I missed National Whiskey Sour Day last month, but that won’t stop me from sharing the yummiest recipe with you. In true Home with a Twist fashion, I always like to share the history of things I write about. The Alcohol Professor details at length the history of the Whiskey Sour here. He says:
“The recipe itself was first written down in the 1862 book The Bartender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas. However, the basic recipe was known over a century prior. In those days, travel seemed to take forever, and up to the 20th century, refrigeration was lacking and the concept of germs was largely unknown. Long journeys over land weren’t terrible. You could stop off and resupply as needed or just go hunting and foraging. Sea travel, especially from Europe to North America, was not nearly as simple. Food and water will spoil over a multi-month trip, and water wasn’t exactly considered safe.
Professional sailors suffered from scurvy and other malnutrition and sea-sicknesses, up until a bartender’s hero named Vice Admiral Edward Vernon of England began mixing a few ingredients together to serve to his crew. Sailors had a ration of various things, like limes and lemons to prevent scurvy, and liquor for something safe to drink. To prevent a ship full of intoxicated shipmates, the liquor, usually rum once it was discovered, was watered down and lemon or lime juice was added to mask the flavor of the rum. Hence, we have a very early version of the Sour.
The sailors then brought this concept to shore and eventually the basics of the sour cocktail were refined to what we know it as. Gin and Brandy were also substituted in by the English, but the Americans were more fond of the native (and generally easier to obtain) whiskey. Jerry Thomas ultimately refined and published this imbibement, codifying the sour into black and white.”
My favorite recipe is from my friend Laurence Plotkin, Inn Keeper extraordinaire of The Trellis House in Ogunquit, Maine – my absolute favorite place in the world! I texted Laurence for the recipe and right quickly he replied back.
The Trellis House Whiskey Sour
2 ounces whiskey
1/2 shot* or 1 TBL of fresh lemon juice
1/2 shot or 1 TBL fresh lime juice
1 shot pure maple syrup (use real maple syrup. I love Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla pure maple syrup).
Splash of Club Soda
*Note: 1 shot is equal to 2 TBL
Place ice cubes and ingredients into a shaker. Shake gently for about 20 seconds until frothy and well chilled. Pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a cherry and a dehydrated orange peel for extra flair.