A Vodka Sour is a classic vodka cocktail that’s light and refreshing with the perfect balance of sweet and tart. This cocktail recipe is easy to make with a mix of vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and a frothy egg white. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and you have the perfect drink for happy hour!

vodka sour drink in a coupe glass with a twist of lemon

If you’ve been following along for any length of time, you know that I LOVE a good lemon cocktail. And this vodka sour might just be my favorite of all time! This is a great before dinner drink or after dinner dessert drink and a fabulous choice when you want a cocktail with a bit of pucker and a hint of sweetness. You can also adapt it to suit your personal taste and have fun adding other flavors to the mix.

Easy to whip up and oh so delicious to sip on. Guaranteed to get rave reviews any time it’s served. It’s one of those simple, comforting cocktails that works so well at the end of a busy day because it’s effortless, but provides big flavor! You’re sure to adore this cocktail just as much as I do!

What is a sour cocktail?

Sour cocktails are one of the oldest cocktail families and truly my favorite! A sour cocktail is made with fresh citrus juice, though you will see pre-made mixes out there. For the vodka sour, we’re using fresh lemon juice. Sours typically have a base liquor, fresh citrus and a sweetener. Occasionally, egg white is added to a sour drink to smooth it out and add a lovely foaminess on top.

There are many variations to the sour cocktail. You can use a splash of club soda or a bit of champagne to lighten the cocktail. The mix of spirit, sour and sweet is so popular and pleasing there are endless variations, and can include muddled herbs or fruit or infusions. Common sour drinks are:

vodka sour cocktail served in a coupe glass with a garnish of lemon

Ingredients needed to make a vodka sour:

Like many of the best cocktails, the vodka sour requires just a few ingredients. Here’s the simple lineup:

  • Vodka. For best results use a good quality, pure flavored vodka, but to keep it simple, just use what you have on hand!
  • Fresh lemon juice. I recommend freshly squeezing your lemon juice, instead of store-bought. It’s so much more flavorful! You’ll need one small lemon for 1 ounce in this recipe. And don’t forget the lemon peel for a fun garnish!
  • Simple syrup. to balance out the vodka and the tart lemon juice. Agave nectar or honey is a decent substitute in a pinch!
  • Pasteurized egg white. for that fancy white foam on top!
  • Angostura bitters. adds a bit of spice and depth to the cocktail. If you don’t have any on hand, feel free to omit. You could also substitute orange or grapefruit bitters, if you prefer.

How to make a vodka sour:

The vodka sour cocktail has a fancy presentation with that frothy topping, but the method for making this recipe is so easy and comes together super quick. Here’s the details:

  1. Shake ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, or until the outside of the shaker is chilled and beginning to condensate. 
  2. Pour. Strain into your preferred glass. In the photos, here, I’m using a coupe glass, but a lowball glass would also work. 
  3. Enjoy! Garnish with a lemon wedge or a twist of lemon and enjoy!
using a jigger to pour vodka into a cocktail shaker

Tips for success:

  • Pasteurized egg white. I highly recommend using a pasteurized egg white in this recipe, as it lowers the risk of contracting food-borne illness from the raw egg white. They’re available in most grocery stores, in the same area as the regular eggs.
  • Simple syrup. This will sweeten the drink slightly, but if you prefer a more tart vodka sour, feel free to leave it out. You can make a full batch of simple syrup, but to make a small batch, just enough for this cocktail recipe, combine 2 teaspoons of water and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the sugar is fully dissolved. Chill briefly before using.  
  • Balance of sweet and tart. If you find the drink to be a little too tart, add more syrup next time. Likewise, if it’s a bit too sweet for your taste, pour more lemon juice or use less simple syrup.
  • Add a twist of lemon for garnish. You can keep things simple and just add a lemon wedge for garnish, but I love the addition of a lemon twist for a really pretty presentation. To make a lemon twist, use a vegetable peeler to remove a long piece of lemon peel from a whole lemon. Twist it up and it should hold a curl shape. For a thinner lemon twist, you can use this method.

Variations:

There’s so many ways to alter this recipe to make it your own creation. Here’s a few ideas:

  • For a fun twist on the flavor: add up to 1 ounce of your preferred flavoring! Lime juice, pomegranate juice, orange juice, blood orange liqueur, or chambord. The possibilities are endless!
  • To make a cherry vodka sour: add about 1/4 ounce of grenadine to this current recipe and garnish with a cherry. Or you can use a cherry infused vodka. The egg white is typically omitted in a cherry vodka sour.
  • Add extra flavor with a fruit infused vodka. 
  • Enjoy a bit of bubbly with the addition of club soda or Sprite.

Vegan vodka sour:

You can make this vodka sour completely vegan and still add the foamy topping! Rather than using an egg white, substitute two tablespoons of aquafaba and shake as directed.

woman's hand holding a vodka sour cocktail

That’s all I have for today! As usual, if you end up making this cocktail, please snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling! I always love to see what y’all are making from the blog!

More simple cocktails to try:

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vodka sour drink in a coupe glass with a twist of lemon

Vodka Sour


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

A Vodka Sour is a classic vodka cocktail that’s light and refreshing with the perfect balance of sweet and tart. This cocktail recipe is easy to make with a mix of vodka, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and a frothy egg white. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and you have the perfect drink for happy hour!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces vodka 
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 ounce simple syrup 
  • 1 large pasteurized egg white 
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters, optional

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, or until the outside of the shaker is chilled and beginning to condensate. 
  2. Strain into your preferred glass (I’m using a coupe glass, but a lowball glass would also work.) 
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge and enjoy!

Notes

Flavor Variations: For a fun twist on a vodka sour, add up to 1 ounce of your preferred flavoring! Lime juice, pomegranate juice, grenadine, orange juice, blood orange liqueur, chambord –  the possibilities are endless! 

Vegan Variation: Rather than using an egg white, substitute two tablespoons of aquafaba and shake as directed. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vodka sour, vodka cocktail, sour cocktail