077:32 am
You could certainly add a little eggwhite to any of the “sour” style drinks. Before just hapazardly trying it however, I might suggest looking up some of the other drinks which use eggwhite as an ingredient and see what it does for those drinks, understand it’s culinary value, and then see which other drinks might be able to use it similarly.
Robert Hess 29 Aug 20077:34 am
My simple syrup is brown because I made it with Demerara sugar, I feel that it adds just a little bit of extra character to the syrup… or at least that’s the excuse I use :->
Thomas Ufer 29 Aug 200710:30 pm
This video brought me back to when my Grandfather was still alive. I remember he would make Whiskey Sours for my Grandmother and Manhattans for one of my Aunts. I remember him always calling drinks “highballs”, no matter what the drink was.
I think I’ll make a Whiskey Sour this weekend and reminisce about the old days with GrandPa.
Paulius Nasvytis 5 Oct 20074:20 am
One of the top five cocktails ever, in my opinion. Mr Hess, what is your syrup ratio of sugar to water?
Robert Hess 8 Oct 20074:54 pm
For my simple syrup, I use 2 cups sugar to 1 cup water, which is often referred to as a “rich” simple syrup.
perry willis 12 Oct 20074:50 pm
We just made one with and without the egg white. What a difference! Mouthfeel was something I usually reserve talking about when discussing wine,but this cocktail with the egg white has great mouthfeel. Creamy. I really like your pisco sour glasses. I make the occasional pisco sour and would like to get these glasses or something similar. Might I inquire as to their source? Thank you for this series.
Robert Hess 12 Oct 20075:35 pm
People have tended to forget about mouthfeel with their cocktails for some reason. Used to be that simple syrup was refered to as “gum syrup”, which meant it was made with gum arabic, which also adds a certain level of mouth feel as well.
As for the Pisco Sour glasses… Those were given to me by a Peruvian friend of mine. Not sure where/how he got them.
Mark 15 Oct 200710:03 pm
I’ve noticed that the ingredient ratio differs here (the video) from DrinkBoy.com’s recipe section, and each of these in turn differs from the IBA ingredient ratio. This is difficult for me to mesh with your insistence that measuring even for skilled bartenders is important. Please help.
Also, could you say a word on using simple syrup rather than gomme syrup?
Much appreciated. I love the show. Keep up the good work.
Robert Hess 16 Oct 20077:38 am
I see that somebody has been doing their research! Great! Keep it up!
The issue here is that there is no “one” perfect recipe for any cocktail, if there were, then you could simply make an automated cocktail dispenser which would potentially put bartenders out of business.
The importance of measuring isn’t to make sure that your drink follows “my” recipe (of the moment), but that the drink you make accurately follows YOUR recipe. It is also important when trying a new recipe for the first time to make sure that the drink you prepare matches what the recipe was intended to communicate. Once you do that, you can then taste the “real” drink, and determine if you think it is too sour, too sweet, too weak, or too robust, and adjust as necessary. For example, try a Sidecar using the “original” measures of equal parts brandy, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Me, I find that WAY too tart. I adjusted this and came up with what I feel is “my” perfect recipe… 4 parts brandy, 2 parts Cointreau, 1 part lemon juice. However that is not the recipe you’ll find somebody like Dale DeGroff, Gary Regan, Dave Wondrich, or Ted Haigh using… each of them uses a slightly different recipe, which “they” feel is the perfect recipe for their tastes. And there in lies the beauty of the cocktail. The “participation” aspect that each of us plays in it.
As for gomme syrup, also known as “gum syrup”, because it is made just like simple syrup, but with the addition of gum arabic. To use the “gomme” name, it would probably be more appropriate to call it “sirop de gomme”, which is French for “gum syrup”. The gum arabic adds an extra mouth feel to the syrup (as well as a slight tan coloring). In something like the Whiskey Sour, it sort of plays the same roll as the egg white does, although in addition to mouthfeel, the eggwhite will also produce a fine foam on the top of the drink, which gum syrup won’t.
Matt 1 Nov 20074:24 pm
Wow. I made this the other day and I really liked it. I usually don’t drink whiskey, but I happened to have a little bit of Maker’s Mark on hand and tried it. I really like it. I made one today with the egg white (last time I didn’t); AWESOME. What a great drink. Thank you very much Robert.
Robert Hess 1 Nov 20075:21 pm
The Whiskey Sour is one of those “bygone” drinks which people tend to pass over a lot for drinks that they think are a little “trendier”.
