The best Whiskey Sour in Denver: Need to taste.

Denver's dive bars? Feeding you soft drinks. But they've got the best Whiskey Sour, for sure. No argument.

It’s not fancy or fussy, just a straightforward mix of quality ingredients. A Whiskey Sour done right is about as good as a cocktail gets. Combines the sweet, the sour and the strong in harmonious balance. The whiskeyable undertone lingers, tempting you to down the whole glass. But the secret is to savor every sip, to appreciate the sweet perfume of the liquor and the tart slice of the citrus. Simplicity is the name of the game here, and it’s damn effective.

There’s a reason the Whiskey Sour has stood the test of time; it’s a time-honored classic for a reason. It combats the complexity of everyday life, offering the perfect blend of sweet and sour. The sour punch wakes up your senses, while the smooth whiskey settles you down, making every sip a bittersweet symphony. It’s gained popularity in the most elite cocktail bars down to the simplest of neighborhood pubs. And there’s a good reason for that; a properly mixed Whiskey Sour is disarmingly delicious, a straight ticket to the stuff of legends.

Historical Odyssey of Whiskey Sour

Steeping yourself into history, one might uncover an enigmatic blend of truth and lore, similar to the intertwining of bitter and sweet in a well-crafted whiskey sour. Born in an era when sea miles were still being beaten by winds and tall ships, the concoction owes its origin to British sailors around the 18th century. Devised as a trick to combat scurvy, the nifty blend of alcohol, water, citrus, and sugar was preferred over bland lemon juice. Its popularity quickly waxed, voyaging beyond sailor circles, breaching the notorious saloons of the age, and ultimately establishing itself as a classy cocktail.

Theories and documents suggest that elimination of scurvy wasn’t the only reason behind its recipe. Another narrative ascribes its invention to the prolific gold miners during the Gold Rush era of the mid 19th century. After striking it rich, they had the audacity to demand something more than mere grog to celebrate their fortune, hence the birth of the Whiskey Sour. The promise of stern whiskey, intertwined with a liminal tang of lemon and the soothing allure of sugar, mirrored their journey from hardship to wealth, earning it a prestigious spot amongst the miner community.

No wonder, this timeless blend continues to grace the palettes of many notable personalities even today. For instance, the one and known, renowned novelist Raymond Chandler, author of the classic noir novels showcasing the inimitable Philip Marlowe, was indeed a connoisseur of this symphony in a glass. Even in the face of a world shrouded in deception and crime, he found solace and inspiration at the bottom of his whiskey sour glass. That’s the power of a well-crafted mixture, it doesn’t just intoxicate, it also invokes, making you contemplate the lesser-seen facets of life.

Imbibe Flavorful The best  Whiskey Sour in Denver

Recipe: The Best Whiskey Sour

Irony, that’s what this is. Society throwing a fit about the evils of alcohol, while everyone and their dogs gulp down booze like water in a desert. But allow me for a while to join this farce. Here’s my little contribution to your hypocrisy. Might as well make it classy if you’re taking the high road to hell.


  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 oz Simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz Egg white (optional)
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Ice
  • Cherry and lemon wheel, for garnish


  • In a shaker, combine bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white. Shake it like you do when you’re pissed off at the world. Don’t hold back.
  • Add ice and shake again. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Top it with a couple of dashes of Angostura Bitters.
  • Garnish with a cherry and a lemon wheel. Serve. By now you should feel pretty smug, smoothly passing off as a civilized creature in this twisted world.

Top Whiskey Sour Cocktail Spots in Denver

Whiskey Sour, a cocktail that’s a perfect balance of sweet, tart, and whiskey bite. There are many interpretations, of course, but if you’re looking for the best ones, you’ve got to know where to go. If it’s that bitter-sweet symphony that you’re after, Denver’s offering some great places to add to your list:

Whiskey Sour Venues:

  • Name: ‘The Bitter Bar’, address: ‘835 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302’

    Dark and warm with an old-world charm. It’s intimate without feeling cramped, perfect for a cocktail like a classic whiskey sour. Their version of this drink goes down smoothly. Much too smoothly.

  • Name: ‘Green Russell’, address: ‘1422 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202’

    This speakeasy style lounge takes a serious approach to cocktails. It’s all business when it comes to their whiskey sour. You can taste the craft in each sip. It’s a laid-back sort of place, where you can quietly appreciate the effort that’s gone into creating something special.

  • Name: ‘Ste. Ellie’, address: ‘1553 Platte St, Denver, CO 80202’

    Their whiskey sour is nothing short of spectacular. An amber dream in a glass. If you didn’t think a cocktail could be elegant, then you need to try this one at Ste. Ellie. One sip and you’ll sense it’s a drink that’s been perfected over time.

