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25 Sour Cocktails Worth Sipping

Sipping the best sour cocktails at home will make your mouth pucker and your tastebuds sing. And, as a bonus, these sour cocktails are as easy to craft as they are to sip.

Classic Margarita with Lime Wheel and Straw
Image: ©2foodtrippers

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. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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? | Image: ©2foodtrippers

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:

25 Of The Best Sour Cocktails

Sipping a Whiskey Sour
Whiskey Sour
The Whiskey Sour ranks as one of the most popular drinks in the world. It's a pleasure to drink and a breeze to craft at home. Follow our Whiskey Sour recipe and join the happy crowd of Whiskey Sour fans.
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Gin Sour Cocktail from Above
Gin Sour
The Gin Sour tickles the tongue with clean flavors that are simultaneously sweet and sour. This classic gin cocktail is also super easy to craft at home in just a few minutes.
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Bacardi Daiquiri on Ledge
Classic Daiquiri
Leave any preconceptions about the Daiquiri behind when you follow our easy Bacardi Daiquiri recipe. Cuba's most classic cocktail is a sophisticated summer sipper made with just three ingredients that you probably already have at home.
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Amaretto Sour with White Background
Amaretto Sour
Crafting an Amaretto Sour is easy. The challenge is deciding which ingredients to add. Since we add both Disaronno Amaretto and Bourbon, our Amaretto Sour recipe is technically a Disaronno Sour recipe and it's delicious.
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Classic Margarita with White Background
Classic Margarita
The classic Margarita is one of the most popular cocktails in the world. It's also one of the easiest cocktails to craft at home with just three ingredients and no special bar tools.
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Bees Knees Cocktail with Ingredients on Window Sill
Bee’s Knees
The Bee's Knees is the cat's meow when it comes to classic cocktails. The three-ingredient gin lemon cocktail is both sophisticated to sip and super easy to make at home.
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Paloma Cocktail with Pink Background
Paloma
The Paloma tastes like summer in a glass. The refreshing tequila tipple is simultaneously sweet, sour and salty. It's also easy to craft at home regardless of the season.
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New York Sour Cocktail with Black Background Centered
New York Sour
The New York Sour takes the classic Whiskey Sour to a new level by adding a red wine float. This ruby layer provides a fruity zing plus a stripe of elegance.
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Pisco Sour from Above
Pisco Sour
The Pisco Sour's flavors will transport you to South America. Follow our easy Pisco Sour recipe and craft the iconic cocktail at home in just a few minutes.
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Tom Collins Cocktail from Above
Tom Collins
Simultaneously sweet and tart, the Tom Collins cocktail is a delightful drink that tastes like spiked lemonade. It's also super simple to craft at home with just a few ingredients.
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Clover Club Cocktail on Ledge
Clover Club
This Clover Club cocktail is simultaneously sweet and tart. Learn how to make this frothy pre-prohibition cocktail at home in just five minutes.
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Gin Gimlet on Green Marble
Gin Gimlet
The Gin Gimlet cocktail is one of the easiest classic cocktails to craft at home. It's also one of the classiest.
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Ward 8 Cocktail from Above
Ward 8
The Ward 8 cocktail isn't as famous as its cousin, the Whiskey Sour, but it should be. Simultaneously sweet and spicy, this pre-prohibition potent potable is as easy to sip as it is to craft.
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Muddling Mojito in a Glass Pitcher.jpg
Mojito
Our Bacardi Mojito recipe is ideal for summer. You can whip up this Cuban cocktail favorite at home with just five ingredients plus ice.
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Cosmopolitan Cocktail from Below
Cosmopolitan
Leave your impressions behind when you craft a Cosmopolitan cocktail at home. Despite its pretty pink hue, the Cosmo is a serious vodka cocktail that's easy to craft and even easier to sip.
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Bourbon Sidecar with Lemon Twist and Sugar Rim
Bourbon Sidecar
The Bourbon Sidecar cocktail takes the classic Sidecar to new heights by replacing cognac with bourbon. Follow our easy Bourbon Sidecar recipe and craft one at home in just five minutes.
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Pink Lady Cocktail with Cherries
Pink Lady
The Pink Lady cocktail proves that you shouldn't judge a drink by its color. Despite its 'girly' hue, this pink drink is a sophisticated sipper that's more dry than sweet. Try our easy recipe and make the classic cocktail at home in just five minutes.
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Lemon Drop Martini from Above with White Background
Lemon Drop Martini
The Lemon Drop Martini is a classy citrus sipper that's served with a frosty, sugar-studded rim. It's also super easy to craft at home and tastes like liquid candy.
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Ramos Gin Fizz Cocktail Up Close with Straw and Pink Background
Ramos Gin Fizz
The Ramos Gin Fizz is a quintessential New Orleans cocktail. Learn how to craft the fizzy gin drink at home. Also discover why it's considered royalty in the Louisiana city where the good times roll all year long but especially during Mardi Gras.
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Gold Rush Cocktail from Above with White Background
Gold Rush
The Gold Rush glitters bright in the cocktail galaxy. Follow our easy recipe and craft the tasty bourbon cocktail at home in just five minutes.
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White Lady Banner
White Lady
Proving that you shouldn't judge a cocktail by its name, the White Lady Cocktail is a classic drink that's appropriate for multicultural cocktail connoisseurs. Read on to learn how to craft a White Lady cocktail at home in just five minutes.
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Aviation Cocktail Next to White Tiles
Aviation
Don't be confused by its deep blue color. The Aviation cocktail is a serious cocktail for serious drinkers. Learn how to craft the classic gin cocktail at home in just five minutes.
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Hemingway Daiquiri Next to Blue Tiles
Hemingway Daiquiri
Also known as a Papa Doble, the Hemingway Daiquiri takes the simple Daiquiri to a new level with two simple additions. Discover how Ernest Hemingway got his name on the drink and learn how to make a Papa Doble at home.
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Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail with White Background
Corpse Reviver No. 2
The Corpse Reviver No. 2 tastes like a dream despite its nightmare-inducing name. Learn the history behind this ghoulishly delightful gin cocktail and then craft one at home in just five minutes.
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Brown Derby Cocktail with White Background
Brown Derby
Easy to craft and a pleasure to imbibe, the Brown Derby cocktail is ideal for a lazy brunch or a cosy night by the fire. Our addition of maple syrup makes this prohibition cocktail simply impossible to resist.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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 the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.

Disclosures

Article Updates
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.

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

Original Publication Date: September 3, 2023

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