Sometimes a simple drink like this is just the ticket… as long as the bartender is familiar enough with it to get the balance right.
Glad you liked it!
Alex 15 Nov 20076:50 am
What about using dried powdered eggwhite, or even maringe powder, to make it a bit easier for oneself? It is real eggwhite after all, unlike those foaming agents you mentioned.
Also, your sweet-to-sour ratio seems a bit different to most recipes I’ve seen for sours. I’m only a beginner to mixology, but 1 oz of “rich” simple syrup to 3/4 oz of lemon juice seems quite sweet to me. To be honest I’m also partial to sweet-tasting sour mix, but even so, I’ve come to think that a “sour” should naturally live up to it’s name and be kind of sour, and it’s simply an acquired taste that I’ll have to work on acquiring :)
Anyway, this guide is great! I’ll be using it to make Scotch Sours later today (I know from past experience that Scotch and lemon combine very nicely to my tastes). Thanks!
Robert Hess 16 Nov 200711:51 am
For me, the best eggwhites to use are honest to goodness, fresh out of the egg product. They are better than even the liquid pasturized eggwhites in a noticeable way, in fact they are even better than whites from a pasturized “whole egg” that are now on the market. Using a powdered eggwhite is just simplifying a step at the cost of quality…. or that’s my opinion any way.
One of the things I like about cocktails, is that there is no single “recipe” which is etched in stone. It’s all about individual participation in the process, and making the adjustments that the craftsman thing is appropriate for the particular product being used, the environment it is being served in, and even the particular taste-profile preferences of the craftsman. Folks often say that I tend toward slightly “sweeter” recipes… although I personally don’t see myself as having a sweet tooth.
If you prefer your sours to be more sour, then by all means make adjustments to the recipes presented here as appropriate.
One of my touchstones about the proper “balance” in a recipe, is that if as I am taking the final sips of the drink I find myself wanting to order a second of the same, then it’s just right. Often a drink might start off tasting just right, but the sweet or sourness of it builds as you work through the drink, and by the end you find that you’re ready for something else. This is a situation where the drink isn’t quite properly balanced.
clare 17 Nov 20079:55 am
Does anyone have an issue with eating/drinking raw eggs? There is so much info about “bacteria” and “food poisoning” form raw eggs. Or does the alchol kill off the bacteria?
Robert Hess 17 Nov 20075:11 pm
Yes, some folks have issues with the use of raw eggs, just as some folks have issues with Sushi and Steak Tartar.
People with immune system problems should avoid raw eggs, but for the most part, I haven’t found that there is really much of a problem. Alcohol and citric acid (from lemon juice) both go a long way in destorying the harmful bacterias.
Adam 16 Dec 200711:58 pm
I was wondering if you could help me with the answer to this question. Here in the UK it’s pretty much standard practice to make all our sours to the same recipe of 2oz spirit, 1oz lemon juice, 1oz sugar syrup, 1 egg white and a couple of dashes of bitters. However, I’ve noticed that most of the recipes in cocktail and mixology literature omit the use of egg white and bitters with some even calling for the use of ‘sweet and sour’ mix! Is this an evolution of the sour cocktail or is this how they were originally made?
Robert Hess 17 Dec 20077:37 am
Egg white is something that periodically shows up in older recipes for a “sour”, it wasn’t one of the original ingredients, but came in a little later. I should look through my old books to see if I can spot when it first appeared. Usually it wasn’t a whole egg white, but just a spoonful or so which would provide just a little bit of texture and consistency, along with a slight carpet of foam across the top. I wonder if this came about as an alternative to using “gum arabic” syrup?
As for bitters, you’ll never find me object to having a bit of bitters in my drink! But this is even less common than adding eggwhite. The Pisco Sour of course demands a dash or two of bitters on the eggwhite foam. I wonder if the UK bartenders are taking the Pisco Sour and using it as the basis for their sours? A proper Pisco Sour (according to my Peruvian friends) is a 3-1-1 ratio.
As for “sweet and sour mix”... just say no! As you note, “all” of your sours use an equal amount of lemon juice and sugar syrup. At one time somebody thought they could speed up their drinks by simply mix up a larger amount of “mix” that was equal parts of fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. Which I think can work well as long as it is freshly made each shift, if not more often. Problems with this however come in two forms. One is when this mix is used as a “hammer” and applied to drinks which wouldn’t normally use the specific “recipe” behind the mix in the drink recipe. The other is when commercialism rears it’s ugly head and mass produces this mix off-site using chemicals, preservatives, and stableizers, resulting in a ugly mess.