Savor Satisfying The best  Whiskey Sour in Denver

Conducting a Whiskey Sour Tasting Event

For those acquainted with the art of whiskey appreciation, adding a twist to the tasting fold can take exploration to uncharted territories. Ever thought of conducting a whiskey sour tasting event rather than the standard neat varieties? It’s about combining the pleasure of whiskey tasting with the craft of cocktail creation, and it’s not as complex as you might think.

Choosing whiskeys with different flavor profiles is the key to add variety to your cocktail tasting. Try malty, spicy or smoky, anything but not too heavy. That’ll spoil the essence of the sour. You need a citrus component, fresh lemon juice preferably. And sweetness, a simple sugar syrup or honey would do. Balance is critical here, too much of one component can overpower the other. Remember, it should compliment and not overpower the whiskey.

Ice is another critical part of the mix, it controls temperature and dilution. Use fresh, clear ice for this. Pre-chill your glassware if possible. This will keep the cocktail cold for longer, enhancing the overall experience. When it comes to serving, use smaller glasses, snug enough for the guests to enjoy before the cocktail warms up. And remember, with each sip, you’re not just tasting, you’re experiencing an art form.

Diversity in Whiskey Sour Recipes

When it comes to a quality drink worth your time, the field is wider than the predictable Scotch, or the oft-given Bourbon base for the Whiskey Sour. Try envisioning a version with vodka next time. It’s a detour from the standard, but one that brings a cool, clean taste to the drink – an entirely refreshing and worthwhile experience. It’s about breaking stereotypes, challenging established norms but nonetheless appreciating the roots of the cocktail. Why should we bind ourselves to the typical and miss out on the discovery of other appealing mixtures?

Exploring various flavorings and garnishes can also turn your conventional Whiskey Sour into a miraculous flavour coaster ride. A dash of fruit infusion, perhaps? Citrus maintains the drink’s signature tangy profile but a suggestion of raspberry or blackberry can bring an interesting twist. Garnishes are not merely decorative. A cocktail cherry or a slice of orange can take the drink to a new level, providing a sensory cling to accompany the rich flavor that satisfies your palate.

Despite the traditional Whiskey Sour being a reliable standby, there are popular variations that have garnered clout amongst the cocktail enthusiasts. Take, for instance, the New York Sour – a spin-off with a float of red wine that provides a delicate counterpoint to the sour mix. Then there’s the Boston Sour that adds an egg white for a creamy, frothy texture that complements the tartness beautifully. All in all, the world of Whiskey Sour is as simple or complex as you make it, with variants waiting to be explored, tasted…

Discover Complex The best  Whiskey Sour in Denver

Worldwide Whiskey Celebrations

Across the globe, lovers of the amber liquid gather annually at whiskey-themed festivities showcasing varieties from smooth single malts to peaty blends. One cocktail commonly featured is the classic Whiskey Sour. Grand tastings, masterclasses and mixology workshops are common features of these events, offering aficionados an opportunity to discern known from the unknown, gaining a deeper appreciation for the craft and subtleties of spirits blending.

Renowned events such as the Spirit of Speyside Whiskey Festival in Scotland or the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in the United States have dedicated whiskey sour sessions and competitions. Here, mixologists and enthusiasts showcase their skills and creativity, competing to present distinctive variations of the classic Whiskey Sour. On a slightly larger scale, the global event, World Whisky Day encourages not only drinkers but also distilleries to host their gatherings celebrating this traditional drink, inevitably including the beloved Whiskey Sour.

Notably, with the surge in urban distilleries and craft cocktail culture, local events and pop-ups are also becoming increasingly prevalent. These local boutiques often focus on promoting homemade spirits, with bartenders serving sensory-stimulating innovations of well-curated Whiskey Sour renditions. The allure of these events lies in the intimate dialogue between distiller, bartender, and participant, which fosters a unique community around the appreciation of a well-mixed Whiskey Sour.

A Whiskey Sour Story in Denver

Ever stumbled upon a whiskey sour that could turn a non-drinker into a bartender? Well, buckle up. Denver’s got one such tale. So, there’s a bar downtown. Decent place. Less show, more substance. They’re offering this ‘Best Whiskey Sour in Town’ challenge. Bait to get folks talking, you’d say. But, trust me, their confidence was backed by some solid stuff. Their whiskey sour was no joke. I mean, an appreciated grin is often the only compliment a good whiskey sour can anticipate, but damn, their blend was changing the rules.

Here’s the funny part. People started concocting their versions of ‘the best whiskey sour’, trying to topple their reign. That’s where the fun began. Nothing beats the sight of a file clerk trying to outmix a pro bartender. Nevertheless, they all went home with the same respectful grin they walked in with. A deception, a ploy, call it what you will, Denver embraced the spirit, both in glasses and in hearts.

Appreciate you sticking around for that ramble of a tale. Not really one to thank for occasional eavesdropping, but, if Denver tickled your curiosity, there’s more where that came from. Drop by any time. We keep the bar open.


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