Get excited, my fellow rum lovers — this classic rum sour is your perfect refreshing cocktail! Featuring a smooth, frothy topping that makes for an impressive presentation, the rum sour perfectly shows off a well-balanced cocktail with sweet and sour notes. Plus, this rum sour recipe is great for just about any occasion. After one sip, don’t be surprised if this becomes your new go-to rum cocktail you’ll want to enjoy again and again.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Allows the rum to shine: So many tropical rum cocktails include multiple fruit juices, so you miss the nuances of the rum. And that’s not a dig — I love my Painkiller cocktail with cream of coconut, pineapple juice and orange juice. But a high-quality dark rum is so delicious that sometimes you need to let it take center stage.
Makes you look like a master mixologist: With that beautiful frothy white topping, this drink is sure to get you plenty of accolades when you set it down in front of your guests.
Perfect for a fancy dinner party or casual backyard gathering: Sure, this cocktail is beautiful enough to serve at a classy occasion, but with that tropical Caribbean rum, it’s perfect for a little tiki party on the patio. Who doesn’t appreciate a versatile recipe that can stay in your back pocket?
Rum: We want a dark rum as the base liquor for this recipe. Getting deep into the rum world is incredibly complex, but to keep it simple, a dark rum is typically distilled from sugar cane molasses and then ages in charred oak barrels. The barrel-aging process imparts sweet vanilla, caramel and spice notes that make for a rich, complex spirit. I recommend getting the highest-quality dark rum that fits your budget.
Orgeat: This is a sweetener made from almonds. Orgeat is commonly used in rum tiki drinks, so I thought this would make a fun nod to rum’s Caribbean roots. Wow, it did not disappoint. To me, the orgeat really gives this rum sour a special touch.
Lemon juice: This is the classic citrus used in sour cocktails. Make sure you use fresh lemon juice. Bottled juice is not nearly as bright as real juice, and a good sour cocktail is all about using the best ingredients available.
Egg white: If you’re new to home bartending, this may sound weird, but egg white is actually a common cocktail ingredient. This is what gives us that silky topping.
Don’t worry – it doesn’t taste eggy whatsoever. Honestly, the topping is almost tasteless. It’s more about adding a velvety texture.
Bitters: I used the standard angostura bitters. Again, I really want to let that rum shine. That said, I’m sure this rum sour would work well with orange bitters or spiced bitters, like ginger or cardamom.
Step 1: We begin by adding the rum, orgeat, lemon juice, egg white and a couple dashes of bitters to a cocktail shaker (photo 1). At this point, we do not add ice.
Step 2: Now we shake the drink for 30 seconds (photo 2). This is what’s known as the dry shake.
Step 3: After the dry shake, we remove the top and add ice (photo 3).
Step 4: Now we shake the drink again with the ice (photo 4). And you guessed it – this is our wet shake.
Step 5: For our final step, we strain the rum sour into a chilled coupe, sour or martini glass (photo 5). If you’re feeling fancy, a lemon twist makes a lovely garnish.
Both have rum, citrus and a sweetener, but a few differences between the two make for very different drinks and flavor profiles. Traditionally, a daiquiri uses white rum, simple syrup and lime juice while a rum sour uses dark rum and lemon juice. Simple syrup is also common in a sour, but you’ll see more variations of sweetener like you do here with the orgeat. A sour also typically includes the egg white topping, which a daiquiri does not.
You can make the sour cocktail base ahead of time, but you have to make the egg white topping just before serving. This allows you to more quickly prepare batches for a party. The proportions and directions are available in the notes section of the recipe card.
These days, the risk that comes with using a raw egg white is minimal. For extra safe serving, use inspected eggs with no cracks and store them in the coldest part of your refrigerator in the original container. Pasteurized eggs are also great if you’re worried.
We have two easy options to chill the cocktail glass with one requiring just a touch of planning while the other you can do as you whip up the drink. For the first option, store the cocktail glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes – it’s as simple as that.