While many bartenders I know, love, and respect make fresh sour mix (aka. sweet & sour mix) for some of their drinks, and do a good job of it, I personally avoid ever listing “sour mix” as an ingredient in a recipe. My feeling is that when a knowledgeable bartender sees a recipe which calls for “xxx of lemon juice, xxx of simple syrup”, they can do the math and determine if they want to use their home-made sour mix for that, and a budding home mixologist will just use the lemon juice and simple syrup separately and make a great cocktail. While if the recipe calls for “sour mix”, the experienced bartender will still use their home-made mix (but may be concerned if “their” sour mix is of similar “balance” to the one used in the recipe), but the budding home mixologist will be confused, but then see a bottled “sour mix” at the grocery store and think this is the right thing to use, and end up making a very sad drink. Which is why I specifically removed all references to “sour mix” in the new edition of “Mr. Bostons”.
In my mind, using sour mix in a cocktail is like using instant rice to make paella. :->
John 7 Mar 20089:46 am
I tried this the other day and really enjoyed it. It is, truly, a classic. I also used a quality bourbon in mine. However, I was thinking that a good quality bourbon, such as Maker’s Mark, may be a little too nice for mixing with lemon juice and suger. I used Ridgemont 1792 and actually felt a little guilty about it. Do you think a less expensive bourbon would spoil the drink?
Robert Hess 7 Mar 20089:51 am
John, I don’t think you should ever feel guilty about the quality of the spirit you use in a cocktail. You should never feel like you “have” to use an ultra-premium, or a bargain-basement brand however. Use what you like, and periodically try different brands to see how that changes the taste.
Just as a chef will use quality ingredients to make a stew, a mixologist should always choose ingredients of appropriate quality when they make cocktails.
blair frodelius 4 Apr 20083:40 pm
How about using Irish Whiskey, American Rye, Canadian Blended or be really adventurous and try a Highland Scotch? Seems like they are all whiskies.
Robert Hess 5 Apr 20088:32 pm
A “sour” is essentially just a style of cocktail, so you can use any spirit to make one. A “Rum Sour” is essentially just a Daiquiri. And while a whiskey sour is traditionally made with American whiskey, since the whisk(e)y category is so… er… complicated, making it with irish, or other forms of whiskey would technically still be a whiskey sour. The REAL issue however, is of course what it tastes like, how the different whiskies might require slightly different measures, and most important, which you prefer.
Lester 29 Apr 20085:23 pm
Hi Robert great stuff. I am revamping are bar which holds up 300 people. We are only using fresh fruit, I am concerned my bartenders won’t be able to keep up with making the whiskey sour and pisco sour from scratch. Do you have any suggestions? Do you think we could make up batches ahead of time?
Robert Hess 30 Apr 20086:53 am
Lester, while there are certain drinks which have complex enough preparation that might require some batch processing of them, I don’t really think I’d consider either the Whiskey Sour or Pisco Sour to fit this category. The secret is going to be proper mis en place, or making sure that the necessary ingredients are readily set up at your fingertips so you can quickly construct the drink. The lemon juice (or lime juice in the case of the Pisco Sour) can be pre-squeezed, but not too far in advance.
And always be sure to use fresh eggs!
Ian 20 Jul 200811:03 pm
Mmmm. Just made one for the first time. It’s very different from other drinks I’ve tried—perhaps because it is sweet and silky and decadent.
On thinking about the recipe—whiskey, sugar and lemon—it is a bit like a chilled version of a hot toddy. As such, maybe an interesting twist would be to use honey as the sweetener instead of simple syrup? Honey is very traditional in a toddy.
Also on the subject of sugar, I realized with alarm that 1 oz of simple syrup contains 1 oz of sugar (and I just confirmed it with an impromptu bit of kitchen chemistry). That’s a lot of sugar and a lot of calories! 100 kilocalories, no less. This is not a drink to make a habit of!
I suppose luxuries have to be taken in moderation… :-)
Alex Staherski 18 Mar 20091:47 pm
Hi Robert, I was just making a Whiskey Sour, which happened to draw me back to reference this video. A couple things:
1. I am so appreciative that you are doing this podcast. I have gone from knowing next to nothing about cocktails to being what my friends all consider a massive cocktail geek. I owe that mainly to you and your infectious passion for them.
