Apple Sour: A Bourbon Cocktail That's Not Too Sour

Colleen Graham's Apple Sour Cocktail
A simple sour cocktail, mix up the Apple Sour with your favorite bourbon. Photo: S&C Design Studios
    3 min
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Sour drinks are great and apple is a nice fruit flavor for this style of cocktail, yet the majority of the 'Apple Sour' recipes are designed to make you pucker. Quite literally, in fact, because they often feature Sour Apple Pucker. Not so with this recipe. This Apple Sour takes an entirely different approach.

Styled after the classic Whiskey Sour, I developed this Apple Sour recipe to be an enjoyable experience for everyone. Whiskey lovers will enjoy the fruity twist on an old favorite and Apple Martini fans will find it to be a nice change of pace. It also features the real flavor of apple, not some syrupy-sweet, far-too-sour concoction that imitates the fruit.​

The cocktail does not have a strong apple, nor a strong sour. Instead, it is a delicate balance that is quite delicious. It's a drink that you can relax with during happy hour, makes a delightful sipper for a casual weekend at home, and it's a nice complement to almost any meal.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

    1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
    2. Shake well.
    3. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass over ice.
  • More Tips for Making an Apple Sour

  • The Bourbon. I have yet to find a bad bourbon to mix into this Apple Sour. Whiskies like Knob Creek and Wild Turkey 101 can stand up just as well as Evan Williams, Woodford Reserve, or even Jim Beam. Choose your favorite bourbon and give it a try, you really cannot go wrong.

  • The Apple Juice. As with any other juice, it's important to choose a quality juice if you want the best tasting cocktail. During apple season, give this drink a try with fresh pressed apple cider. It adds a depth to the Apple Sour that is very impressive.

  • If you would like to add a little sparkle to the cocktail, choose a sparkling juice like IZZE Sparkling Apple. It's a fun alternative to regular apple juice and the clean, natural taste works very well against the bourbon sour. You might even want to stick with regular juice and top the drink off with IZZE to create a taller, more refreshing beverage.

  • The Triple Sec. Not all triple sec is created equal and there are some great options and some, frankly, horrible options in the liquor store. Many drinkers tend to blow off this ingredient and go cheap, yet we use it all the time in cocktails and it's very important in the bar

  • Instead of thinking about triple sec as a secondary liqueur, consider it as you would a vodka because you will use it almost as often. If you've gone to the trouble and expense to use quality ingredients for the rest of the drink, why would you downgrade it with a not-so-great triple sec? It simply makes no sense.

  • It is time to rethink orange liqueur in your bar if you haven't already, so pay up and enjoy the improvement in your cocktails. Begin with brands like Bols or Cointreau and give Luxardo or Combier a try. Each of these has a great orange flavor and are not sickeningly sweet like those $5 specials.

  • How Strong is the Apple Sour?

  • The Apple Sour falls in line with similar whiskey cocktails and is mild, but not weak. It's a very pleasant whiskey sipper and has an average alcohol content of 19% ABV (36 proof).