12 Popular Sweet and Sour Mixed Drinks

Bartender adding squeezed lemon to cocktail

Sweet and sour mixed drinks are incredibly versatile; they're perfect for nearly every scenario, be it a family brunch, professional dinner, or bachelorette party. You can amp up or tamper down the sweet or sour sides of these cocktails to satisfy your specific tastebuds, and there's a sweet and sour recipe for you no matter what your go-to spirit is. Grab your shopping list and get ready to take a look at these twelve different sweet and sour mixed drinks.

Sweet and Sour Mixed Drinks

Sours are a traditional cocktail with many variations. The aim with a sour is the perfect balance between sweet and sour elements. Sours typically follow a formula of 1 part sweet (simple syrup, sweetener, or a cordial/liqueur), 1 part sour (often citrus juice or another tart juice), and 2 parts strong (a hard liquor). The result is classic traditional cocktails such as the margarita, the daiquiri, the kamikaze, and the caipirhina. With so many possible flavors for simple syrups, various options for different sour elements, and many liqueur and hard liquor flavors available, the possibilities are endless.

Sweet and Sour Drink Recipes

These sweet and sour cocktails are simple to make, and every experienced bartender should know at last one or two variations of the recipes by heart. These classics offer versions of traditional sours.

Cointreau Cosmopolitan

Notable as both a popular magazine and cocktail, the cosmopolitan cuts cranberry juice with lemon and Cointreau for a delightful pairing. While this calls for Cointreau, you can use any orange liqueur in its place as your sweet element. As a variation, up the pucker by replacing the vodka with a citrus flavored vodka.

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce 100% cranberry juice
  • ¾ ounce Cointreau
  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Ice
  • Lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, cranberry juice, Cointreau, and vodka. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  2. Strain the mixture into a martini glass and juice the lime wedge on top.
  3. Stir the drink and garnish with a lemon twist.
    Two Cosmopolitan Cocktail Drinks

Classic Daiquiri

A staple of any beachfront bar, an average daiquiri can be camouflaged to take on a myriad of flavors by adding fruit juices or syrups to the original recipe. This is the classic daiquiri recipe.

Instructions

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces white rum
  • Ice
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Ingredients

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lime juice, simple syrup, and rum. Add ice and shake to chill.
  2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with a lime wheel.
    Classic Lime Daiquiri Cocktail with a Garnish

Sloe Gin Fizz

The sloe gin fizz is an expansion of the sour; a cocktail known as a fizz that is a traditional sour finished with a fizzy element. A beloved gin cocktail, the sloe gin fizz brings a brightness to your palate due to its fizzing bubbles and tart flavor.

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1½ ounces sloe gin
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, and sloe gin. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  2. Strain the mixture into a highball glass filled with ice and top with club soda.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Homemade Sloe Gin Fizz

Whiskey Sour

The whiskey sour is a seminal drink for whiskey fans and combines whiskey with lemon juice and adds egg white to create a lovely froth on top.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • Ice
  • Cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and whiskey. Dry shake (shake without ice) for about 20 seconds. Don't skip the dry shake, as this is what allows the egg whites to foam.
  2. Add ice and shake to chill.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass or whiskey tumbler filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a cherry.
Refreshing Whiskey Sour Cocktail with a Cherry

Enjoy Traditional Sweet and Sour Drinks

These sweet and sour recipes have survived decades, and even centuries, to be consumed by you and your friends. Here are a few cocktails that have truly lasted a lifetime.

Applejack

A less-common apple spirit, Applejack, is a fundamental ingredient to this old school cocktail.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 ounces grenadine
  • 2 ounces applejack
  • Ice
  • Apple slices for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients. Add ice and shake for about fifteen seconds.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with an apple slice.
Simple cocktail with apple chips on bar counter

The President

The president is a balanced rum drink which employs the sweetness of grenadine to combat the sourness of the orange and lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce grenadine
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 2 ounces white rum
  • Ice
  • 1 orange twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker combine the lemon juice, grenadine, orange juice, and rum. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  2. Strain the mixture into a coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with an orange twist.
    Fresh home made cocktails

Armagnac Sidecar

Considered the most popular Cognac mixed drink, the sidecar goes for a simple recipe combining cognac, lemon juice, and Cointreau for a refreshing flavor. This version substitutes another popular French brandy, Armagnac.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon wedge
  • Sugar
  • ¾ ounces lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce Cointreau
  • 1½ ounces Armagnac
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Rub the rim of a coupe glass with lemon wedge and stamp it into a plate full of sugar to rim the glass.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the lemon juice, Cointreau, and Armagnac. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into the prepared coupe.
Classic Sidecar Cocktail with a Sugared Rim

Experiment With Spirits and Sweet and Sour Combnations

These are a few different recipes which experiment with unique flavors and combinations and are perfect choices if you really want to pack a lot of flavor into a small glass.

Bone Crusher

This complex drink mixes together a heap of different spirits and juices, and it's perfect if you're looking to only have to drink one cocktail to get you through the night.

Ingredients

  • ¼ ounce grenadine
  • ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces sour mix
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce light rum
  • ½ ounce gin
  • 1 ounce dry Champagne or sparkling white wine
  • Ice
  • 1 lemon twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the grenadine, lime juice, sour mix, triple sec, vodka, rum, and gin. Add ice and shake to chill.
  2. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with Champagne.
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Layered drink with pomegranate

Joe Collins

An interesting variation on the Tom Collins, a Joe Collins uses scotch and incorporates the sweet flavor of cola to create a drink you could easily pair with a sandwich at lunchtime.

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1½ ounce scotch
  • Cola
  • Ice
  • Cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine lemon juice, simple syrup, and scotch. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  2. Strain mixture into a rocks glass full of ice.
  3. Top with cola and garnish with a cherry.
A glass of joe collins and ice cubes with fresh ripe cherries as a garnish

Junebug

This electric colored cocktail goes for a tropical flavor by combining banana liqueur, pineapple juice, coconut rum, and midori.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce sour mix
  • ¾ ounce coconut rum
  • ¾ ounce banana liqueur
  • 1 ounce Midori
  • Ice
  • Pineapple cubes for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the pineapple juice, sour mix, coconut rum, banana liqueur, and Midori. Add ice and shake to chill.
  2. Strain the mixture into a collins glass full of ice.
  3. Garnish with pineapple.
Junebug Cocktail

Grape Russian Tea

This unique recipe uses grape schnapps, coke, vodka, and sour mix to create a deeper flavor than most of the sweet and sour cocktails on this list.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces sour mix
  • 1 ounce grape schnapps
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • Ice
  • 1 ounce cola
  • Orange twist for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the sour mix, vodka, and grape schnapps. Add ice and shake to chill.
  2. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with the cola and garnish with the orange twist.
Dark cocktail garnished with an orange twist on a dark bar setting

Russian Sunset

Another drink that focuses on the citrus flavors, the Russian sunset is bright and tart and pretty easy to put together.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces sour mix
  • 2 ounces triple sec
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Ice
  • Dash of grenadine
  • Cherry for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the sour mix, triple sec, and vodka. Add ice and shake to chill.
  2. Strain the mixture into a hurricane glass filled with ice and top with a splash of grenadine.
  3. Garnish with a cherry.
Hands Holding Cocktails Against Sea At Sunset

Sip on Sweet and Sour Mixed Drinks

The best thing about experimenting with sweet and sour cocktails is that there is so much room to personalize a recipe to your preference of the sweet-sour ratio. So, grab some citrus juice, a dash of grenadine, and get mixing.

Was this page useful?
Related & Popular
12 Popular Sweet and Sour Mixed Drinks