2. I was using that exact french shaker you were using in the podcast, but I can never get the thing apart! You may have addressed this before, but do you have any tricks for it? I always end up having to bang it on the counter, which is far less dignified than I like my cocktail making to be.
3. I have been looking for a cooking podcast that is up to the same sort of standard you have established here and have yet to find one. Any recommendations? Thanks a lot!
Robert Hess 18 Mar 20092:24 pm
Alex, Glad you’ve been enjoying the show!
On separating the Parisian shakers, my preference is to grab top firmly in one hand, bottom firmly with the other, and “twist” them apart. I’ve noticed that some brands come apart better than others. I usually use the WMF version, which usually works pretty well. If they have gotten hoplessly stuck together, then lower the bottom half into a pan of hot water, which will cause it to expand, and release.
Lawrence Spies 21 Aug 200911:03 am
Just made one with egg! First time to try it, I won’t go back to a non egg version, what a difference!! Great drink Robert!
Ian sometimes I use BarenJager Honey Liqueur in place of sweetener. Great stuff!! Honey and Bourbon go great together…adjust to taste/balance
charlie 28 Sep 20098:47 am
Hi Robert -
I notice you haven’t used a garnish on this drink. Like many bartenders, back in the 80s I was trained to use a slice of orange and a “maraschino” (*ahem*) cherry in my sours. Do you have a favorite garnish for this, or do you prefer to go without? Personally, I think the proper garnish can make or break a cocktail.
Robert Hess 28 Sep 20099:00 am
I agree, garnishes are a nice touch to many drinks, I should be a little more dilligent about adding a focus to the garnishing process here.
For a whiskey sour, I’ll typically just use a cherry as a very simple garnish. Since the drink has lemon juice in it, a lemon twist is a good way to complete that story, but whiskey and orange go so good together that an orange twist, or half of an orange wheel wouldn’t be bad either.
To go a little overboard with the garnish, I could even see doing BOTH a lemon twist and an orange twist, wrapped sort of cage-like on a pick around a bing cherry.
charlie 28 Sep 20091:01 pm
Oh, man. I’m not nearly coordinated enough to do that!
I like the orange half-wheel as well. I’m trying to talk my boss into getting us some better cherries.
Thanks for the quick response. I love this site and recommend it to people all the time. Take care.
Clint 21 Nov 20096:35 am
I really enjoyed watching this. The Whisky sour was the first cocktail I ever made myself after having had one at a bar the night before. Personally I like a ration of 5 to 4 to 3 whiskey to lemon juice to syrup.
Oh, and by the way, you know what was the best part of the whole video? After you had added te ice to the shaker and started shaking again. I just love that noise. At that moment I could almost taste a whisky sour on my tongue ;)
Keep up the good work and greetings from Germany.
Guido Di Fraia 2 Dec 200910:41 am
i’m amazed with your site!!! please keep up the good work.
i had a question, why do you shake like that… i mean i’m a bartender here in argentina and i was taught and teach that you have to shake doing 2 eights(8) united, that is very easy and this also shakes and mixes the cocktail alltogheter…
obviusly this is just a comment and a simple appreciation…
thank you very much, i’ll keep watching!!!
Robert Hess 2 Dec 200910:45 am
Shaking technique is one of thos things that everybody seems to form their own style of. While I’ve heard various bartenders claim this, that, or the other style is “the best” way to get a proper chill, I frankly have a hard time thinking that there is more then just a modicum of difference. As long as you shake firmly, and long enough, with good ice, you are 98% of the way there. Adding a particular “Pattern” or such to your shaking process might take it a little further, but I think that is more about presentation, then about actual end results… of course, I could be wrong :->
kim bye 9 Jun 201012:12 am
Gone out of fashion?
Don`t know when this video was made, but where i work whiskey sour is among the most requested drinks. An all time classic.
Robert Hess 9 Jun 201012:51 pm
Kim, Thats great to hear! What part of the country, and what bar do you work at?
kim bye 9 Jun 20101:17 pm
Hi Robert. i`m not an American. I Live i Norway. I work in a small bar ( called Champoo)in Oslo (the capitol) in a part of the city called grunerlokka. It`s the area to go to in Oslo if you wan`t good food and a nice cocktail.
Lots of small bars, we even have a Tiki bar called aku aku with a decorating theme from Thor Heyerdahls Kon-Tiki expeditions ( check wikipedia)
Cocktails are very popular in Oslo. It`s mostly the classics or variations of them that`s popular. The No. 1 drink request is the Mojito. I make mine with 3 year old havana club, 3 barspoons demerera sugar, juice of a lime and a generous amount of fresh mint leaves. We serve it in a big collins glass and with crushed ice.
