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Murphy Sour

Murphy Sour cocktail

H. Joseph Ehrmann

H. Joseph Ehrmann is the proprietor of Elixir in San Francisco, the bar that he’s helmed since 2003. Over the years, he has created countless original cocktails for the bar’s menu, including the Murphy Sour, which is a twist on the classic Pisco Sour.

The Pisco Sour calls for pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and bitters. Ehrmann’s version swerves from the original by incorporating muddled clementine and cilantro, plus a richer sweetener in the form of honey syrup. The resulting cocktail is fresh and invigorating, as the welcome one-two punch of tart clementine and herbal cilantro merges deftly with the dry pisco and silky egg white.

One unique element of egg white cocktails is the dry shake, which involves shaking a cocktail first without ice before shaking it again with ice. That introductory step helps to emulsify the egg white with the other ingredients and creates the frothy head on top of the drink. In the case of the Pisco Sour, that head is a perfect palette for supporting a few drops of aromatic bitters; in the Murphy Sour, it acts as a soft bed for the cilantro leaf garnish.

The Murphy Sour has been in Ehrmann’s repertoire for years, but in 2019 it was awarded Cocktail of the Year at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, solidifying its place as one of the best original recipes to come out of the modern era.


  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 clementine, peeled

  • 1 1/2 ounces pisco

  • 1 ounce honey syrup

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 egg white

  • Garnish: cilantro leaf


  1. In a shaker, muddle the cilantro and clementine.

  2. Add the remaining ingredients and shake hard without ice for five seconds.

  3. Fill with ice and shake again until well-chilled.

  4. Double-strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cilantro leaf.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.