August 25th

National Whiskey Sour Day -

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Mark your calendars and get ready to raise a glass, because August 25th brings us the celebration of a beloved classic: National Whiskey Sour Day. This special occasion is dedicated to one of the cocktail world’s most time-honored and cherished drinks—the whiskey sour. With its perfect blend of smooth whiskey, the zesty punch of lemon juice, a hint of sweetness, and the occasional silky texture from an egg white, it’s no wonder this drink has captured the hearts of many.

On this day, we come together—not just as whiskey enthusiasts but as a community—to acknowledge the simple elegance of a drink that epitomizes classic cocktail artistry. From high-end bars serving up meticulously crafted renditions to the comfort of our own homes where we shake up our personalized concoctions, National Whiskey Sour Day is our collective moment to enjoy and appreciate a truly iconic libation.

History of National Whiskey Sour Day

The Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail with a history that stretches back over a century and a half. Though the exact origins of the drink are not definitively traced, it is widely accepted that the cocktail was first conceived in the 19th century.

The basic premise of the Whiskey Sour is a combination of whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar, creating a balance of sweetness and acidity that enhances the spirit’s flavors. The cocktail’s roots can be loosely tied to the practice of sailors preserving their rations of spirits, such as rum and whiskey, with citrus juice—particularly lemon or lime juice—to help prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C. The added sugar made these preventative concoctions more palatable.

In written record, the first mention of the Whiskey Sour is found in the 1862 bartending guide “The Bartender’s Guide” by Jerry Thomas, also known as “the father of American mixology.” Though this does not mark its inception, it attests to its popularity by the time. His version included sugar, water, lemon juice, and whiskey, shaken with ice.

The Whiskey Sour was part of a family of sours that became popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, alongside other members such as the Gin Sour and the Brandy Sour. The drink’s widespread appeal can also be attributed to the ease of creating it and the ubiquity of its core ingredients.

In modern times, variations of the Whiskey Sour have emerged with the resurgence of craft cocktails and interest in mixology. Bartenders have experimented with new ingredients and techniques, such as adding egg whites to create a frothy texture, a variation known as the Boston Sour. Other twists include the use of bourbon or rye whiskey and embellishments with bitters or a red wine float, known as a New York Sour.

National Whiskey Sour Day Timeline

Origins of Sour Cocktails

The concept of sour cocktails emerged around this time, as British naval officers began mixing spirits with lime juice to help prevent scurvy among sailors.

Publication of 'The Bartender’s Guide'

Jerry Thomas published 'The Bartender’s Guide,' which included a recipe for a 'Whiskey Sour,' formally documenting the cocktail.

Global Spread

The Whiskey Sour began to appear in bars and saloons across the United States and elsewhere during this period, as its popularity grew.

Mid-Century Revival

Cocktails, including the Whiskey Sour, experienced a resurgence in American pop culture, often associated with the 'Mad Men' era of the 1960s.

Craft Cocktail Movement

The craft cocktail movement revived traditional cocktails, including the Whiskey Sour, emphasizing fresh ingredients and artisanal spirits.

Continued Popularity

Whiskey Sours remain a staple in modern cocktail culture, enjoyed for their balance of sweetness, tartness, and whiskey warmth.

Ideas to Celebrate National Whiskey Sour Day

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Host a Whiskey Sour Workshop

Gather your friends and family for an interactive whiskey sour-making workshop. Provide an array of whiskeys, fresh lemons, sugar, and optional garnishes like cherries and orange slices. Show everyone how to make a classic whiskey sour, then encourage them to get creative by experimenting with different flavors and techniques.

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Whiskey Sour Tasting Event

Organize a whiskey sour tasting event at your home or at a local bar. Invite guests to sample different variations of whiskey sour, such as ones made with rye, bourbon, or even Scotch. Compare the taste profiles of each and vote on your favorite version of the cocktail.

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Whiskey Sour Pairing Dinner

Create a special dinner menu where each course is paired with a different whiskey sour variation. Curate a blend of flavors that complement each dish, such as a spiced whiskey sour with appetizers and a smooth, aged whiskey sour with the main course. Finish with a sweet, dessert-inspired whiskey sour.

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Historical Whiskey Sour Journey

Turn National Whiskey Sour Day into an educational event by presenting the history of the whiskey sour. Offer a short presentation or a pamphlet that guides guests through the origins of the drink, its evolution, and its current popularity. Pair this with a tasting of historically accurate versions of the cocktail.

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Whiskey Sour Cocktail Contest

Challenge your guests to invent their own twist on the whiskey sour. Have a panel of judges or all participants vote on the most creative, the best tasting, and the best presentation. Offer a fun prize to the winners, such as a cocktail recipe book or a bottle of premium whiskey.

7 Interesting Facts About Whiskey Sour


A Cocktail with Historical Roots

The Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail with a history dating back to the 1700s. It was created by sailors as a way to prevent scurvy during long sea voyages. The use of lemon or lime juice in the drink provided the necessary vitamin C, while whiskey acted as a preservation agent for the juice.


The Basic Formula

A traditional Whiskey Sour is made from a simple combination of ingredients: whiskey (often bourbon), fresh lemon juice, and sugar. This balance of whiskey with the acidity of lemon and the sweetness of sugar creates a smooth and refreshing cocktail.


A Frothy Addition: Egg Whites

Some variations of Whiskey Sour include egg whites, which are shaken vigorously with the other ingredients. This addition creates a rich, frothy texture and is often referred to as a 'Boston Sour'. Egg whites also help to mellow the acidity and enhance the overall mouthfeel.


The Sour Family of Cocktails

The Whiskey Sour is part of a larger family of 'Sour' cocktails. This family includes other favorites like the Pisco Sour and the Amaretto Sour. The key characteristic of sour cocktails is the combination of a base spirit with citrus juice and a sweetener.


A Signature Garnish

While the ingredients are simple, presentation is also key. A classic Whiskey Sour is typically garnished with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry, which not only adds to its visual appeal but also complements the flavors inside the glass.


Variant with Wine: The New York Sour

One popular twist on the classic Whiskey Sour is the New York Sour, which features the addition of a float of dry red wine on top. This not only adds a depth of flavor and complexity but also creates a striking two-toned appearance.


Pop Culture Presence

The Whiskey Sour has made its mark in popular culture as well. It has been featured in films, television shows, and literature over decades as a symbol of sophistication and classic taste.

National Whiskey Sour Day FAQs

Next National Whiskey Sour Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 August 25th Friday
2024 August 25th Sunday
2025 August 25th Monday
2026 August 25th Tuesday
2027 August 25th Wednesday
What is the pattern? Every August 25th

National Whiskey Sour Day Word Search

  • Whiskey
  • Sour
  • Cocktail
  • Lemon
  • Bartender
  • Mixer