Cheers from Oslo
blair frodelius 9 Jun 20102:31 pm
It’s posts like yours that make me glad to be a part of the bartending experience! It is amazing how our cocktail culture has transcended boundaries and nationalities.
kim bye 9 Jun 20104:16 pm
Thank you sir. I guess cooking and bartending is among those few professions that can take you around the world and despite not talking the same language, the philosophy and techniques are the same, so there is imidiate understanding.
BenjaminD 17 Mar 20115:49 pm
Hi Robert. Thank you for maintaining such an informative and enjoyable site! I made a whiskey sour for the first time tonight and was quite pleased with the result. My only concern has to do with the egg white… Although the flavor was excellent, I noticed a bit of an unpleasant odor. The eggs I’m using are pretty fresh (or at least the expiration date on the carton would have me believe this). Is it possible that I used too much? Is a slight odor typical?
Robert Hess 17 Mar 20116:00 pm
Benjamin, might the odor be described as a “wet dog” smell? This is one of the problems with egg white drinks, and is quickly solved by a dash of bitters. Either in the drink itself, or on the top of the drink as the foam forms.
David R. 19 Nov 20116:16 pm
Every time I dry shake the ingredients to emulsify the egg, they start to splash out of my shaker (Boston). I thought perhaps I had not made a tight enough seal at first, but no matter how many times I do it, the same thing happens. Do you know why this is? I decided to include the ice in the shake and I did not encounter this problem.
Robert Hess 21 Nov 20118:08 am
David, for dry shaking you need to make sure you have tight sealing shakers, but even then, you will most likely have some problems. I “believe’ this is happening due to the protiens expanding in the acid? Ice prevents this because as liquids chill, they contract in volume, thus reversing this action for the most part.
blair frodelius 21 Nov 20111:00 pm
David, you might try a different Boston shaker. I have several, and each has it’s own quicks and merits. Perhaps yours, doesn’t work as well with dry shakes.
I’ve found that when using ice in a two part shaker, it creates a vacuum seal relatively quickly due to lowering the air temperature inside. Even more so, when both parts are metal. I avoid three part shakers at all costs, especially with egg based cocktails.
David Williams 20 Jan 20124:00 pm
I really like that lemon press that Robert uses in the video. Does anyone know where I could order one?
8stringfan 7 Feb 201210:14 pm
I’ve really been digging these videos. One thing I’ve noticed is that juice presser you’ve got. That thing is sweet! Looked at Amazon and couldn’t find one. Do you have any info on it?
Robert Hess 7 Feb 201210:45 pm
Alex, the juicer I am using in this (and several other) episode, is an “Ebaloy” juicer. Which unfortunately is an antique, and therefore not something you’ll find on Amazon or other sites that sell “currently available” products. I got this one from eBay.
8stringfan 8 Feb 20121:57 pm
Robert, thanks for the response. I figured it was some sort of antique. I did check eBay last night but couldn’t find one, however, now that I have name for the juicer, it might make it easier to track down in the future.
Andreas 3 Sep 20125:47 am
I was in Berlin last week and visit the bar: Lebensstern. What an excellent bar and what a collection of rum, rye, gin and whisk(e)y. The bar manager created a whiskey sour, but with no egg white. Instead he ‘garnished’ the drink with port. It was late in the evening (or very early in the morning) and I can’t remember the story behind the cocktail. Robert, have you ever heard about this cocktail?
Robert Hess 5 Sep 201210:09 am
The Bar Lebensstern is indeede a great little find, in addition to serving great cocktails, it is also wonderful to peruse their display cases scattered in the various rooms.As for a “whiskey sour” topped with port… I can’t recall having heard of it being made that way before.
Manny Delgado 26 Feb 20138:02 pm
Hi my name is Hector M Delgado my nick name is Manny and I lived in America all my life, now I moved to the Philippines in island call Boracay and I’m starting a Bar Business.
I’m not a bartender but I know how to mix the basic drinks, I played bartender in event like weddings and big parties and big event
The Bar well is front beach where there is lots of entertainment.
The Bar will start small like 10 to 15 tables
What kind of tips can you give to someone like me?
Ernie Slubik 27 Jan 20142:01 pm
I have gotten in to the habit of using Meyer Lemons. This variant is so well received that when the Meyer Lemons are not in season I simply make another cocktail until the Meyers are once more around.
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