Tequila Sour

One sip is all it will take to convince you that the Tequila Sour is a gift from cocktail heaven.

Tequila Sour

I’ve told many a tale about the advent and creation of many a cocktail, the Sour being one of them. It evolved from a medicinal mixture that British sailors drank on long voyages in the Caribbean to ward off scurvy and seasickness. Mixing their rations of rum with lime and sugar, their Navy Grog, as they called it (because a few too many will make you “groggy”) eventually became the inspiration for a number of cocktails that we enjoy today, Sours being one of them. First popping up in 1856 on a handwritten list of available libations at Mart Ackermann’s Saloon in Toronto, Canada, the Sour, and its many different versions have remained a stalwart and reliable drink of choice to this day.

The Tequila Sour is one of my favorite versions of this family of drinks. Anything food or drink-related that’s labeled “sour” has me drawn to it like a magnet on a refrigerator. Whiskey and Pisco Sours are two of the more famous and well-known of these, but the tequila version has been growing in popularity since the mid-twentieth century. That would have been around the time that the Mexican spirit was being more widely exported to other parts of the globe, and interest in it began to blossom.

In 1939, the first recipe for the Tequila Sour was printed in The World Famous Cotton Club: 1939 Book of Mixed Drinks, written by New York bartender Charlie Connelly. This specific recipe is often considered a margarita, for its use of an orange liqueur and being served in a salt-rimmed glass. The version we’re making today is something that I consider the best of both worlds. A punchy and complex mashup of a classic Whiskey Sour and a margarita, your lips will relish the flavors of the spicy tequila floating just above the sweet-tartness of the lemon and lime.

What is a Sour?

Sours are simple. For this cocktail, we’re using tequila as the base, but what makes a Sour “sour” is the rest of what’s in it. A mixture of lemon and lime juice, along with sugar or simple syrup to sweeten things up, the recipe lends itself to several spirit combinations. I love adding egg whites to mine for a frothy top and smooth sips, but that’s always optional. Try it once and it’ll become a permanent part of your Sour routine, trust me.

What is the Best Tequila to Use in a Tequila Sour?

In our recipe for the Tequila Sour, we suggest using a nice, mid-to-top-shelf reposado tequila. This spirit is usually aged in oak barrels for up to a year, or more, and will give your cocktail some smoky and woodsy notes. If you want a less complex flavor for your Sour, a Blanco tequila will offer a brighter, more agave-forward taste. And the lemon and lime juice will hit a little harder.

Tequila Sour
Servings 1 serving
serving 5 minutes


  • 2 ounces tequila reposado
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar or simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 egg white
  • Cocktail cherry for garnish
  • Lime wedge for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lemon juice, lime juice, agave nectar or simple syrup, bitters, and egg white.
    Tequila Sour
  • Shake the mixture vigorously without ice for about 15 seconds to create the frothy egg white foam.
    Tequila Sour
  • Add a handful of ice to the shaker and shake again for another 30 seconds to chill the drink.
    Tequila Sour
  • Strain the cocktail into your favorite glass. You’ll see the beautiful foam forming on top.
    Tequila Sour
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and a cocktail cherry to add a pop of color and a hint of sweetness.
Tequila Sour

FAQs & Tips

I say this whenever egg white froth is involved, but be careful not to dry shake your mixture for longer than fifteen seconds. Anything past that, the contents of your shaker will burst and cover you in foam. And the cat. And then you have to bathe the cat. And the cat reminds you, violently, how much it loathes baths. Fifteen seconds, tops.

Tequila Sour

Tequila Sour Variations

Sours, Sours everywhere, so there’s plenty to drink and enjoy. If these sweet and tart cocktails make your mouth water just thinking about them, Twist & Toast has the best recipes to keep your juices flowing. Try out these tipples below and be sure to visit us to check out even more.

  • Trinidad Sour – Bitters is the base for this interesting and rich concoction.
  • Bourbon Sour – Smoky, smooth, and spicy, this Sour is an ideal way to make the evening a lazy one.
  • Rum Sour – You’ll never worry about scurvy so long as you know how to whip up a Rum Sour.
  • Gin Sour – This bright and crisp-tasting tipple is the perfect Sour for a summer’s day.

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