A bourbon-fueled Tiki classic from Trader Vic
It’s a new year, so time to discover a new drink. Allow us to present the Eastern Sour Cocktail.
This one is a tasty mix of bourbon, orange juice, lemon juice, and orgeat syrup. Which makes it perfect for winter, we think. All that citrus has to be great for combating colds and flu.
To your health!
Recipe: The Eastern Sour Cocktail
Tiki drinks tend to be rum based. But when Polynesian-themed restaurants were reaching the height of their popularity after World War II, most drinkers in the US preferred whiskey and gin. So Tiki bars always included some drinks featuring those spirits. Hence, the Eastern Sour Cocktail.
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces orange juice (fresh squeezed is best, but bottled works)
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ ounce orgeat syrup
- ¼ ounce Simple Syrup
- garnish of orange or lemon wedge/twist (optional)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Cover and shake hard until the contents are well chilled (about 20 seconds).
- Strain into an ice-filled rocks (Old-Fashioned) glass or a cocktail glass. Add garnish, if desired, and serve.
- Many drinkers like to serve the Eastern Sour in a cocktail glass. We prefer it on the rocks. But feel free to try it both ways.
- You can use any decent brand of bourbon for this drink.
- Fresh-squeezed lemon juice tastes way better than bottled, so we always recommend it.
- Fresh-squeezed OJ tastes better than the commercial stuff, too. But bottled works fine in this drink.
- Some versions of this drink substitute lime juice for lemon. We prefer lemon, but you may want to try the lime option.
- You can use more or less OJ than we call for (+/- ½ ounce or so). Feel free to experiment.
- You can buy bottled simple syrup, but it’s really easy to make your own Homemade Simple Syrup. And it costs only pennies, rather than dollars.
- Trader Vic (Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr) founded a chain of Polynesian-themed restaurants bearing his name. He and his great competitor, Donn Beach (founder of Don the Beachcomber restaurants), created most of the Tiki drinks we know today.
The picture of health
“Big drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “I’d call this one healthy pour.”
“Yup,” I said. “We’re getting our quotient of Vitamin C.”
“This should ward off colds until next year,” said Mrs K R.
“And it’s much tastier than a kale smoothie,” I said. “My kind of health drink.”
“Maybe you should refill my prescription for this,” said Mrs K R, handing me her glass.
Glad to! It’s just what the witch doctor ordered.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Royal Hawaiian Cocktail
Mai Tai Cocktail
Paradise Cooler Cocktail
Planter's Punch Cocktail
Singapore Sling Cocktail
Vicious Virgin Cocktail
Or check out the index for more
Whoa,so gorgeous! And with those health benefits, who I'm I to refuse ;)
Hi Liz, we all want to be healthy this year, right? :D Thanks for the comment.
Oh yes! I love the bright flavors but I'm not familiar with orgeat syrup - doing to look that one up. Hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season.
Hi Tricia, orgeat syrup has an almond flavor that's really enticing -- worth getting to know. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I wasn’t familiar with oreageat syrup either but I like anything almond flavored , I will have to get it. But what I do remember are the Trader Vic restaurants and their tiki drinks. Prost!
I want to come to cocktail hour at your place! Beautiful drink. I used to go to Trader Vic's in LA. Was always a good time. :-)
Hi Gerlinde, Trader Vic restaurants still exist, but mainly overseas. There are only 3 left in the US, whereas Dubai alone has 3! Weird. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Your obviously awesome liquor cabinet (including mixers etc) is rivaled only by your equally awesome supply of puns and gags. Nice post -- as always it ALMOST makes me want to switch from wine to cocktails.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Valentina, you'd be very welcome. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Mae, although we certainly enjoy the flavor of cocktails, it's really the history and stories about them that we really enjoy. That's our story, and we're sticking to it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Awesome! To your healthy, John!
I love bourbon but not so crazy about orange juice, but this looks good. It would be a great way to get some Vitamin C! :-)
Hi Angie, our New Year's resolution is to become healthier. :D Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, OJ actually makes a pretty good cocktail ingredient. :-) Thanks for the comment.
In all my tippling, I'd never heard of orgeat syrup either. You're keeping me on my toes, John.
Hahaha! I'll take this over a kale smoothie any day :). Love all that citrusy flavor!
Hi Terry, orgeat is good stuff, and often used in Tiki drinks. Worth getting to know. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Kelsie, yup, kale smoothies are overrated. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I actually own orgeat syrup, so I can make this! However, may I switch out the bourbon for gin?
Hi Mimi, I haven't used gin in this drink, but it'd probably work (totally different flavor, but good, I think). It's certainly worth an experiment -- let me know how it turns out! Thanks for the comment.
This sounds like a great way to beat off the winter blues and keep the sniffles at bay!
We definitely do not want to get scurvy so here is a toast to the delicious high in vitamin C Eastern Sour. Looks stunning!
I love orgeat. I use it in fruit salads, in addition to drinks. This sounds like something I could use at this moment! Happy New Year John!
Hi Emma, gotta fight the sniffles! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, fighting scurvy is job 1, isn't it? Or something like that. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Abbe, orgeat has such nice flavor! Love the stuff. Havne't used it in a salad -- need to try that. Thanks for the comment.
Happy New Year! Love a good cocktail. You nailed it again. I was not familiar with "orgeat syrup" had to Google it. Very interesting. I don't believe I have come across this flavored syrup.
Looking forward to following your blog this year.
All the best,
Now this is a drink I need in my life! I’ve never had orgeat before!
