Amer A. Vargas Mixology Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, June 2020, Let’s Talk about Mixology

Amer A. VargasLet’s Talk about Mixology, Part 56

by Amer A. Vargas


Whiskey Sour by Martin Asche

Welcome again to the fascinating and diverse world of cocktails.

On this occasion, we devote our article to a century-and-a-half old cocktail that is never out of fashion. A few months back we published the Thyme Will Tell recipe, a variation of the original Whiskey Sour we are revisiting today.

Interestingly enough, the Whiskey Sour was first mixed during the second half of the nineteenth century and published in El Comercio de Iquique, a Peruvian local newspaper from Iquique, currently a Chilean city. The newspaper comments on the cocktail being created by Elliott Stubb, the butler on the vessel Sunshine, who decided to set anchor at Iquique seaport and “on a certain day, was doing some experiments in his cocktail shaker with whiskey and Pica lemon (a type of key lime), and the taste reached pleasures above any of the concoctions he used to serve his guests. He added sugar to a portion of Pica lemon, a bit of ice, whiskey in the right proportion and shook the mix for a few seconds. He tried the most exquisite drink he had ever prepared. From now on—Elliot said—this will be my everyday drink, my favorite drink, and I’ll call it Whiskey Sour (soured by the lemon).”

These are the proportions and ingredients used nowadays:

  • 4.5 cl/ 1.5 oz of bourbon whiskey
  • 3 cl/ 1 oz of fresh lemon juice, and
  • 1.5 cl/ 0.5 oz of simple syrup.
New York Sour by Malmaison Hotels

Ingredients are shaken with abundant ice in the shaker and strained into a lowball glass with ice—or a cobbler glass if the drinker prefers no ice—then garnished with a slice of orange or lemon and a Maraschino cherry.

And since we are on the subject, we may as well look at two additional variations: The Frothy Whiskey Sour created by Mr. ‘Lennon’ Aguilar, Head Bartender and Operations Supervisor of Food and Beverage at 1842 Whisky and Cigar Bar in Manila. He adds an egg white to the ingredients in the shaker to create a frothy texture, and finishes by charring a cinnamon stick. You can see it here.

And a more common variation is the well-known New York Sour that follows the same steps stated above (but using 6 cl/ 2 oz of bourbon whiskey instead of 4.5 cl/ 1.5 oz) and finished by adding 1.5 cl/ 0.5 oz of Shiraz or Malbec wine.

Whichever your choice, happy June and cheers!

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President—feel free to contact him via email, AmerVargas @

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.