This Rum Sour is an absolutely delicious classic cocktail that tastes as fabulous as it looks! This is the best Rum Sour and one of my go-to drinks. The combination of sweet and sour, plus the contrast between dark rum and lemon, sets this drink apart. Dark rum gives this cocktail a refreshing warmth that makes it perfect for sipping any time of year!
The Rum Sour's origins can be traced back to 1862, as shared in The Bartender's Guide by Jerry Thomas, but its history extends even further back. Our take on this classic cocktail adds a touch of sophistication with aged dark Jamaican rum that's sure to bring you a taste of the tropics.
Unlike some other sour cocktails, such as the Amaretto Stone Sour or this Pink Gin Sour, the Rum Sour recipe uses egg whites. This not-so-secret ingredient lends a frothy texture and a creamy mouthfeel to the cocktail, making it delightfully smooth and enjoyable.
The Rum Sour is really one of those cocktails that's super versatile! It works in any season. Sip it on a balmy summer day or serve it at a cozy winter holiday party! If you're looking for something similar to the Rum Sour, consider trying the Aperol Sour or the Passionfruit Mango Sour. Both of these drinks share the same mix of sweet and sour flavors, complemented by a smooth, creamy texture from the egg whites. Or, the tasty New York Sour is a similar drink with the striking addition of a red wine layer on top.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to whip up this drink:
- Dark rum - I'm using Appleton Estate 8 year old Reserve Rum, a delicious aged rum with hints of spice, fruits, honey, and vanilla.
- Lemon juice - freshly squeezed juice is preferable, but bottled juice works in a pinch.
- Simple syrup - you can use store bought simple syrup, or give my homemade simple syrup a try!
- Egg whites - I like using pasteurized egg whites, but you can also use fresh egg whites.
- Optional Garnish - I used a dehydrated lemon, along with cocktail bitters on top of the drink. You can either float the lemon on top of the foam, or clip it to the side with a mini clothespin or other clean alligator clip.
Here are some ways you can substitute the ingredients in this cocktail:
- Rum - if you don't have dark rum, you can try using whiskey, aged brandy, or reposado tequila.
- Sour Mix - if you prefer to use a premade sour mix, you can use it in place of the lemon juice and simple syrup. Just keep in mind that sour mix has both lemon and lime, so the flavors will be different.
- Egg whites - for a vegan version, you can replace the egg whites with aquafaba (chickpea juice). Or, try Fee Brothers fee foam, a non-egg white alternative for a foamy cocktail.
- Syrup - instead of simple syrup, maple syrup or agave nectar both work great.
Here are some variations on this recipe:
- No-foam version - you can easily make this drink without the egg whites. Just combine all the other ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake it up. Serve it over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass. You can top it off with seltzer if you want some bubbles!
- Spiced Rum - try using spiced rum in place of the dark rum in this drink. It will give some extra dimension with the different flavor notes in the rum.
- Orgeat - try using this delicious almond-flavored syrup in place of the simple syrup. It brings an extra layer of flavor and goes so well with both the rum and the lemon!
- Keto-Friendly Rum Sour- it's easy to make this into a keto-friendly drink. Just switch out the simple syrup for syrup made with a sugar-free sweetener. You can try this Wholesome Yum syrup, or make your own. (Allulose is the best for making sugar free syrup!)
- Virgin - if you're avoiding alcohol, you can use an alcohol substitute in place of the hard stuff. Ritual Rum Alternative is a perfect replacement for rum in your rum sour cocktail. The flavors are just as deep and complex as their alcoholic counterpart.
To make this drink, you'll need a cocktail shaker and strainer, a jigger, and a cocktail serving glass. I used this gorgeous Luna & Mantha coupe glass.
Optionally, you can also grab a fine mesh strainer. If you're using fresh lemon, a cutting board, knife, and citrus juicer will come in handy. A milk frother also can help if you are having trouble creating the foam.
Looking for any new bar equipment? Definitely check out the products from A Bar Above! You can get 10% off using my discount code, LKDrinks. Their bar tools are super durable, beautiful and also can be thrown in the dishwasher when you're done mixing!
Prepare and pour fresh lemon juice into the cocktail shaker glass.
Add simple syrup and dark rum to the cocktail shaker.
Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously, about 15-20 times.
Strain out the ice and add the egg whites.
Seal the shaker without ice and do a dry shake for about a minute, or you can use a milk foamer to froth up the mixture. (Note: The foamer works well, but it creates larger bubbles, so they don't last quite as long as shaking by hand.)
Pour the mixture into your cocktail glass, optionally straining it through a fine mesh strainer as you pour.
Use your bitters bottle to add a few drops of bitters to the top of the foam.
You can use a cocktail pick or toothpick and drag it through the drop to make a heart style design.
Clip the dehydrated lemon to the rum of the glass, and serve.
Hint: If you can, chill your glass before making the drink for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Using a chilled coupe glass will help your drink stay colder longer!
Frequently Asked Questions
Although they are similar drinks if you compare the ingredients, the daiquiri and rum sour taste very different. Dark rum and lemon juice feature in a classic rum sour, whereas a daiquiri is typically made with light rum and lime juice.
Sour cocktails are usually made with a base spirit, a sweet ingredient and a sour ingredient, typically in a 2:1:1 ratio (2 of spirit, 1 of sweet, 1 of sour). If you follow this basic structure you can make yourself any kind of delicious sour cocktail!
Creating the layer of foam on top is all about the "dry shake". This just means shaking it without ice. If you're having trouble getting good foam with your dry shake, there are a couple things you can do to make it easier.
First, try using a milk frother, or even a blender, instead of doing a dry shake. This is great if you have any mobility issues. Second, just shake harder, for a longer amount of time. You may need to shake for a minute or more to get a truly creamy foam.
Last, you can try adding either the spring of a Hawthorne strainer or a blender ball into the cocktail shaker while you shake. This will help aerate the liquid and make the bubbles form faster!
- dehydrated lemon (Note: you can also use lemon peel or a fresh lemon slice)
- 3 drops bitters (I used Scrappy's Bitters)
- Add the lemon juice, rum and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill the shaker with ice and shake well about 15-20 times.
- Strain out the ice, and add the egg whites. (Use a tumbler to collect the liquid if you don't have a 2-sided cocktail shaker.)
- Seal the shaker without ice, and do a dry shake for at least a minute. If you prefer, you can use a milk foamer to froth up the mixture.
- Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into your cocktail glass.
- Use your bitters bottle to add a few drops of bitters to the top of the foam.
- Using a cocktail pick or toothpick, drag through the drop of bitters to make a heart style design.
- Clip the dehydrated lemon to the rim of the glass, and serve.
- Egg Whites - I used pasteurized egg whites, but you can also use fresh egg whites if you prefer. Or, you can use aquafaba (liquid from cooking chick peas) or a store bought cocktail foamer for a vegan option.
- Syrup - You can substitute in maple syrup if you don't have simple syrup. Or, try using Orgeat for some delicious almond flavor.
- If you prefer to omit the egg whites, just make it with the same ingredients. You can either serve it up with no ice, or serve in a lowball glass with ice. Try topping with seltzer if it's too strong for you.