Hi Velva, orgeat is great -- you'll like. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Ashley, you DO need this in your life! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Amazing color ☺
Lovely winter drink. Happy New Year to you and best wishes for a great one!!
Hi Natalia, and great flavor! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Dahn, isn't it nice? Happy New Year, and thanks for the comment.
I LOVE this one, big bourbon fan as you say, got the drink lots to prevent colds and flus :-) Happy New year to you and the Mrs.
Happy New Year! I think the Eastern Sour would go over well in our house.
Hi Evelyne, preventing colds and flu is a priority at hour house! :-) Thanks for the comment, and Happy New Year!
Hi Lydia, this has wonderful flavor -- definitely worth a try. Happy New Year, and thanks for the comment.
John, yes, I really do need to take better care of my "health" this winter! I will make this strictly for medicinal purposes, of course.
Hi Jean, we're looking out for your "health!" :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks delicious and refreshing! I love fresh citrus flavors this time of year.
Hi Amy, yup, we definitely crave citrus in the winter -- it's SO good! Thanks for the comment.
This looks like a fabulous starter for a Sunday brunch. Not a big champagne drinker so mimosas usually don't appeal to me, but I love bourbon and orange juice. Had to look up orgeat syrup which made this drink even more appealing. Nice cocktail John!
Hi MJ, this WOULD make a great brunch cocktail. Good idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.
ooh this looks and sounds very refreshing. perfect on a hot brisbane summer night:) cheers sherry
I happen to have all the ingredients for this! And, guess what? It’s Friday! And you know what that means? Cocktails after work… (I generally see if cocktails for the weekend… It’s a way to make them more special.) I should check your blog for more recipes that use orgeat syrup. I just bought a new bottle because my old bottle had gone bad. I don’t want that to happen again… I guess I need to drink more cocktails during the week!
Hi Sherry, this is a nice drink for us because citrus is in peak season, but a wonderful one for you because this is a great way to beat the heat. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi David, we usually do cocktails only on weekends too. Otherwise, that would be the path for madness! Probably our favorite cocktail that uses orgeat is the Mai Tai -- a wonderful drink. Thanks for the comment.
Everything citrus really brightens the winter months. What a fabulous way to enjoy the season.
Hi Deb, it's snowing here today, so we need one of these to brighten the day! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks like a delicious cocktail and as usual I love your beautiful photography. --Rocquie
I have been reading all about how whiskey is practically a cure all, and my grandfather always believed it, so it was instilled in me even before it became a trend. This cocktail is quite the pretty color.
Hi Rocquie, it IS delicious. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, whiskey IS a cure-all. Until it isn't. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Wow how beautiful is this! Yes I'm sure it would help ward off any colds and the flu. I love those glasses who makes them?
Hi Vicki, not sure who makes those glasses, but you can get them at Amazon (at least you could last year). They're fun, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.
Wow, the color is so bright , makes me feel happy :).
Hi Amra, cool color, huh? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Beautiful like a sunshine!
Hi Denise, both beautiful and tasty -- perfect combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
My kind of health drink as well. We are starting to prefer bourbon and whiskey based cocktails over here and I know this will be on the menu for cocktail hour soon! Cheers!
Hi Debra, bourbon is a wonderful liquor for cocktails! Rye, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I just had a Margarita in Borrego Springs, Calif. It was blended with ice and turned out like a giant 'slushie.' Looks like I should have ordered an 'Eastern Sour', instead!
Hi Fran, this drink is actually served as a kind of "slushie" too -- often it's poured from the shaker without straining, so the ice used to chill the drink becomes the ice in the glass. We prefer fresh ice for the glass, though. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Such memories your post invoke. Business Lunches at Trader Vic's in Seattle were a weekly thing for me back in the eighties and many of a tiki umbrella I did purchase. But, I don't remember this one. Love bourbon and OJ so this works for me. As winter is blowing here, the thought of a beach and tiki drink sounds awfully good.
Hi Ron, Trader Vic's was a hoot! Great drinks. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Now that's a sip of sunshine in the dreary days of winter. Salute!
Hi Carolyn, we had about a foot of snow this weekend, so we NEED sunshine! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This HAS to be good for you with so much healthy citrus juice. Another great cocktail creation with a decent dose of bourbon, very nice indeed :)
Hi Merryn, tastes good, and good for you -- winner! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'll agree that this cocktail must taste better than a kale smoothie :) I've had citrus with vodka, but never bourbon. This sounds like a nice drink and I will have to give it try, John!
Orgeat added to a whiskey sour is an example of Tiki bars knowing their customers and staying true to their brand. I'm sure this was a hit in its day and I'm glad you rediscovered it for us. GREG
Hi Marcelle, bourbon is a great mixer -- a wonderful cocktail ingredient. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Greg, Tiki drinks are so interesting, aren't they? Don Beach and Trader Vic were SO GOOD at figuring ut new drinks. Thanks for the comment.
I love sours, and this cocktail has all of my favorite ingredients in it! What a great way to start the year. Happy 2019!
Hi Lisa, sours are good, aren't they? Thanks for the comment, and Happy New Year~
I love the idea of using this cocktail to fight the flu with all the citrus in it...sounds an looks delicious John...thanks for the recipe.
Have a wonderful week!
Hi Juliana, flu fighting is very important. :-) Thanks for the comment.
So, I couldn't find orgeat syrup so we subbed in sour orange. Pretty tasty still...
Hi Debra, orgeat can be hard to find sometimes. Sour orange sounds good. You could use almond syrup, too. Glad you liked it!
Where has the eastern sour been all my life? It sounds fantastic.
Hi Jeff, it IS fantastic. Enjoy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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