If you forget or make this sour cocktail on a whim, fill the serving glass with cold ice water while mixing. Just before serving, stir the ice water for about 30 seconds and then pour the water and ice down the sink. Just like that, you have a chilled glass.
I love serving this in a sour glass, which is specifically designed with an outwardly curved edge. This helps to guide that egg white topping directly onto your tongue and usher in the rum’s wonderful fragrance. Beyond the functionality, these glasses make a beautiful presentation.
Of course, this is a specialty glass that not everyone keeps in stock. Instead, a coupe glass or even a martini glass work great. An old fashioned glass also takes care of the job.
Substitute for orgeat: Matt and I tried this rum sour with both orgeat and simple syrup. We both agreed the orgeat gave this cocktail an even more delicious touch, but the version with simple syrup is still great. If you only have simple syrup, you can substitute that for orgeat.
For those hesitant about that egg white: While recommended for best results, you can leave out the egg white or use an alternative frothing product. Again, the egg white does not give the cocktail a weird taste – I know that can sound bizarre to someone who has never had an egg white cocktail. The rum sour will still be delicious without it, but you’ll miss that wonderful texture.
Of course, some people have allergies or just aren’t comfortable using a raw egg. In that case, you can use Fee Foam, which does not include any egg product.
If you’re using a metal cocktail shaker: You might find using a mason jar with a solid lid is easier for the dry shake, and then you can use a regular cocktail shaker for the wet shake. In general, metal cocktail shakers rely on the cold ice to help create the seal while shaking, so the dry shake can get a bit messy and leak.
We don’t want to waste that precious drink. A lidded jar takes care of that. If you don’t have a jar like that, you might want to wrap the shaker in a kitchen towel for the dry shake.
Pick the right lemon: Get a lemon that has some give when you gently squeeze it. A hard lemon is a sign that it’s dried out.
This rum-based cocktail calls for a Caribbean-inspired meal. Start with a bowl of my mango-habanero salsa or tropical pico de gallo and follow that up some lobster tacos, jerk chicken or jerk pork. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with some coconut-lime rice or bacon macaroni salad on the side. For dessert, my spiced orange tres leches is perfect with the vanilla and caramel flavors of the dark rum.
Sounds like one delicious meal, huh? You’re about to be full and happy.
For a cocktail that perfectly celebrates this favorite Caribbean spirit, I hope you make this rum sour. It’s the perfect refresher for any occasion.
Looking for More Rum Cocktails?
- Cocktail shaker or mason jar with solid lid
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- Handheld citrus juicer
- 2 ounces dark rum
- 1 ounce orgeat
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 fresh egg white
- 2-3 dashes of angostura bitters
- Lemon twist for garnish, optional
- Add the dark rum, orgeat, lemon juice, egg white and bitters to the cocktail shaker or mason jar without ice. Seal and shake for 30 seconds. This is the dry shake.
- Open the shaker or jar and add a big handful of ice. Seal and shake vigorously for a minute or two. This is the wet shake, and it's a longer shake to properly build the topping froth.
- Strain into a chilled sour, coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist if desired. Enjoy!
- If you'd like to make a 12-serving batch ahead of time, stir together 3 cups rum, 1 ½ cups orgeat and 1 ½ cups lemon juice together in a pitcher and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you're ready to serve, add 4 ounces of the rum mixture per drink to the cocktail shaker along with the bitters and egg white for each drink. Proceed with the rest of the recipe. I recommend making one to two drinks at a time.
- While I think orgeat gives this drink the best flavor, you can substitute it for simple syrup.
- Some cocktail shakers don't seal very well without ice. If your cocktail shaker leaks during the dry shake, you might want to wrap a kitchen towel around it for the first shake or use a mason jar with a solid lid. You can use a cocktail shaker for the wet shake or continue to use the jar. When straining with the mason jar, left the lid so that the liquid can come out but the ice stays in the jar.
- Get a lemon that has some give when you gently squeeze it. A hard lemon is a sign that it’s dried out. I only recommend using fresh juice, not bottled juice.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.