The Sneaky Pete Cocktail: A Delicious Twist on the Classic Whiskey Sour

A brief overview of the Sneaky Pete cocktail

The Sneaky Pete cocktail is a delicious and unique twist on the classic Whiskey Sour. This cocktail is made with bourbon, lemon juice, and grapefruit soda, which gives it a refreshing and citrusy flavor. The name “Sneaky Pete” is said to come from the addition of grapefruit soda, which sneaks up on you with its tangy flavor. The cocktail has a perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors and is a great choice for those who want to try something new. It’s a popular drink among bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts and is often served at bars and restaurants across the country. With its easy-to-make recipe and refreshing taste, the Sneaky Pete is a must-try cocktail for any whiskey lover.

The History and Origins of the Cocktail

The history and origins of the Sneaky Pete cocktail are somewhat unclear, as there are several different stories about how it came to be. One theory is that it was invented in the 1930s by a bartender named Pete who worked at a speakeasy in New York City. According to this theory, the drink was named after the bartender who created it.

Another theory is that the Sneaky Pete cocktail was invented in the 1950s by a bartender named Pete Petiot. Petiot was the head bartender at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City and is also credited with inventing the Bloody Mary cocktail. According to this theory, Petiot created the Sneaky Pete as a variation on the Whiskey Sour, using grapefruit soda instead of a traditional sour mix.

Regardless of its true origins, the Sneaky Pete cocktail has become a popular drink among bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts alike. It’s a refreshing and unique twist on the classic Whiskey Sour, and its tangy flavor makes it a great choice for warm weather or summer drinking. Whether you’re enjoying it at a bar or making it at home, the Sneaky Pete is sure to become a new favorite cocktail for whiskey lovers.


To make a Sneaky Pete cocktail, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz grapefruit soda
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • Ice

You will also need a shaker and a strainer to make the cocktail, as well as a glass to serve it in. Some recipes may call for additional ingredients or variations on the above ingredients, but these are the basic ingredients you’ll need to make a classic Sneaky Pete cocktail.

How to Make the Sneaky Pete Cocktail


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the bourbon whiskey, fresh lemon juice, grapefruit soda, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds to combine the ingredients and chill the cocktail.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish the cocktail with a slice of grapefruit or a lemon twist, if desired.
  6. Serve and enjoy!


  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Adjust the amount of simple syrup to your taste preferences.
  • Use quality bourbon whiskey for the best results.
  • Don’t shake the cocktail too long, or it may become too diluted.
  • Garnish with a slice of grapefruit or a lemon twist to add extra flavor and visual appeal.

With these simple steps, you can make a delicious Sneaky Pete cocktail at home to impress your friends and family or enjoy it on your own.

Some tips and tricks to help you achieve the perfect balance of flavors in your Sneaky Pete cocktail:

  • Adjust the amount of simple syrup: The amount of simple syrup can affect the sweetness of the cocktail. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can increase the amount of simple syrup, and if you prefer a less sweet drink, you can decrease the amount. Start with the recommended amount of 1/2 oz and adjust according to your taste.
  • Use fresh ingredients: Using fresh lemon juice and high-quality grapefruit soda can make a significant difference in the flavor of the cocktail. Fresh lemon juice adds a bright, tangy flavor, while high-quality grapefruit soda brings a refreshing bitterness. Fresh ingredients can help create a well-balanced and complex flavor profile.
  • Choose the right bourbon whiskey: The type and quality of bourbon whiskey can also affect the flavor of the cocktail. Choose a bourbon whiskey that has a smooth and slightly sweet flavor with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. Some popular brands for making cocktails include Bulleit, Maker’s Mark, and Buffalo Trace.
  • Use the proper shaking technique: Shaking the cocktail properly is important to ensure that all the ingredients are combined well and the drink is chilled. Be sure to shake the cocktail vigorously for about 15-20 seconds, but not too long, as over-shaking can lead to a watery drink.
  • Serve the cocktail in the right glass: The right glassware can also enhance the drinking experience. Serve the Sneaky Pete cocktail in a traditional whiskey glass, such as a rocks glass or old-fashioned glass. This will allow you to appreciate the color, aroma, and flavor of the cocktail.

By following these tips and tricks, you can create a delicious and well-balanced Sneaky Pete cocktail that is sure to impress your guests and satisfy your taste buds.