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New York Sour

A Classic Whiskey Sour with a Twist

If you’re looking for a classic cocktail with a unique twist, the New York Sour is a must-try. This drink, which originated in the 1880s, is a whiskey cocktail with a splash of red wine on top. The combination of flavors creates a deliciously complex taste that is sure to impress.

New York Sour Cocktail

The New York Sour is a drink with a rich history, and it has remained popular throughout the years. The cocktail is often associated with the Big Apple, and it’s easy to see why. The bold flavors and sophisticated presentation make it a perfect fit for the city that never sleeps.

Whether you’re enjoying a night out on the town or hosting a dinner party at home, the New York Sour is a surefire way to impress your guests. So why not give it a try and see for yourself why this classic cocktail has stood the test of time?

The Origin of New York Sour

If you are a cocktail enthusiast, you might have come across the New York Sour cocktail, a classic drink that has stood the test of time. The history of this cocktail dates back to the 1880s, and it has undergone several name changes before settling on its current name.

Homemade New York Sour Cocktail

According to the renowned bartender Jerry Thomas’s book, “The Bartender’s Guide,” the Whiskey Sour cocktail was first introduced in the mid-19th century. The recipe for the New York Sour cocktail, which is a variation of the Whiskey Sour, first appeared in print in H. O. Byron’s 1884 book “The Modern Bartenders’ Guide.” However, in the book, it was referred to as the “Continental Sour.”

Interestingly, despite its name, the New York Sour cocktail was first made in Chicago, not New York. It was initially called the “Claret Snap” or the “Brunswick Sour” before being named the New York Sour. The cocktail’s popularity spread across the United States, and it became a staple in bars and restaurants across the country.

The New York Sour cocktail is a delicious blend of whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup, topped with a layer of red wine. The egg white is also added to the mix to give it a frothy texture. The drink is garnished with a lemon wheel and a cherry.

How to Make

When it comes to making a New York Sour, the ingredients are crucial. This classic cocktail consists of two main components: alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

In this section, we will explore the ingredients of a New York Sour in detail.

New York Sour Cocktail

New York Sour

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 4 minutes


  • 2 oz (60ml) Rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 3/4 oz (22ml) Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz (15ml) Simple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 oz (15ml) Red wine (a dry, robust wine like Malbec or Shiraz works well)
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon wheel or cherry, for garnish (optional)


  1. Dry Shake: In a shaker, combine the whiskey, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white. Shake the mixture without ice for about 10-15 seconds. This is known as a "dry shake" and it helps to emulsify the egg white, creating that desired frothiness.
  2. Shake with Ice: Add ice to the shaker and continue to shake the mixture until well chilled, about another 15 seconds.
  3. Strain: Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  4. Add the Wine: Using the back of a spoon, gently pour the red wine over the concoction. As with the classic version, aim to have the wine float on top of the drink for a layered effect. To achieve this, place the spoon upside down, close to the drink's surface, and slowly pour the wine over it.
  5. Garnish: Garnish with a lemon wheel or cherry if desired.
  6. Enjoy: Relish in the smooth and frothy texture of your New York Sour, complemented by the rich depth of the red wine.

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Variations of New York Sour

If you’re a fan of the New York Sour cocktail, you’ll be happy to know that there are several variations of this classic drink that you can try. Each variation puts a unique spin on the original recipe, giving you a chance to explore different flavor profiles and find your perfect cocktail.

Bartender decorates New York sour cocktail

Here are some of the most popular variations of the New York Sour:

Continental Sour

The Continental Sour is a variation of the New York Sour that replaces the whiskey with gin. This gives the drink a lighter, more floral flavor that is perfect for warm weather. To make a Continental Sour, simply substitute gin for whiskey in the original recipe.

Southern Whiskey Sour

The Southern Whiskey Sour is a classic cocktail that is similar to the New York Sour. The main difference is that the Southern Whiskey Sour uses bourbon instead of rye whiskey, giving the drink a sweeter, smoother flavor. To make a Southern Whiskey Sour, simply substitute bourbon for rye whiskey in the original recipe.

Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour is a popular cocktail in South America that is similar to the New York Sour. Instead of whiskey, the Pisco Sour uses pisco, a type of brandy that is popular in Peru and Chile. The drink also includes lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white, which gives it a frothy texture. To make a Pisco Sour, simply substitute pisco for whiskey in the original recipe and add lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.

Claret Snap

The Claret Snap is a twist on the New York Sour that uses red wine instead of whiskey. This gives the drink a fruity, refreshing flavor that is perfect for summer. To make a Claret Snap, simply substitute red wine for whiskey in the original recipe.


The Manhattan is a classic cocktail that is similar to the New York Sour. Instead of lemon juice and red wine, the Manhattan uses sweet vermouth and bitters. The drink also includes a cherry garnish, which gives it a sweet, fruity flavor. To make a Manhattan, simply substitute sweet vermouth and bitters for lemon juice and red wine in the original recipe.

As you can see, there are many variations of the New York Sour that you can try. Each one offers a unique flavor profile that is sure to please your taste buds. So why not experiment with different variations and find your perfect cocktail?

Taste and Appearance

If you are looking for a cocktail that is both sweet and sour, then the New York Sour is the perfect drink for you. This cocktail combines the sweetness of whiskey and simple syrup with the tartness of fresh lemon juice. The addition of red wine gives the drink a fruity flavor that complements the other ingredients.

New York Sour drink in a bar

The New York Sour has a unique appearance that is sure to impress your guests. The drink is served in a rocks glass filled with ice, and the red wine is floated on top of the cocktail. This creates a layered effect that is both beautiful and delicious.

When you take your first sip of the New York Sour, you will notice the dryness of the whiskey. This is balanced by the sweetness of the simple syrup and the tanginess of the lemon juice. As you continue to drink, you will taste the fruity notes of the red wine.

The mouthfeel of the New York Sour is smooth and velvety, thanks to the addition of egg white. This ingredient also adds a frothy texture to the cocktail that is visually appealing.

If you prefer a spicier drink, you can add a dash of Angostura bitters to the cocktail. This will give the drink a slightly bitter taste that complements the other flavors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a whiskey sour and a New York Sour?

The main difference between a whiskey sour and a New York Sour is that the latter has a float of red wine on top. This gives the drink a unique flavor and appearance, and also adds a touch of sophistication.

What is the formula for the sour cocktail?

The formula for a sour cocktail is simple: spirit, sweetener, and citrus. For a New York Sour, the spirit is whiskey, the sweetener is simple syrup, and the citrus is lemon juice.

What is a sour cocktail?

A sour cocktail is a type of cocktail that is made with a base spirit, a sweetener, and a sour element. The sour element is usually citrus juice, such as lemon or lime. The most common sour cocktail is the whiskey sour.

Why is it called a New York Sour?

The New York Sour is named after the city where it was popularized. The drink originated in Chicago in the 1880s, but it became popular in New York City in the early 20th century.

Best bourbon for New York Sour

The best bourbon for a New York Sour is a matter of personal preference, but some popular choices include Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace, and Woodford Reserve. Rye whiskey is also a good option for this cocktail.

New York Sour
Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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