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Impress everyone with this New York Sour recipe! The vibrant classic cocktail floats a ruby-red wine layer atop a classic whiskey sour.
Here’s one of the most stunning and tasty cocktails out there: the New York Sour! This spin on the whiskey sour takes the classic up a notch. First you have the whiskey sour layer: sweet tart and perfectly balanced. Float a layer of red wine over the top and it adds complexity and a fruity acidity, not to mention a stunning vibrant two-toned layer. As cocktail experts with over 300 cocktail recipes in our library, and this one is near the top of our favorites list.
What’s in a New York Sour?
The New York Sour is a well-known variation on the whiskey sour that floats a layer of red wine on top. It’s thought to have been invented by a bartender in the 1880’s in Chicago, earning the name the Continental Sour. It was later picked up and made popular by a bartender in New York City, hence its modern name. The first print mention of the drink with the name “New Your Sour” was in the 1934 book, Mr. Boston’s Bartender Guide.
The whiskey sour is a classic cocktail that’s on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. Add a layer of wine and you’ve got this classic red wine cocktail! The New York Sour ingredients are:
- 2 oz bourbon whiskey
- 1 oz lemon juice
- ¾ to 1 oz simple syrup or maple syrup
- 1 oz red wine
Use a dry red wine like a Malbec, Pinot Noir, Grenache, or Rioja Tempranillo. The classic whiskey sour is sometimes served with an egg white foam topping. We usually leave it off our New York Sour, but it can add another beautiful layer and creamy body to the drink.
Tips for a perfect New York Sour recipe
Though it looks showy, the New York Sour is actually very easy to make! You just need to know a little trick about making that beautiful red wine layer.
- Shake: Combine 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz lemon juice and ¾ to 1 oz simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold. Strain it into a glass.
- Make the red wine layer: Hold the back of a spoon right above the top of the glass. Then gently pour the red wine on top of the spoon into the glass. Because it hits the spoon first, the wine settles into a layer on top.
Optional egg white
You can also add a classic egg white foam to the New York Sour. Add bourbon, lemon juice, syrup and egg white to a cocktail shaker and shake without ice for 15 seconds. Then add ice and shake again until very cold. Proceed to Step 2.
Maple syrup vs simple syrup
The sweetener for a whiskey sour is traditionally simple syrup. But you can also use maple syrup in this New York Sour! Here’s why we love the maple variation:
- Maple syrup gives a nuanced sweetness. Simple syrup gives a drink a straightforward, piercing sweetness. In contrast, the sweetness with maple is more nuanced and adds complexity to the drink. It doesn’t taste like maple: it simply adds sweetness.
- It’s a natural sweetener (no refined sugar). Maple syrup still contains sugar, of course! But if you like to use natural sweeteners, this is the way to go.
The whiskey: rye vs bourbon
You can make a New York Sour with either rye or bourbon whiskey! We generally prefer the sweeter flavor of bourbon in cocktails to the spicy flavor of rye. In our classic whiskey sour, we typically use bourbon when we serve it (also called a Boston Sour). You can also make a whiskey sour with Irish whiskey (the Irish Sour) or Scotch (the Buchanan Sour).
We often lean towards bourbon our whiskey cocktails, like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan. Of course, you can use your favorite type of whiskey in this drink: each type gives the drink a different character.
More whiskey sour variations: Boston Sour & Gold Rush
Another variation on the classic whiskey sour is this Boston Sour! It has an egg white foam topping, which is often an addition to sour cocktails. It makes it feel like a true 1920’s style drink! If you’ve never tried an egg white cocktail, we’ve cracked the code to making that perfect, frothy foam.
More classic sour cocktails
Here are a few more of classic cocktails that are all part of the sour cocktail family. Sour cocktails are all mixed drinks that have liquor, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener.
- The Tequila Sour, Vodka Sour, Gin Sour or Rum Sour are variations on the whiskey sour, with different liquor.
- The Pisco Sour has a magic meld of pisco (Peruvian brandy) and lime in this sour gives it flavor like none other.
- A Classic Margarita is also a tequila sour starring lime, tequila and Cointreau.
- The Tom Collins and Gin Fizz are gin sours, light and bubbly with soda water.
- The Classic Daiquiri features rum, lime juice, and simple syrup.
When to serve a New York Sour
The New York Sour is a red wine cocktail that’s tasty as it is versatile. It’s perfect for sipping as a:
- Happy hour drink
- Dinner party drink
- Summer patio drink
- Late night drinks drink
- Guys or girls night drink
- Cocktail hour drink
Here’s how to make the New York Sour: one of the best cocktails out there! Make a classic whiskey sour and float a layer of red wine on top.
- Add the bourbon, lemon juice, and syrup to a cocktail shaker and fill it with a handful of ice. Shake until very cold.
- Strain the drink into an ice-filled lowball or Old Fashioned glass (use clear ice for the best presentation).
- Carefully pour the red wine over the back of a spoon just above the surface of the drink, creating a layer on top. Serve with a lemon twist if desired.
*If you’d like to add an egg white, add bourbon, lemon juice, syrup and egg white to a cocktail shaker and shake without ice for 15 seconds. Then add ice and shake again until very cold. Proceed to Step 2.
To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: New York Sour, New York Sour Recipe, Red Wine Cocktail