The Story Behind The Johnnie Walker Smokey Sour

The Whisky Sour occupies the perfect middle ground between a light, refreshing highball and stirred, spirit-forward cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan. Whisky brings full flavor to the table and lemon juice adds a jolt of lively acidity, while simple syrup rounds out the edges and keeps everything in check.

Is this combination delicious? Absolutely. Would we consider it a “complex” cocktail? Perhaps not. But to paraphrase a quote from the rum world: What one whisky can’t accomplish, two can. To add an extra layer of flavor in your Whisky Sour, simply swap out half an ounce of the base Scotch, and replace it with an equal amount of peated whisky. With its approachable and versatile character, Johnnie Walker Black works as the perfect foundation. As for peat, a little goes a very long way with Lagavulin, and you’ll be surprised by the huge impact just a small splash has in this cocktail.

Find out how to make the Smokey Sour in the video below.

This article is part of a series, Art of the Riff, sponsored by Johnnie Walker. Discover more about Scotch cocktails here!


  • 1 1/2 ounces Johnnie Walker Black
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce Lagavulin
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • Garnish: lemon wheel


  1. Add Johnnie Walker Black, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters to a shaker.
  2. Fill with ice.
  3. Shake for about 10 seconds.
  4. Strain into a coupe glass.
  5. Take ½ ounce of Lagavulin, and trickle down stirring spoon, allowing Lagavulin to sit on top.
  6. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

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Updated: 2022-06-21

Johnnie Walker Smokey Sour Recipe Video