This blood orange whiskey sour is a fun twist on a classic cocktail. This drink starts with whiskey – feel free to use your favorite – and then we add freshly squeezed blood orange and lemon juice with a hint of simple syrup.
Making this Blood Orange Whiskey Sour
This blood orange cocktail is fresh and citrusy with a hint of sweetness.
If you’re a whiskey lover, this is the perfect cocktail to sip during the later winter months when blood oranges are in season and available at the grocery store.
What is a Whiskey Sour?
As the name suggests, a whiskey sour is part of the sour family of cocktails. A sour cocktail refers to any mixed drink that’s made with a base liquor + acid (typically lemon or lime juice) + sweetener.
Some of the most well known sour cocktails include the New York sour, margarita, amaretto sour, and the traditional daiquiri. And, naturally, the Whiskey Sour!
The first recipe for a whiskey sour was recorded in the 1860s. It’s thought that sour cocktails were popular among sailors as a means of preventing scurvy — there are worse tasting medicines, to be sure!
The elegant simplicity of the whiskey sour made it an instant favorite and has remained a staple cocktail at bars around the world since the late 1800s.
What Makes This Whiskey Sour Variation Unique?
A traditional whiskey sour recipe is just three ingredients – bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Some recipes include the optional egg white.
The lemon juice adds the “sour” component to this drink, while the simple syrup adds a subtle sweetness.
This recipe includes blood orange juice in addition to the lemon juice. You get a nice balanced citrus flavor by combining sweet and tart blood orange juice with the sour lemon juice.
Unlike a classic whiskey sour, this easy mixed drink has a vibrant color that comes from the blood orange juice.
Although this is a variation of the whiskey sour, this cocktail is definitely still boozy and is best sipped slowly.
When Should You Serve this Blood Orange Whiskey Sour?
The whiskey sour is a fabulous “anytime” beverage, however you’ll most likely want to enjoy it during citrus season when you can find fresh blood oranges.
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Tools Needed to Make a Blood Orange Whiskey Sour
You’ll need a few kitchen tools to prepare this easy cocktail recipe. Here’s what I recommend having on hand before getting started:
- Sharp Knife and Cutting Board – to cut a slice of blood orange for garnish
- Citrus Juicer – to squeeze the fresh orange juice.
- Cocktail Jigger – to measure the cocktail ingredients.
- Cocktail Shaker or Mason Jar with Lid – to prepare the cocktail in.
- Cocktail Strainer – if your shaker doesn’t have one attached, you’ll need one to strain the ice after shaking the cocktail.
- Lowball or Coupe Glasses – to serve the cocktail.
What’s in this Blood Orange Cocktail?
This delicious cocktail only requires 4 simple ingredients to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
Bourbon Whiskey – I’m using Hudson Whiskey– it has notes of brown sugar and vanilla so it pairs well in a whiskey sour. Feel free to use your favorite whiskey or whatever you have on hand.
Blood Orange Juice – gives the cocktail its beautiful purple color and adds a bit of citrus.
Fresh Lemon Juice – adds freshness and acidity to the cocktail.
Simple Syrup – adds just a hint of sweetness to balance out all the acidity. Feel free to add to taste.
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions to make this blood orange cocktail recipe, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
What Is Bourbon Whiskey?
Bourbon is a type of corn-based whiskey (legally it must contain at least 51% corn in the mash; the remaining grains are often rye, wheat, or barley).
For a whiskey to be labeled as bourbon, it must adhere to a few regulations:
- Aged for at least 2 years in new charred oak.
- Bourbon must be bottled at a minimum of 80 proof (40% ABV) and a maximum of 150 proof (75% ABV).
- “Bourbon” can only be called such if made in the US
How to Make this Blood Orange Cocktail
It couldn’t be easier to make this simple drink with a tart flavor:
- Mix whiskey with the rest of the ingreidents in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a glass.
- Garnish with a blood orange slice (or dried orange slices) and sprigs of rosemary
The above is simply a quick summary of how to make this whiskey sour cocktail. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Tips for this Whiskey and Orange Juice Cocktail
- Use a good quality bourbon – Bourbon is the main ingredient, so be sure to buy one that’s good quality and one that you like.
- Don’t serve over ice — That would dilute the drink.
- Chill your glasses in the fridge — Instead of serving over ice, shake the cocktail with ice and pre-chill your glass if you want it to stay cold longer!
- Use fresh citrus — this cocktail will taste so much better when you use fresh juiced blood orange and lemon juice
- Make the simple syrup in advance — For quick cocktail making, prepare the simple syrup up to 1 week in advance. Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make cocktails. You can also freeze the simple syrup in ice cube trays; this makes it easy to thaw just enough for one or two cocktails.
Blood Orange Whiskey Sour FAQs
Got questions about how to make this simple cocktail? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments on this post and I’ll respond with answers.
What kind of cocktail glass should I use?
Whiskey sours are typically served in a low ball glass (sometimes called an old-fashioned or rocks glass).
I’ve photographed it in a coupe glass because I think it highlights the gorgeous color nicely!
Can I use rye whiskey instead of bourbon whiskey?
Sure! Rye Whiskey and Bourbon are very similar, so you can often use them interchangeably if you want to use what you have on hand.
However, Rye is drier and spicier, whereas bourbon is sweeter, so you may want to adjust the simple syrup to taste if you prefer a slightly sweeter cocktail.
Can I make a non-alcoholic whiskey sour?
If you’re sober curious or don’t drink alcohol, you can use non-alcoholic alternatives to make this blood orange cocktail recipe.
I have not tried making a non-alcoholic whiskey sour, but there are several alcohol-free whiskeys on the market that you could try substituting. A few options are:
Safety tip: Note that depending on brand you use, some alcohol-removed spirits may still contain trace amounts of alcohol. Check before using, serving to kids, or drinking during pregnancy, etc.
When to Serve a Blood Orange Whiskey Sour
You can’t usually find blood oranges year round the way you can regular oranges, so you’ll most likely want to reserve this simple drink for late winter months.
As such, its great for the following occasions:
- Valentine’s Day
- Happy hour during citrus season
Try This Blood Orange Whiskey Sour
Next time you’re perfect cocktail to enjoy during orange season, give this Blood Orange Whiskey Sour a try!
Did you love the gorgeous color the tart blood orange juice gave this refreshing cocktail? Leave a comment below and give it a star rating for others to see what you thought of this blood orange cocktail recipe.
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of your whiskey sour!
More Bourbon and Whiskey Cocktail Recipes
The classic rye whiskey cocktail becomes even more sophisticated with the addition of black walnut bitters and Italian amaro. Learn how to make a Black Manhattan Cocktail with this straightforward tutorial!
This Cranberry Rosemary Shrub Cocktail is the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail! A homemade cranberry shrub with hints of black pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon is combined with bourbon and seltzer for a festive and colorful drink.
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For the Whiskey Sour
- 2 ounces Whiskey
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed Blood Orange Juice
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
- ½ ounce Simple Syrup (or to taste)
- Blood Orange Slice or Wedge
- Rosemary Sprig
- Add the whiskey, blood orange juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Secure the lid and shake the cocktail mixture vigorously for 15-20 seconds, or until well chilled.
- Strain the cocktail into a lowball or coupe glass. Garnish with a wheel of blood orange and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
- Enjoy immediately.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.