Jerry Thomas codified the simple formula for a sour in his 1862 The Bartenders Guide: spirit, sweetener, citrus. One of the most popular cocktails in this family is the Whiskey Sour, which can be made with many types of whiskey, but is best (in our opinion) mixed with bourbon. The sweetness of bourbon soothes the acidic lemon juice and harmonizes with the simple syrup, creating a beautifully balanced cocktail.
Featured in Harry Craddock’s 1930 tome The Savoy Cocktail Book, this lost classic packs a deceptively boozy bite. Essentially a twist on the Whiskey Sour, the Rattlesnake starts with a base of peppery rye whiskey and the Whiskey Sour’s usual lemon juice and simple syrup. This variation, however, gets an additional kick from high-proof...