Scotch Sour Cocktail Recipe

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Scotch Sour Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:28

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Scotch Sour is a classic cocktail that dates back to the early 20th century. It is a variation of the popular Whiskey Sour, which is believed to have originated in the 1860s. The Scotch Sour is a favorite among whiskey enthusiasts who appreciate the unique flavors of Scotch whisky.

  • The Scotch Sour is often associated with Scotland, the birthplace of Scotch whisky.
  • It gained popularity during the Prohibition era in the United States, as Scotch whisky was smuggled into the country.
  • The Scotch Sour is a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed year-round, but it is particularly popular during the colder months.

How Scotch Sour Tastes?

The Scotch Sour has a complex and well-balanced taste, featuring the smoky and peaty flavors of Scotch whisky, the tartness of lemon juice, and the sweetness of simple syrup. It is a sour, slightly sweet, and robust cocktail with a smooth and velvety texture.

Interesting facts about Scotch Sour

  • The Scotch Sour is sometimes served with a dash of egg white, which adds a creamy texture and a frothy top.
  • The cocktail can be customized by using different types of Scotch whisky, such as single malt or blended varieties.
  • The Scotch Sour is often garnished with a lemon twist or a cherry, adding a touch of color and visual appeal.


Scotch whisky

  • It's the soul of the drink; 2 oz is the sweet spot. Any less, and it's lemonade; any more, and you're on a whisky flight.
  • Flavor Enhancement: Rich, complex and often with a hint of smoke, it sets the foundation.
  • No Scotch, No Scotch Sour: Non-negotiable. But if you swap it for bourbon, you've got a different classic—a Whisky Sour.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

  • Sharp and bright, 0.75 oz adds zest without turning the affair into a lemon convention.
  • Flavor Enhancement: It’s the sour to your whisky, the yin to its yang.
  • Without the Juice: You'd miss the tangy high notes. Lime could sub in for a pinch of tropical flair.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

  • Just 0.5 oz—because we're adulting here, not making syrup with a hint of whisky.
  • Flavor Enhancement: It's the peacemaker between the strong whisky and tart lemon.
  • Too Little or None: You throw the balance off and face the whisky's wrath alone. Too much? Welcome to Sweetville.

Emma Rose

Angostura Bitters

  • Two dashes are like a dash of pixie dust—it's subtle but magical.
  • Flavor Enhancement: It adds depth and a whiff of herbs and spices.
  • No Bitters, No Problem? You lose complexity, like watching a movie in black and white.

Mary Mitkina

Egg White

  • Optional but recommended for texture enthusiasts. It's like choosing between a high-five and a hug from your drink.
  • Flavor Enhancement: None really—it’s all about smooth, foamy elegance.
  • Without Egg White: No frothy head, no silky mouthfeel, but still delicious—kind of like opting for a handshake.

Alex Green


  • As needed, because no one wants a lukewarm sour—yikes.
  • Function: Chills the drink, melds the flavors, sets the vibe.
  • No Ice: Think of a tepid bath...exactly.

Emma Rose


  • Lemon twist or cherry, because every star needs a supporting act.
  • Flavor Enhancement: Perfumes the nose, teases the palate, adds a cherry on top—or a twist.
  • No Garnish: Not a disaster, but you know, life is in the details.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Scotch Sour Drink

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the Scotch whisky, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters.
  2. If using egg white, add it to the shaker as well.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist or cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor. Bottled juice can't compare.
  • If you're using the egg white, make sure to shake the cocktail vigorously to get a nice froth.
  • Experiment with different types of Scotch whisky to find your preferred flavor profile.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese boards: Aromatic cheeses like blue cheese or aged cheddar match the whisky's richness.
  • Smoked Salmon: Its oily texture and smoky flavor plays well with the Scotch.
  • Roast Beef Sliders: The meaty savoriness echoes the depth of the whisky.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Pork Chops: The char on the meat complements the whisky's smoky notes.
  • Roast Chicken: A classic dish that goes well with the citrus and smooth whisky flavors.
  • Vegetarian Dishes: Spiced lentil stews or roasted root vegetables can stand up to the bold flavors.


  • Lemon Tart: Echoes the citrus in the drink.
  • Dark Chocolate: Contrasts and balances the Scotch's bite.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: Simple and creamy to soften the cocktail's edges.

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What you could change in Scotch Sour

  • Bourbon can be used instead of Scotch whisky for a different flavor profile.
  • If you don't have simple syrup, you can make your own by dissolving sugar in equal parts hot water.
  • Orange bitters can be used in place of Angostura bitters for a citrusy twist.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

The Smokey Sour

  • Ingredients: Swap out the Scotch for a peated whisky.
  • Recipe: Same process, but with a smoky spirit.
  • Flavor Change: It's like your Scotch Sour just sat by a campfire telling ghost stories—mysterious and peaty.

The Orchard Sour

  • Ingredients: Add 0.5 oz of apple brandy to the mix.
  • Recipe: Add the apple brandy with the other ingredients and shake well.
  • Flavor Change: It's fall in a glass, with the apple adding a fruity twist to the woody Scotch—like wearing a flannel shirt to a fine dining dinner.

The Berry Sour

  • Ingredients: Muddle a handful of fresh berries before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • Recipe: Muddle the berries, then add the other components and shake fiercely.
  • Flavor Change: The berries bring a summer picnic vibe, turning the classic sour on its head—it's less 'old fashioned' and more 'modern love'.

In case you forgot basics how to make Scotch Sour

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Scotch Sour

What is the difference between Scotch whisky and regular whisky?

Scotch whisky, often simply called Scotch, is malt whisky or grain whisky made in Scotland. All Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years. On the other hand, whisky refers to a broad category of spirits that can be made anywhere in the world and aged for any length of time.

Can Scotch Sour cocktails be batched for a party?

Yes, Scotch Sour cocktails can be batched. Simply multiply the recipe by the number of servings you need. However, it's best to omit the ice until you're ready to serve, to prevent dilution.

Are there any other variations of the Scotch Sour?

Yes, there are many variations of the Scotch Sour which can include other bitters, different garnishes, or different types of citrus juice. One popular variation includes a splash of red wine for a New York Sour.

What does 'shaking vigorously' do to the cocktail?

Shaking a cocktail vigorously helps to properly mix the ingredients, chill the drink and generally results in a better incorporation of the ingredients. For cocktails with egg whites, it also helps to create the desired frothy texture.

Does the type of ice matter in a cocktail?

Yes, the type of ice can affect both the temperature and dilution rate of a cocktail. Larger cubes or spheres of ice will melt more slowly, keeping your drink colder for longer without excessive dilution.

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