Cocktail Recipe: the ℏ Whiskey Sour

Wild Turkey 101 bourbon Aperol egg white craft cocktail
the ℏ Whiskey Sour
Ingredients
  • 1½ oz Wild Turkey 101 bourbon
  • ¾ oz Meyer lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ¼ oz Aperol
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 dashes Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters
Tools
Glass

Libbey 8054 6 oz Georgian Irish coffee glass (save if you buy a case of 36—great for parties)

Instructions

As with most egg white cocktails, this one requires you to dry shake the ingredients (except for the bitters). Once you have a nice foam, add ice, shake again, and fine strain into your fancy cocktail glass. Wait a few moments for a foamy head to build up then add the bitters. (This has the effect of mostly restricting the effect of the bitters to the nose of the drink. It’s a technique used in many egg white cocktails such as the classic Pisco Sour.)

Tasting Notes

The Whiskey Sour is a classic introduction to the world of cocktails, but why leave well enough alone? While a number of variations call for the use of an egg white, novice drinkers often steer clear because, like, OMG, ew, a raw egg white? (I’m sure there’s a minute risk involved, but let’s be real, the alcohol poses much more of a risk to your health.) So aside from the not-entirely-novel inclusion of an egg white, what makes this version worthwhile?

For starters, those bright red maraschino cherries that so often garnish Whiskey Sours are omitted. (If you’re going to use a cherry as a garnish, use the much darker Luxardo maraschino cherries, homemade brandied cherries, or really anything except the bright red ones you’d find in a bar in the bad old days of drinking—reserve those for baking.)

More substantially, Aperol lends a sweet and bitter orangey complexity to the drink that Cointreau/Grand Marnier/curaçao/triple sec or orange juice wouldn’t provide. The drink’s pretty pale pink hue is largely a result of the combination of egg white and Aperol, and visual appeal is obviously important—otherwise why bother with glassware with ornamental cuts and curves? My favorite part is the interplay between the aroma of the bitters against the taste of cocktail. All you get on the nose is the bright and complex grapefruit bitters, and on the palate you get a creamy, elevated take on the classic whiskey sour with absolutely no eggy flavor or aroma. It’s a bit drier than what one might be used to with a more traditional Whiskey Sour recipe, and using regular lemons instead of Meyer lemons would further reduce the sweetness, so a smidgen more simple syrup might be called for depending on your personal taste. Dry or not, I think this one is very much a crowd pleaser.

I have tried a variation with Rittenhouse 100 rye whiskey, and while it’s more complex than Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, that added rye spice may not be to everyone’s taste. It’s something where I could go either way, but if you’re trying to drag your friends into the world of craft cocktails, stick with a high proof bourbon.

It’s still very much a Whiskey Sour at its core, but it’s different enough to warrant putting that weird little ℏ symbol in front of the name (see the post on what’s in a name if you’re curious about what that means).

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