If you've ever wondered about the origin of the curious slang word sometimes used as a noun for Englishmen — "Limeys" — then you're in the right place for the right answer. It all goes back to the early days of ocean-faring, when British sailors battled issues like scurvy onboard, during long voyages. Getting enough Vitamin C was crucial to prevent this always painful, sometimes fatal condition.
At the same time, having sufficient stock of drinking water in the ship's hold for the entire duration of the voyage was not a certainty — a lack that was addressed with spirits, like whisky. Sailors took to adding lemon and limes (thus earning the moniker "Limey") to their whisky rations to ensure they could keep away from illnesses. Then, to improve the taste, these pioneering mixologists added sugar and water to balance out the acidity/tartness. Lo and behold, the origins of the classic cocktail we now call the "Whisky Sour" were laid.
The actual cocktail as we know it, is said to date to the 1870s. However, a very close ancestor was mentioned in the 1862 tome 'The Bartender’s Guide: How To Mix Drinks' by Jerry Thomas. Ship's steward Elliot Staub is credited with inventing the drink's popular iteration in a Peru bar, in 1872. Today, the Whisky Sour is consumed as a perfectly sweet, tart, balanced whisky drink.
Add bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white, if using, to a shaker and dry-shake for 30 seconds without ice.
Add ice and shake again until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass.
Garnish with a orange peel.