click to enlarge 9-6-remix.jpg

Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

Our take on the whiskey sour adds a little bit of spice to make everything nice 

The Whiskey Sour

The whiskey sour gets very little respect. Plenty of love, mind you, but not much respect.

I've seen it described as "the comfy T-shirt of cocktails," "the fried egg of cocktails," "the basic bitch of cocktails." So, OK, it's not a complicated drink, but most people like it well enough. I feel bad for the poor thing! So I decided to give it a remix and try to make it more of a bad bitch than a basic one. Unlike Taylor Swift's recent attempt to do the same thing, I think this one worked pretty well.

First I decided that spicy is always more exciting than sour, but I didn't want to go so spicy as to alienate drinkers. (Ahem, Tay-tay ... this may be where you went wrong. Moderation in all things, babe.)

So out came the Ancho Reyes, a beautiful little liqueur that enhances almost any base spirit you add it to – tequila and whiskey, sure, but also rum, vodka, even gin if you're careful. It's got a smoky spiciness, just like the smoked, dried chilis it's infused with.

After a first try with whiskey, I decided to use rye instead – Old Overholt has a spicy heat of its own that works well here. And a bit of preserved ginger plays along with the heat while also adding sweetness – I used Morris Kitchen, a small-batch syrup from Brooklyn, but you could make your own.

So there it is, a whiskey sour with a spicy new reputation, no snakes in sight. Look what you made me do!


2 ounces whiskey

1/2 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

orange wheel

maraschino cherry

Combine whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over ice; garnish with orange slice and cherry.


2 ounces rye whiskey

1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes

1/4 ounce lemon juice

1/4 ounce simple syrup

1/2 teaspoon preserved ginger syrup

lemon peel and Luxardo cherry

Combine all liquids in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass; garnish with lemon peel and cherry.


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