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24 Sour Cocktails You Will Love

Sipping the best sour cocktails at home will make your mouth pucker and your tastebuds sing.

Classic Margarita with Lime Wheel and Straw

Sour cocktails are some of the easiest cocktails to craft at home without any special ingredients or bar tools. Acid is a key flavor component and these cocktails have plenty of it. However, as it turns out, most sour cocktails aren’t actually that sour.

The concept of a sour cocktail not being so sour sounds counterintuitive until you realize that sour cocktails are as sweet as they are sour. The sour flavor typically comes from citrus juices like lemon juice, lime juice and grapefruit juice while the sweetness comes from sweeteners like simple syrup, honey and Cointreau.

Perhaps sour cocktails should be called ‘sweet and sour’ cocktails. However, that nomenclature would have its own issues. Instead, the best option is to craft and drink the best ones and to find your personal favorite.

What Are Sour Cocktails?

Paloma Cocktail with Grapefruit and Black Background
The Paloma stands out from the sour cocktail crowd with an ingredient list that includes tequila, grapefruit juice and grapefruit soda.

Sour cocktails are traditionally crafted with two parts liquor, one part citrus juice and one part sweetener. But don’t quote us on that since that ratio is altered in some sour cocktail recipes while others include frothy egg white.

Despite that simple formula, sour cocktails run the gamut in terms of tartness and potency. The types of liquors vary too with options including bourbon, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and more.

Classic Sour Cocktails

Whiskey Sour with White Background from Above
The Whiskey Sour may be the most iconic sour cocktail but will it be your favorite?

If you enjoy imbibing classic cocktails, then it’s likely that you’re a sour cocktail fan whether you know it or not.

The Whiskey Sour may be the most well known sour cocktail but it’s far from the only one. Other classic sour drinks include the Clover Club, Daiquiri, Gimlet, Margarita and Sidecar.

The same goes for modern classics like the Cosmopolitan, Lemon Drop Martini, Mojito and Paloma. Yep – these popular drinks are all sour cocktails too.

These are our favorite sour cocktail recipes to craft at home:

24 Of The Best Sour Cocktails

Sour Cocktails FAQs

What is a sour cocktail?

A sour cocktail is a cocktail crafted with liquor, citrus juice and a sweetener. Some sour cocktails are topped with frothy egg white.

What is the most classic sour cocktail?

While there are numerous classic sour cocktails, the most famous ones include the Daiquiri, Margarita, Sidecar and Whiskey Sour. Modern sour cocktail classics include the Cosmopolitan, Mojito and Paloma.

What’s the most popular sour cocktail?

The Whiskey Sour isn’t just the most popular sour cocktail. It’s also one of the most popular cocktails in the world. Other popular sour cocktails include the Amoretto Sour, New York Sour and Pisco Sour.

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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in these article.

We purchased the ingredients and tools used to craft these cocktails.

Original Publication Date: September 3, 2023