Santa Cruz Sour – Classic 1862 Jerry Thomas Rum Sour Recipe

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Rum Sour vs Santa Cruz Sour vs St. Croix Sour

The rum sour, Santa Cruz sour, and St. Croix Sour are all the exact same drinks and one name is not more correct than the other. Even though rum sour is the name used today, the reason I went with the name Santa Cruz Sour is its the name used in the oldest cocktail book to reference it. The oldest name for this cocktail that I could find was Jerry Thomas’s Santa Cruz Sour in his 1862 edition of The Bartenders Guide. The reason he used that name was the island the very popular Cruzan rum used in the cocktail came from was St. Croix, but he used the original Spanish spelling of the island. Even into the early 1900s the name of this cocktail was still the Santa Cruz Sour or the St. Croix Sour. St. Croix is the more modern French spelling of the island’s name so some bartenders preferred to use that spelling instead of the older Spanish spelling. This cocktail doesn’t start being called the rum sour till around the 1930s when cocktails books start to group all sours together as a general recipe. Most books would say “Sours are usually all prepared the same. The juice of half a lemon, 1 tablespoon of syrup, and 2 oz of any spirit. Gin, whiskey, brandy, rum, etc”. The name Santa Cruz or St. Croix got dropped and the more generic name rum sour became common.

To Add Egg Whites Or Not To Add Egg Whites

This has been the absolute single hardest cocktail to document and I try to keep my sources to only published books. Sometimes I use newspapers but I don’t give them much weight. The conclusion I have come to is a traditional rum sour, all sours for that matter, do not have eggs whites. Yes there were cocktails like the clover club or pink lady that had egg whites, or you can go back even further to the Fizz style cocktails from the 1880s that had egg whites. But not until the early 1950s am I able to find anyone use egg whites in a cocktail labeled a rum sour. Sour cocktails prior to the 1950s that used egg whites in this way all seem to have fun names and were presented as cocktails for the ladies. In the 1930s or 40s if a man ordered a rum sour and he was handed one with egg whites in it, he would probably be offended or think the bartender mixed his drink up with some woman’s at the bar. I looked through maybe 100+ books ranging from the 1880s to the late 1960s and this was pretty consistently what I found.

The earliest use of egg whites in a standard sour I could find was from King Cocktail by Eddie Clark. Who in 1947 was the successor head bartender to Harry Craddock at the Savoy. The 1955 official British Bartenders union cocktail book, The UKBG, also mentions using egg whites in sours, but both books say they are optional and not traditional. Assumedly egg whites were added upon request and not the normal way a gin sour was made. Keep in mind Harry Craddock, 1920 – 40s, did not make his sours with egg whites. All those cocktails had different fun names. Eddie Clark even grouped those fun cocktails in the “For ladies only” section of his book. Is this an example in”toxic”ated masculinity?

A Short History Of Sours

While a standard American style sour is most likely as old as the country itself, it actually traces its origins to the Age of Exploration. In the mid 1500s the Spanish Navy began preserving concentrated lime juice in high proof spirits that could last on long voyages as medication to fight prevent scurvy. These medications were known for being super sour and not tasting good. In the early 1800s there attempts at improving these into actually good drinks and one of these is the standard Sour cocktail of 2 oz base spirit, 1 oz citrus, and 1/2 oz simple syrup. This standard recipe still has its roots in the overly sour medication but by reducing the citrus by 1/3, you end up with a tastier product. Please enjoy this early rum sour pulled from the 1862 edition of the Bar-Tenders guide by Jerry Thomas.


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Santa Cruz Sour – Classic 1862 Jerry Thomas Rum Sour Recipe

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American






Total time



Learn how to make a classic Santa Cruz Sour.


  • 2/3 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Gold Rum


  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker. Add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass to remove ice shards.


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