Pitcher Cocktails: The (Mixed Citrus) Whisky Sour

With a special super secret sour mix recipe

Whisky Sour Batch Recipe | A Practical Wedding

We all have those drinks that were ruined for us when we first started drinking, and anything-sour is on that list for me. My first years of drinking in bars were in the East Village in New York in the late ’90s, back before New York did anything as bourgeois as, you know, actually card underage drinkers. The standard drinks of those days were Cosmos, Long Island Iced Teas, White Russians, and Whisky Sours. All of those drinks were pretty recklessly gross, but the drinks made with cheap sour mix and well whiskey fell into a particular category of disgusting to my tastebuds. In the years since, as I’ve worked to teach myself more adult drinking, I’ve steered cleared of anything sour.

So imagine my surprise when our production intern Dana presented us with this Whisky Sour recipe that includes not a drop of sour mix. In fact, it’s mostly good bourbon and fresh citrus. This is not what we were drinking in 2001, people, and it’s delicious. It’s also perfect to make for big batch cocktails for your wedding. It’s a classic everyone knows, and you can reinvent it in a way that will blow them away with how damn tasty it is. As discussed in our How To post on big batch wedding cocktails, we’ve provided you with both the recipe for the single drink, the ratio, and a recipe for a hundred cocktails.

And! If you haven’t read our How To post on pitcher cocktails, start there, and return for tasty boozin’.

Whisky Sour Batch Recipe | A Practical Wedding

Here is Dana’s Whisky Sour recipe for making new memories with an old drink:


2 oz whiskey
1 oz sour mix (see below)
.5 oz simple syrup

Whisky Sour Ratio

4 parts whisky, 2 parts sour mix, 1 part simple syrup


200 oz whiskey
100 oz sour mix
50 oz simple syrup

You may need to do some math at the store when you are buying your booze. Unfortunately, some spirits are sold in ounces, others in liters, others in quarts, pints, or gallons. I highly encourage using this smartphone app or this one, or this website for your conversions.

Whisky Sour Batch Recipe | A Practical Wedding


This mix is actually just citrus juice. The secret is out! So, just mix together the juice of any citrus you want. I like a ratio of 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part orange juice, and 1 part lime juice. So, your recipe for a hundred drinks is as follows:

50 oz lemon juice
25 oz orange juice
25 oz lime juice

Grapefruit is also good in there, as is blood orange juice. I’d also recommend making a little extra, so you have enough to adjust for taste. If you’re really into juicing, you can juice these yourself; I like to use Trader Joe’s or Odwalla juice because I’m lazy. Just remember, if your juice has added sugar, taste your batch before adding simple syrup. That’s it! And it really beats the sour mix sold in the mixers aisle at the liquor store.


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  • Seriously, these drink recipes are awesome. I cringe a little when I think of the sickeningly sweet whiskey or amaretto sours that I actually managed to drink down in my early twenties, but know they can be good. And I’m kind of thinking I may need to make one of these when I get home from work…

    • Meg Keene

      Mmmm post work cocktails :)

      • The annoying thing is that I get off at 3, which is good for me but no one else is ready for happy hour…

        • Sarah E

          Psh, It’s always five o’clock somewhere. Drink in public, everyone else will be jealous enough to quit early ;-)

          • You’re funny. I just meant I’d love to drink WITH someone. Before 5 never stopped me before. Bloody Mary’s, hello! Although I have started drinking Virgin Mary’s on brunch mornings otherwise, I’m useless the rest of the day.

        • LPH

          You’re in a safe place, Sara. I think it’s totally acceptable, as I get home early from work too. We can virtually early-happy hour together.

          I’m dreaming of these with some Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. It’s surprisingly delightful!!

        • Gretchen

          I don’t think it even counts as day drinking if you already went to work…

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Amaretto sours got me through the better part of Sophomore year of college. I can’t even look at a bottle of Disaronno anymore. Now I’m kind of curious if it can be resurrected for adulthood.

      • It can. But NOT with Disarrono. The good amaretto is Lazzaroni Amaretto. And of course with a delightful sour mix like Meg’s below. In fact, a Lazzaroni Amaretto Sour made with blood orange sounds amazing! I usually drink amaretto with orange spice tea, but… I may have to try THIS when I get home…

      • MC

        This isn’t technically a sour but it is one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had and is insanely easy and sour-ish: http://mixthatdrink.com/amaretto-rose/

        • ok, pinned! Now I have to decide what to drink when I get home…

  • also, freaking adorable polka dot shirt… where was this acquired???

    • Meg Keene

      Marshals. Or Ross. I’m FANCY.

      • Nice! When I lived down there I shopped at the Alameda Marshals all the time. Now, I don’t even know where the closest one is.

  • Laura C

    I need about a pitcher of these for myself right now.

    • Apparently I’m mixing up cocktails at about 3:45… come on over. ;)

      • Laura C

        As long as you don’t mind someone talking angrily about her future brother-in-law’s need for therapy and then becoming a sad drunk…

        • Aww, I would help get you out of your funk. That or the drinks would.

      • It’s my (slightly early) birthday party this weekend, so this post came at the PERFECT time!

        • Yay! Happy birthday!!

