Szechuan Sour Cocktail Recipe

Jump to Recipe ⬇️

Szechuan Sour Nutrition Facts






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 Szechuan Sour is a modern twist on the classic whiskey sour, incorporating the bold flavors of Szechuan peppercorns and Chinese five-spice. This unique cocktail was created by adventurous bartenders who wanted to bring the flavors of Asia to the world of mixology. It is perfect for those who enjoy spicy, complex flavors and appreciate the art of craft cocktails.

  • Origin: Modern mixology
  • Creator: Adventurous bartenders
  • Ideal for: Spicy flavor enthusiasts, whiskey sour lovers, and craft cocktail aficionados

How Szechuan Sour Tastes?

The Szechuan Sour is a harmonious blend of spicy, sour, sweet, and aromatic flavors. The Szechuan peppercorns provide a tingling, numbing sensation, while the Chinese five-spice adds depth and warmth. The lemon juice and simple syrup balance the spice with a refreshing tartness and sweetness.

Interesting facts about Szechuan Sour

  • Szechuan peppercorns are not actually related to black or white peppercorns, but are instead part of the citrus family.
  • Chinese five-spice is a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds.
  • The whiskey sour is one of the oldest cocktails, dating back to the 18th century.


  • Whiskey: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Lemon juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Simple syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Szechuan peppercorns: 0.5tsp
  • Chinese five spice: 0.25tsp
  • Egg white: 1
  • Angostura bitters: 2 dashes
  • Ice: 1 cup


Mary Mitkina

Whiskey: 2oz

Whiskey's robust character serves as the backbone of our Szechuan Sour, providing warmth and depth. Too much could overpower, too little and the drink loses its kick. No whiskey? Bourbon could be your next best friend here, offering a sweeter, smoother ride.

Alex Green

Lemon juice: 1oz

Citrus is the soul of any sour; it brings balance, tartness, and that indispensable zing. More and your face might pucker too much, less and the whiskey might start to bully the other flavors. In a pinch, lime juice could play understudy, though expect a more tropical tone.

Emma Rose

Simple syrup: 0.5oz

Our mediator, simple syrup, adds sweetness that harmonizes the tart and spicy notes. Overdo it, and you're attending a syrupy soiree. Skip out, and your taste buds might feel like they've walked into a tart trap. Honey syrup could be an alternative, introducing a floral note.

Mary Mitkina

Szechuan peppercorns: 0.5tsp

The star of the show: Szechuan peppercorns bring a tingling sensation and a unique earthy spice. Too many could turn the cocktail into a spice rack runaway. Too few, and you're missing the show. Black peppercorns could sub in, but the buzz won't be the same.

Alex Green

Chinese five-spice: 0.25tsp

This blend whispers of the exotic, adding complexity with its warm, aromatic essence. A heavy hand and the drink might feel like it's cloaked in mystery (and not in a good way). Without it, the cocktail loses a layer of its intricate charm. A pinch of cinnamon could offer a simpler, warmer twist.

Emma Rose

Egg white: 1

Silky texture and a frothy top, the egg white is our cocktail's couturier, tailoring a smooth sipping experience. Leave it out for a lighter texture, but you'll miss the foamy grand entrance. A vegan? Aquafaba could step in for the same luxurious feel.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura bitters: 2 dashes

These are the final flourish, the aromatic touch that accentuates deeper complexities. Forget them, and the drink may appear one-dimensional. No Angostura? Orange bitters could bring a different kind of citrus spark.

Alex Green

Ice: 1 cup

The unsung hero. Ice chills and dilutes, softening the intensity so each sip is crisp and refreshing. Neglecting the right amount of ice could result in a warm and overly potent drink, while too much might mute the cocktail's voice.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Szechuan Sour Drink

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the Szechuan peppercorns.
  2. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, Chinese five-spice, and egg white to the shaker.
  3. Perform a dry shake (without ice) for about 10 seconds to emulsify the egg white.
  4. Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds.
  5. Double strain the cocktail into a chilled rocks glass filled with ice.
  6. Garnish with a few drops of Angostura bitters and a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • To enhance the Szechuan peppercorn flavor, lightly toast them in a dry pan before muddling.
  • For a frothier texture, shake the cocktail for an additional 10 seconds after adding ice.
  • Use a fine mesh strainer when double straining to ensure a smooth, velvety texture.

Perfect Pairings


  • Dim Sum: This cocktail's peppery and citrus notes complement the variety of flavors in dim sum.
  • Salt and Pepper Calamari: The zesty lemon and spices will enhance the seafood's crispiness.

Main Courses

  • Peking Duck: The rich flavors of the duck will be balanced by the sour profile of the cocktail.
  • Kung Pao Chicken: Szechuan Sour's spices will team up nicely with the heat from the Kung Pao sauce.


  • Mango Pudding: A fruity dessert to balance the complexity of Szechuan Sour.
  • Sesame Balls: The cocktail will cut through the sweet and chewy texture, adding a new layer of enjoyment.

🍹 Discover the Top 50 All-Time Recipes! 🍹

Enter your email, and we'll send the exclusive list straight to your inbox.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

What you could change in Szechuan Sour

  • Whiskey: Bourbon or rye can be used interchangeably.
  • Simple syrup: Honey or agave syrup can be used for a different sweetness profile.
  • Egg white: Aquafaba (chickpea liquid) can be used for a vegan alternative.

Explore all drinks starting with S here

And of course - twists🍹

Sichuan Margarita

  • Substitute whiskey with tequila
  • Lime juice instead of lemon juice
  • Rim glass with spicy salt A zesty take on a classic, introducing agave warmth and a salted edge that will dance with the Szechuan spice.

Lapsang Sour

  • Replace whiskey with Lapsang Souchong-infused gin
  • Add a sprig of rosemary This smoky twist will add depth and aromatic intrigue, like a mysterious figure in a foggy forest.

Vegan Szechuan

  • Replace the egg white with aquafaba
  • Garnish with star anise instead of lemon twist This animal-friendly version retains the smooth texture and adds an extra layer of spiced complexity with the star anise.

In case you forgot basics how to make Szechuan 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

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

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

Find the cocktail you'd love!

If you want to drink something else - you can use our AI-augmented search to find the best cocktail for you!
Completely free!

Frequently Asked Questions on Szechuan Sour

What is the best type of whiskey to use in this cocktail?

A good quality bourbon or rye whiskey would work perfectly in Szechuan Sour, though you are free to experiment with your personal favorite.

What is the unique taste of Szechuan peppercorns?

Szechuan peppercorns have a unique, slightly citrusy flavor with a hint of woodiness. They also create a tingling sensation on the tongue due to the presence of hydroxy alpha sanshool.

Why does the Szechuan Sour have a frothy texture?

The frothy texture of the Szechuan Sour comes from the egg white. During the shake, the protein in the egg white captures air and creates foam which leads to the frothiness.

Can this cocktail be served without ice?

Yes, it can be served without ice, but ice helps to balance out the strong flavors and keep the cocktail cold. It's generally recommended to use ice.

Is it safe to consume raw egg white in cocktails?

While consuming raw egg white does carry a small risk of salmonella, general opinion holds that risk to be very low, especially with fresh eggs from a reliable source. If you're still concerned, use pasteurized egg whites instead.

More similar recipes to Szechuan Sour!

Explore new cocktails you'd love!

Please rate this recipe