Cherry Sour Cocktail

Cherry Sour – Easy Whiskey Cocktail

Do you remember those sour cherry candy balls you loved as a kid? Here’s the adult version.

The Cherry Sour is an easy cocktail based on the Whiskey Sour, but packed with plenty of cherry flavor. The addition of maraschino liqueur and some cherry syrup give it a reddish color and pop of cherry sweetness to balance out the sour.

This cocktail is one of the most accessible drinks I’ve created. It’s super popular with friends and family who may not drink a lot of cocktails or don’t usually drink whiskey.

You’ll need a jar of Luxardo Cherries or you can read my comparison of maraschino cherries if you’re interested in less expensive alternatives.

Cherry Sour
You deserve this.

Cherry Sour Recipe

Cherry Sour Recipe

Cherry Sour

Ross David
Do you remember those sour cherry candy balls you loved as a kid? Here’s the adult version.
The Cherry Sour is an easy cocktail based on the Whiskey Sour, but packed with plenty of cherry flavor.
3.88 from 8 votes
Total Time 2 mins
Course Drinks
Base Spirit Whiskey
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 247 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add lemon juice, simple syrup, maraschino liqueur, and whiskey to a cocktail shaker
  • Add a bar spoon (or two) of syrup from your jar of Luxardo cherries
  • Fill the cocktail shaker with cubed ice
  • Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds
  • Double-strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass
  • Garnish with a Luxardo cherry

Notes

  1. Ingredients are important on this one. Different maraschino liqueurs have different levels of sweetness. I used the Luxardo brand, but if you’re using a different brand you may have to adjust the amount of simple syrup to control the sweetness.
  2. Shake with a lot of cubed ice. Fill the shaker 3/4 full of ice cubes. You can use the ice from the automatic ice maker on your freezer, just don’t use the crushed ice option for shaking.
  3. Make sure you “double strain” the cocktail when pouring. That means you use your Hawthorne strainer to strain out the ice cubes and also pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any ice shards, lemon pulp, or seeds.
  4. The bar spoon of cherry syrup from your jar of Luxardo cherries gives this cocktail the reddish color and a little extra sweetness. You can add two bar spoons if you want to be truly decadent. No judgement here!
  5. I prefer it straight up in a coupe, but it wouldn’t be a crime to serve it on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass.

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal
Keyword Sour
Did you make it?I love hearing about your experiences. Tag me on Instagram at @home.cocktail.craft.

Details and notes

Ingredients are important on this one. Different maraschino liqueurs have different levels of sweetness. I used the Luxardo brand, but if you’re using a different brand you may have to adjust the amount of simple syrup to control the sweetness.

Shake with a lot of cubed ice. Fill the shaker 3/4 full of ice cubes. You can use the ice from the automatic ice maker on your freezer, just don’t use the crushed ice option for shaking.

Make sure you “double strain” the cocktail when pouring. That means you use your Hawthorne strainer to strain out the ice cubes while you pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any ice shards, lemon pulp, or seeds.

The bar spoon of cherry syrup from your jar of Luxardo cherries gives this cocktail the reddish color and a little extra sweetness. You can add two bar spoons if you want to be truly decadent. No judgement here!

I prefer it straight up in a coupe, but it wouldn’t be a crime to serve it on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass.

How I created this cocktail

There’s no way I’m the first person to ever put maraschino liqueur in a Whiskey Sour. But in all my research, I haven’t found a classic cocktail that creates the sour cherry flavor I was craving.

There are several internet recipes called “Cherry Whiskey Sour,” but they call for cherry juice rather than maraschino liqueur. Not what I was looking for.

The closest I found was the Tennessee Cocktail from David A. Embury’s 1948 classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. The Tennessee is 2 parts maraschino, 1 part lemon juice, and 6 parts whiskey. Embury has a very dry palate, and I wanted something sweeter and with a cherry-like color.

Cherry Whiskey Sour
Sour cocktails whet the appetite. Good thing you can eat the cherries.

So, I began with my golden ratio for sour cocktails and substituted maraschino for sugar. It wasn’t sweet enough, so I began adding simple syrup in 1/4 oz increments while adjusting the maraschino to balance with the lemon and whiskey.

After much experimentation, I settled on the proportions above. Then, on a whim, I added a bar spoon of syrup from my jar of Luxardo cherries.

That was it. The small amount of cherry syrup pushed this cocktail from good to great. The Home Cocktail Craft Cherry Sour was canonized.

Recommended spirits

Whiskey: I stay in bourbon territory for the Cherry Sour. When you use rye whiskeys, or even bourbons with high rye content, the spiciness of the rye can upset the balance with the maraschino.

My current favorite everyday bourbon for mixing is Old Forrester 86-Proof, but the cocktail shouldn’t be especially picky about bourbons. Bulleit Bourbon, Maker’s Mark, and Larceny are other options that should be widely available.

Maraschino liqueur: My favorite is Luxardo Maraschino Originale, and that’s what I used when I balanced the drink. Lazzaroni Maraschino is an alternative if you want to save a few bucks.

Missing some ingredients?

If you don’t have maraschino liqueur on hand, you can still make a cocktail right now. Try the classic Whiskey Sour. Or explore the Cocktail Finder to locate your next drink based on the liquor you already have.

2 thoughts on “Cherry Sour – Easy Whiskey Cocktail”

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! I had no Maraschino Liqueur but used Licor 43 – was a good one too. But ordered straight away a Maraschino Liqueur for next session at Amazon 😉

    Keep posting the stuff – followed you on Instagram as well.

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