When I was in my early 20s, the whiskey sour was my favorite thing to drink. In the context of the college bar scene in Western Massachusetts, sours were candy-like cocktails of equal parts whiskey and sour mix—a cloying formula that I eventually tired of. By the time I stopped in at the restaurant Melisse, the two-Michelin-starred restaurant of chef Josiah Citrin, in Santa Monica, California, last weekend, I hadn't had one for nearly a decade. Melisse has a new cocktail program that's a study in American classics, all made with painstakingly sourced ingredients and craft spirits, so when I spotted my old college standby on the menu, I couldn't resist ordering it—and I'm glad I didn't try to. This whiskey sour was nothing like the version I remembered: Delicate and floral, a perfect balance of tart and sweet, with subtle vanilla notes and a sumptuous, meringue-like pillow of foam on top.