Sour Mix Explained

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Sour mix is one of the bar tender’s best friends.  Whiskey sours, margaritas, lemon drop martinis, and Tom Collinses all use it.  Bottled and sold it is usually yellow to lime green in color and cloudy.

Sour mix has many different labels.  Bar mix, sweet & sour mix, margarita mix, or whiskey sour mix, are all names for the same thing.  While pre-mixed bottles are readily available in any liquor store and most grocery stores, the mix is simple to make and adds character to your bar stock.

To make a half-gallon, combine the following:

  • 1 quart concentrated lemon or lime juice***
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 egg whites

***If you make two batches, make one with all lemon juice and one with all lime.  For lemon drops, the lemon sour mix would be best.  For margaritas, the lime sour mix would be best.  If you don’t drink often enough to warrant making two batches, a half-and-half blend of lemon and lime juice makes a versatile sour mix.

Mix/shake all these together to mix thoroughly.  The egg whites give the mix its thick, foamy consistency.

Here are some popular drink recipes using your fresh, home-made sour mix (sour mix drinks are usually shaken to give an even consistency):

Margarita — shake the following and pour into a rocks glass over ice or serve strained into a stemmed glass with a salt rim and a lime wedge.

  • 1/2 oz. tequila (Jose Cuervo)
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • Sour mix

Lemon Drop Martini — shake and serve in a stemmed cocktail glass with a sugar rim.

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • Splash of sour mix

Long Island Iced Tea — this drink should be tumbled rather than shaken to keep the Coke from going flat, and served with a lemon wedge.

  • 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. rum
  • 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • Sour Mix
  • Splash of Coke

Tom Collins — garnish with a cherry.

  • 1 oz. gin
  • Sour mix
  • Splash of 7up (for more lemon/lime flavor), gingerale, or club soda

Enjoy the addition of sour mix to your repertoire of cocktail-making, and if you already use store-bought mixes, try making your own; it’s fun and tastes great!


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