Weekly Cocktail #27: The Junior (and the Frisco Sour)

The Junior Cocktail

With the labor day weekend coming up we decided to give you an extra cocktail…. In reality, the Junior and the Frisco Sour are both great drinks but serve to illustrate just how different you can make a cocktail by just changing a key ingredient. In this case, both the Junior and Frisco Sour include rye whiskey and Benedictine, but the Junior includes lime juice and a dash of bitters while the Frisco Sour includes the more traditional lemon juice.

And we say “more traditional” because most citrus drinks that include whiskey or cognac use lemon juice. Meanwhile, most gin and tequila cocktails include lime juice. (Rum plays well with anything and everything, it seems). But rules or traditions are meant to be broken, particularly in the world of food and spirits- so it is fun to play with aberrations like the Junior. And the Junior is a good cocktail. The spice of the rye goes well with the sour lime and herbal flavors of the Benedictine and bitters. But it is a tart sip- we like it, some may not. If you like a smoother and sweeter cocktail, the Frisco Sour with its lemon juice and no bitters might be the best choice. Basically, the Frisco Sour is a more complex (and much better IMHO) version of the Whiskey Sour. But since its pretty easy to make both of these cocktails, try them and decide for yourself.

As for the spirits in these cocktails, any good rye whiskey will do. Both Bulleit and Rittenhouse are good and inexpensive rye. We also like the High West rye and Redemption, but they are a bit of a step-up in price. And as our exploration of rye continues, we very much recommend it as a key spirit in any home bar. From Scofflaws to Manhattans, we think rye makes great cocktails. And there is no real substitute for Benedictine, but since we already have some for Lani-Honis (very similar to a Frisco Sour, btw) we like to use it. But Benedictine is a good classic cocktail ingredient, and a little goes a long way- so worth seeking out.

As for the names and provenance of both drinks, their origins are lost to history. But as any long time Bay Area resident can tell you, nobody says “Frisco” to describe San Francisco, but maybe they did 100 years ago, who knows? Regardless, there is a good New York Times article on the Frisco Sour here that describes how murky cocktail recipes and history can be. Unfortunately, there is even less information on the Junior cocktail out there. Even cocktail historian David Wondrich has little to offer other than saying the Junior is a tasty, if somewhat off-beat drink. But, in the end, a tasty drink is more than enough for us.

The Junior Cocktail:


  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters


  1. Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, flute or coupé. Serve.


The Frisco Sour Cocktail:


  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. Benedictine


  1. Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, flute or coupé. Serve.

12 thoughts on “Weekly Cocktail #27: The Junior (and the Frisco Sour)

  1. I’ve noticed you using Redemption Rye to make a lot of your drinks (I’ve also noticed the level in the bottle getting lower!). Is that your “go-to” rye whiskey? I had it for the first time this Christmas. I also like their High Rye bourbon.

  2. Magic … how can such “terrible” ingredients look so good … when it’s done by your hands – they must be magical. *smile. Never heard about “rye whiskey” before – what so special with it ???? Don’t know much about Whiskey more than I been to Bushmills.

  3. So after following you for several weeks now, I’m just realizing that you’re posting one (or more) cocktail recipe a week. That is an amazing series! We all need [many more] cocktails in our lives!

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