Life

How To Make The New York Sour, The Centuries-Old, Newly Trendy Cocktail Everyone’s Talking About

I’ve been seeing the New York Sour everywhere lately — IG stories, TikTok, Google News Feeds. Hell, I went to lunch with an old friend this week and he regaled me about the New York Sours a bartender made for him over the weekend. As an old-school bartender from the very highest end of the scene, I nodded along knowingly. Cocktails come and go, sometimes multiple times over actual centuries. The New York Sour is one of those cocktails.

This is a drink dating all the way back to the mid-1800s. Ironically, this was probably created in Chicago as the “continental sour” but was renamed the “New York Sour” at some point, and here we are. Since then, there have been a lot of variations, but the fundamentals have remained the same: A whiskey sour with a float of dry red wine. That’s really it. But that also means you need a pretty steady hand to float the wine in between the cocktail and the egg white foam on top. Some bartenders will shake up a whiskey sour without egg white and float some red wine on top … that’s fine, I guess, but sort of misses the point of the presentation (and it’s lazy).

Long story short, this just takes practice. Practice shaking up a nice and frothy whiskey sour in general and practice floating wine betwixt two layers of a cocktail. So let’s dive into the recipe and get you started on your New York Sour journey.

Also Read: The Top Five Cocktail Recipes of the Last Six Months

New York Sour

New York Sour
Zach Johnston

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 small egg white
  • 1 oz. dry red wine
  • Ice
  • Lemon peel

These are all very findable ingredients. I’m using Woodford Reserve Rye simply because I have a bottle of it to kill. Use the rye or bourbon you like. I’m also using dry Italian wine from the grocery store. Again, use one that you like.

Lastly, try and use a small egg (the box should tell you the size somewhere on it). A small egg white will be about half the size of a large egg white. You need about 0.75 ounces of egg white for this so you can just measure it out from whatever eggs you have.

New York Sour
Zach Johnston

What You’ll Need:

  • Rocks glass
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Cocktail strainer
  • Hand juicer
  • Paring knife
  • Jigger
  • Barspoon
New York Sour
Zach Johnston

Method:

  • Fill a rocks glass with fresh ice.
  • Add the whiskey, lemon, egg white, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker.
  • Affix the lid without ice and dry shake for about 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure to hold the lid while you do, otherwise it’ll pop since no vacuum is created thanks to the lack of ice. Science!
  • Remove the lid and add a handful of ice. Re-affix the lid and shake vigorously for another 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Strain the cocktail over the fresh ice in the rocks glass. Make sure to shake out all the foam into the glass.
  • Very gently pour the red wine in a slow stream on the very edge of the glass so that the wine floats between the cocktail and foam on top.
  • Slice a thin peel of lemon and spritz the oils over the glass and place the peel on the edge as a garnish. Serve.

A quick note: If you want to get that perfect “flag” presentation, with exact lines between each layer, use a six-ounce glass and prechill it, and then don’t use ice in the glass.

Bottom Line:

New York Sour
Zach Johnston

This is pretty damn tasty. Since the cocktail is so much denser than the wine, you get a nice mix of the sour and the wine on each sip. It really should never fully mix together if you just sip it.

The lemon and whiskey are a match made in heaven, with spicy/woody and vanilla notes playing with bright lemon oils. Plus, the egg white creates a beautiful velvety mouthfeel. Seriously, it’s like silk.

As for the red wine float, it does add a nice tannic dryness to the lemon meringue. It’s a good balance that works, probably why this drink has lasted nearly three centuries. Just keep that hand steady and slow as you float that red wine.

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