What can you expect from this tangerine whiskey sour? “A seriously lovely grown-up drink.” “A friendly and no-stress cocktail.” “Not my father’s whiskey sour! And I’m not complaining.” That’s what folks are saying about this riff on an old-fashioned cocktail with notes of vanilla and caramel.Renee Schettler Rossi

A pitcher and 4 tumblers filled with amber colored whiskey sour.

Tangerine Whiskey Sour

5 / 2 votes
Tangerine whiskey sour is a riff on a classic cocktail and makes a party-friendly punch. Hiccup.
David Leite
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories244 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • Zest of 2 tangerines
  • 7 tablespoons fresh tangerine juice
  • 7 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar, (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
  • 1 1/4 cups bourbon
  • 1 large egg white*, (optional)
  • 6 strips orange zest (just the colored portion of the peel and not the underlying bitter white pith)
  • Dash Angostura or orange bitters


  • Place the tangerine zest and juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 3 minutes more, then strain the tangerine simple syrup into a glass pitcher or a jar and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  • Stash 6 tumblers in the freezer. You want them chilling for at least 30 minutes.
  • When you’re ready to serve the tangerine whiskey sour, fill each chilled tumbler with ice. Thoroughly whisk the chilled tangerine syrup together with the bourbon and the egg white, if using. Strain it into the tumblers, garnish with the orange peel, add a dash of bitters, and serve.


*Egg Safety Note

As with any recipe that relies on raw eggs, this tangerine whiskey sour recipe should be avoided by pregnant women, the very young, the elderly, the ill, and those with compromised immune systems. Here’s more useful egg safety information.

Adapted From

Do-Ahead Christmas

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Serving: 1 glassCalories: 244 kcalCarbohydrates: 17 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 15 mgPotassium: 91 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 16 gVitamin A: 73 IUVitamin C: 20 mgCalcium: 9 mgIron: 1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 James Ramsden. Photo © 2014 Clare Winfield. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This tangerine whiskey sour is not my father’s whiskey sour! And I’m not complaining one bit. I was concerned that the tangerine juice would render the whiskey sour too sweet, but it turns out the amount of lemon in the recipe is plenty to balance out the sweetness and make a delightfully tart and refreshing drink. And no need to restrict yourself to bourbon here (although I’m very fond of bourbon). A sour can be made with almost any liquor, so once you have a good sour mix, you can take it in many directions. I think a gin sour or a rum sour made with this mix might be particularly appealing.

This tangerine whiskey sour is a seriously lovely grown-up drink, and in the middle of winter, the tangerine notes give it a terrific top note of sweetness. It only takes a little work. I prepped and steeped the tangerine zest for over 2 hours (quite by accident as I forgot to strain it before chilling), and it was a beautiful color. Since I very careful to gently remove only the outermost zest, there was no bitterness. Of course, if you’re going to do this the day ahead, I’d be even more careful with that instruction before chilling because you might extract some less sweet flavor constituents. The drink is easily scaled up or down. I halved the recipe as it was just two of us. I used a generous dash of Angostura bitters, which made a nice contrast to the sweetness of the bourbon and citrus syrup, but orange bitters would have worked fine and layered the citrus in a slightly different direction—remember, this is a friendly and no-stress cocktail, so I would use whatever bitters you have or prefer. I used Copper City Bourbon from Arizona, Minneola tangerines and a Lisbon lemon. If you’re halving the recipe, weigh or measure the egg white, stir just enough to break up the proteins, and remove half (that should be about 25 grams or 1 tablespoon).

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Only in the past year has this Baby Boomer at the upper end of the age range gone back to the cocktails of my misspent youth. W.C. Fields said that a woman drove him to drink and he never thanked her. Well David I thank you for this totally yummy update!