Gin Sour

Classic Gin Sour Cocktail
The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
164 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 164
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 35mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The gin sour is a very enjoyable classic cocktail. Light, refreshing, and with a lot of character, this sour is one of the original beverages of its kind, enjoyed in a similar manner since the late 1800s. The popularity of other sours, including the iconic whiskey sour, has overshadowed this drink, but it's worth revisiting. Our gin sour recipe is not the oldest, but it is for sure a favorite bar version for most of the 20th century. Gin, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup make for a sour taste with the right hint of sweetness for balance. Include the egg white for a luscious foam, but if you want to skip it, the drink will still be fantastic.

Although the recipe has changed a bit over the years, ours is more traditional, without the new additions brought in by more contemporary mixologists. One important change has been the "veganization" of drinks with eggs, thanks to the use of aquafaba instead of egg whites. This has made drinks like this one available for customers who abstain from eating eggs or simply can't. In any case, the egg white version became popular sometime after Prohibition, and shaking the mix became customary by the 1930s. The drink was often garnished with an orange slice and cherry.

A London dry gin is a standard choice for the gin sour. If you want to go old school, pour Genever or Old Tom gin instead. But with such a great variety in today's gin scene, it's worth trying the drink with any gin you have on hand. Some gins will work better with equal parts of sweet and sour, so experiment with 3/4 ounce each of lemon juice and simple syrup and the same 2 ounces of gin.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin

  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • 1/2 ounce egg white, optional

  • 3 dashes aromatic bitters

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for a classic gin sour

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  2. In a cocktail shaker, pour the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, if using, and bitters. You can hold the bitters and add them to the strained cocktail by swirling them around in the egg white foam for a little pop of color.

    Mixing a classic gin sour cocktail

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  3. When including the egg white, dry shake the cocktail without ice to break up the egg and ensure a thorough mix.

    Dry shaking a classic gin sour with egg white

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  4. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.

    Shaking a gin sour cocktail

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  5. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.

    Classic gin sour cocktail

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

  6. Serve and enjoy.

    Classic gin sour cocktail

    The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk for foodborne illness.

For Best Results

As there are very few ingredients in this gin sour, quality matters:

  • The juice: The average juice yield from one lemon is 1 3/4 ounces. Typically, you can squeeze the juice of half a lemon directly into the shaker, but measuring it offers more control over the flavor. Avoid bottled lemon juice for any sour drinks because they throw off the balance of flavor.
  • The egg: Before cracking your egg, test it for freshness. Place the egg in a glass of water, and if it sinks, it's fresh. Discard any egg that floats. The recommended 1/2 ounce of egg white is about half of the average large egg white, but it's best to measure this in a jigger. Add the entire egg white if you prefer a foamier drink.

Old No-Egg Sour

The original gin sour from the 1880s did not include egg, which was reserved for an "egg sour" with brandy. Instead, the gin sour was made by dissolving a teaspoon of sugar into a splash of seltzer or still water and the juice of half a lemon, then adding 2 ounces of gin and filling the glass with ice. This same formula works for brandy, rum, whiskey, and most spirits.

How Strong Is a Gin Sour?

The gin sour is a moderately strong drink. With the egg white, it averages 18 percent ABV (36 proof) and will be slightly more robust if you skip that ingredient. That's a little more potent than a glass of wine and about half as potent as a gin martini.