Whiskey Sour Recipe

What Happened To This
Whiskey Drink?

And ... "Potato Joe"?

Favorite Restaurant Cocktail Recipe

At one time several years ago, not a day went by when I didn't sell a Whiskey Sour or two or three or four at the restaurant.

Recent years has seen a return to "basic" cocktails. This cocktail is now regaining popularity.

There is something special about the simple cocktails. They are enjoyable and well known from a customer standpoint, and easy to assemble from behind the bar.

This particular drink reminds me of both a good man and one particular bad experience with another.

The good time experience was that my father-in-law would like to have one of these about 5:00 PM before his dinner. It was a ritual with him. This beverage was what he usually wanted.

The bad experience was having a regular restaurant guest who also liked a whiskey sour. He was known locally as "Potato Joe" because he worked every year for several potato farmers.

Every day after work Joe would come to the restaurant and order one of these whiskey cocktails. Then one evening he waved me over to the bar and quietly explained that he had run himself a little short of cash. Could I loan him $100 until payday? Payday for Potato Joe was three days off. I thought I probably shouldn't, but took the chance anyway.

You can guess the rest of the story. I never saw Potato Joe again.

Whiskey Sour Recipe

(Dedicated to Potato Joe, where ever he is)

Real Restaurant Drink Recipe

Preparation time: 1 minute. Serves 1.



  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon (or sub rye, or Scotch or Irish Whiskey)
  • 1 1/2 ounces lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 - 3/4  teaspoon super fine sugar or powdered sugar or sugar syrup (simple syrup)
  • Ice
  • Orange slice, Maraschino cherry for garnish or a lemon twist



  • In an ice filled shaker, place the above ingredients in this order: sugar, lemon, and then the bourbon
  • Shake well and strain into a rocks glass
  • Garnish with an orange slice and cherry or a twist of lemon and serve

I read somewhere that the original drink recipe contained a teaspoon of raw egg white. If true, no one I know ever uses raw egg white today for health reasons.

Enjoy your Whiskey drink recipe and the company of those you share it with! It is a famous restaurant drink recipe.


Did you know? The recipe itself was first written down in the 1862 book "The Bartender’s Guide" by Jerry Thomas. However, the basic recipe was known since the early 1700’s.