  • Lena and Aggy

    I fortunately was a “Vodka Shirley Temple” drinker in college, so sours have not been ruined for me (huzzah!). Grenadine, however, is on my “things that make me shudder” list.

  • Rachel

    Mmmmm… mouth watering for a delicious-looking whiskey sour… mmmmm (insert Homer Simpson mouth watering sounds). It happens to be my favorite drink because it is SO good when done right, but also as Meg discussed, so terrible when done wrong.

  • Nora

    I love a well-made whiskey sour! I also started out with the crappy, overly-sweet ones in college, but my cocktail repertoire underwent a fresh-citrus-revolution when I moved to the Bay Area after graduating (thank God).

    My favorite twists are either A) substituting blood orange juice for regular OJ to make it beautifully rosy or B) making the simple syrup with lots of fresh ginger and then straining before mixing. The ginger gives it a slightly spicy edge that nicely counter-balances the sweet and plays well with the sour in my opinion. But you certainly can’t lose with the straight-up, either – it’s so delicious!

    • Ooooh ginger simple syrup.
      How long does simple syrup last once you’ve made it? I kind of want to make a bunch of different ones and keep them in my fridge.

      • Sarah

        I’ve had simple syrup last for like six months in the fridge before. You can tell its bad if it becomes cloudy (think whitish), or if it just straight up grows mold. As long as its clear, and it smells good, it’s good!

        • Okay perfect. I also want to make a lavender simple syrup for caipirinhas.

          • Sarah

            Wow, that sounds awesome. I know what I’m doing next weekend. We also recently acquired lavender rosemary bitters which go great in a gin and tonic, but we’re trying to find other things for it…

          • I use bitters in just soda. It’s a perfect digestive.

          • Lavender simple syrup is the best!

          • What do you use your lavender simpler syrup for, Rachel?

          • Well, I just used it to make lavender lemonade (recipe forthcoming) and last year I actually made lavender honey which is AMAZING in coffee! (You could use the simple syrup in coffee too.) And lavender ice cream was basically life changing. http://therewm.com/2013/07/10/lavender-ice-cream-lavender-syrup-recipes/

          • Yum! Back when I lived in the bay area, there was a little cafe called Julie Coffee. She grew her own lavender to use in lavender lemonade. It was amazing!

    • scw

      another good twist, especially if you love a margarita, is to make your ‘sour mix’ with a higher proportion of lime juice and then add grand marnier in place of (or in addition to, if you like a sweeter drink) the simple syrup. whiskey-rita!

    • For a non-batch, post-work version, I highly recommend the addition of egg white to whiskey sours. I know it sounds gross, but you won’t even know it’s egg white when you drink it and it adds an amazing mouth-feel to the drink. Nothing quite like it!

      • Meg Keene

        Egg white shouldn’t sound gross, because it’s great. I’m always a little nervous about doing it at home though, with eggs I assume are not perfectly fresh.

        • KC

          I’d be curious as to the alcohol-as-antibiotic-agent and acid-as-antibiotic-agent vs. salmonella, and how long one would have to let the drink stand under what conditions to kill all bacteria present if it were present, etc.

          But not curious enough to do the experiments myself. :-)

          That said, there are in-shell zapped eggs you can buy and also, even more widely, pasteurized egg whites in little milk cartons, and either of those should be fine, I think? (although do check that the milk carton egg whites are *actually* egg whites, not “egg substitute food product”, since I would assume the latter would behave differently)

          Oh! And meringue powder/dried-egg-white, too. That might work well for mass-production…

          • Alyssa M

            If you’re willing to put in the extra work, I’ve definitely pasteurized egg whites in a double boiler for making meringue before.

    • Meg Keene

      GINGER. It’s still slightly sweet for me, so I should try that.

  • Katelyn

    Since I’m not into whiskey, but this just easily made the short list for our wedding due the number of whiskey drinking attendees, I need to know: is there a particular type or brand of whiskey that’s recommended for this? Maybe brands to avoid, or rather “how far down the shelf can I go before I’m a horrible person”?

    • Perhaps a bartender could answer this better, but Evan Williams has always been a solid bourbon for a low price. Even my whiskey connoisseur husband says this is drinkable.

    • Cathi

      I’m not a whiskey drinker either, but as a bartender, I can tell you that people will happily drink the Jim Beam or Evan Williams for Bourbons, and Seagrams 7 or Canadian Club for Canadian whiskeys.

    • Fixed! Thank you!

  • Megan Shelby

    Sure beats the whiskey sour recipe I learned in the Berkeley co-ops, which went thusly:
    Take one handle Evan Williams and one 2 liter of country time or similar. Drink half of country time. Pour back and forth.

    • ART

      ah! reminiscent of the recipe I learned there for brass monkeys, with a 40 and a bottle of orange juice. grrrr-rah!

  • Alyssa M

    I guess living in a large city makes the difference, but you were such classy young drinkers compared to what we were drinking… Lol, a bad whiskey sour is leagues above the bottle of Smirnoff mixed with whatever the vending machines had to offer… or even better, every body sharing a handle of coconut rum straight from the bottle. *GAG* all coconut products are still ruined for me.

    • Laura

      That sounds more like college to me than nasty whisky sours. *small town*

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