The New York Sour is a stunning variation on a classic whiskey sour. Made with bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup – plus a gorgeous floating layer of fruity red wine – it’s a simple cocktail that’s deliciously tart and sweet!

A New York Sour on a marble countertop

Classic New York Sour Cocktail

When it comes to stunning cocktails, look no further than this New York Sour. Not only is it beautiful to look at with its colorful layers, but it’s also one of the most temptingly delicious drinks ever!

If you like a classic whiskey sour, with its perfect combination of tart & sweet flavor, then I’m positive you’ll like a New York sour.

With just 4 ingredients, this cocktail is simple to make, yet elegant and impressive. I show you just how easy it is to create that pretty layer of red wine on top – it’s fun, I promise!

Serve this eye-catching drink any time of year, for any occasion. It’s especially lovely during the holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. And absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day!

What Is A New York Sour?

A New York Sour is a twist on a classic Whiskey Sour.

In addition to the whiskey (rye or bourbon), fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup (or sugar) of a traditional whiskey sour, a New York Sour also includes red wine.

The whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup are first shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker, then strained into an ice-filled glass. Then the red wine is poured slowly over the top of the drink, using a simple technique with a spoon, to give it a beautiful layered effect.

Overhead view of New York Sour ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need just four ingredients to make this New York sour cocktail.

  • Whiskey – Use a good quality rye or bourbon whiskey for this classic cocktail. We prefer bourbon.
  • Lemon juice – Absolutely use freshly squeezed lemon juice – it definitely gives the best, freshest flavor.
  • Simple syrup – This adds a bit of sweetness to the drink.
  • Red wine – Use a fruity red wine. See my recommendations below.

What Wine Is Best For a New York Sour Drink?

The key element of a classic New York Sour is the pretty layer of red wine that floats on top of the drink.

I like to use a fruity red wine that’s not overly sweet, with labels that talk about notes of berry, cherry, and/or plum. I most often use a bright and fruity pinot noir, malbec, merlot, or shiraz.

With that being said, if you’d rather use a dry red wine, go for it. I just wouldn’t use one that’s super dry.

A New York Sour cocktail on a marble coaster

How to Make a New York Sour

Here’s how to make this classic cocktail – in just a few minutes!

  • Shake. Pour the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup into a shaker or mason jar with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, to perfectly chill and dilute the drink.
  • Strain. Fill a cocktail glass 2/3 full with ice. Strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Add the wine. Very slowly (barely a trickle!) pour the wine over the back of a thin spoon held just above the drink’s surface to create a layered effect.
  • Garnish. I typically garnish with a cocktail cherry or two, it’s up to you.

Can I Make More Than One Drink At a Time?

To make 2 drinks at a time, simply double the measurements of the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake for 30 seconds, and strain into 2 ice-filled glasses. Then add the red wine float.

To make 6 drinks, add 12 ounces whiskey, 6 ounces lemon juice, and 6 ounces simple syrup to a small pitcher, and give it a good stir. Then pour 8 ounces from the pitcher into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake for 30 seconds, and strain into 2 ice-filled glasses. Repeat 2 more times, until all 6 glasses are poured. Then add the red wine float to each cocktail.

A New York sour cocktail

Tips & Variations

Here are a few tips for making this whiskey cocktail at home.

  • Pour the wine SLOWLY. This is key to achieving the layered effect, with the red wine floating on top. Rest a thin spoon upside-down, as close to the top surface of the drink as possible. Then slowly pour the wine over the back of the spoon. And when I say slowly, I mean it should be barely a trickle. You’ll need just a 1/2 ounce of wine per cocktail – pour the wine into a small measuring cup that has a little pour spout, for the easiest control when pouring.
  • Use rye whiskey. If you are more of a fan of rye whiskey, then use that. It will give you more of the flavoring that you personally like.
  • Use dry red wine. When drinking a glass of red wine, I typically prefer one that is medium-dry to dry. But with this drink, I do enjoy using a fruitier red. The choice is up to you, as always.
  • Adjust the sweetness. You can adjust the sweetness of your cocktail by adding more or less simple syrup.
  • Try it with maple syrup or honey. Swap out the simple syrup for a slightly different flavor.
  • Add egg white. You’ll often find egg white added to a whiskey sour when you’re out and about, especially at high-end cocktail bars. It gives a pretty foam layer to the top of the drink, plus a fuller texture. If you’d like to include this element with a New York sour, just shake 1 pasteurized egg white with the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup – without ice, for 15 seconds. This is called a dry shake. Then add the ice and shake again for 30 seconds more. Strain into a glass, where the egg white foam will form over the top. Then add the red wine float in the same manner as I previously described. The red wine will sink down through the foam and rest on the liquid surface, giving you 3 distinct layers – it’ll look like this.
Stirring a New York Sour with a toothpick garnish

Serving Suggestions

With its beautiful layered look, the New York Sour is perfect for dinner parties and special occasions. Though it’s simple to make, it looks and feels elegant. The red wine float makes it festive for the holidays, and perfect-as-can-be for Valentine’s Day!

As far as garnishes, you can either add a cocktail cherry or two, or no garnish at all. A fresh lemon peel would also be nice.

And if you’re wondering “should I stir a New York Sour?”, the answer is completely up to you!

More Classic Cocktail Recipes:

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Front view of a New York Sour with a second one in the background

New York Sour

Yield: 1 drink
prep time: 10 minutes
total time: 10 minutes
The New York Sour is a stunning variation on a classic whiskey sour. Made with bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup – plus a gorgeous floating layer of fruity red wine – it's a simple cocktail that's deliciously tart and sweet!
5 Stars (1 Review)
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Ingredients

  • 2 ounces good quality rye or bourbon whiskey I prefer bourbon
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce fruity red wine see Notes below
  • cocktail cherry optional garnish

Instructions

  • Fill a cocktail shaker or mason jar about two-thirds full with ice. Pour in the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Cover the shaker tightly, and vigorously shake for 30 seconds to perfectly chill and dilute.
  • Fill a 12-ounce cocktail glass two-thirds full with ice. Then strain the chilled cocktail into the glass.
  • Slowly (as slowly as possible, barely a trickle) pour the wine over the back of a thin spoon held just above the drink’s surface, so the wine floats on top. This will give a beautiful layered effect.

Notes

For the wine: Look for a fruity red wine with notes of berry, cherry, plum, etc. Stay away from very dry or spicy red wine for this recipe. I like to use a bright, fruity pinot noir, malbec, merlot, or shiraz.
To make 2 drinks: Simply double the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup measurements – and shake together with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain over 2 ice-filled glasses. Add a ½-ounce red wine float to each cocktail.
To make 6 drinks: Add 12 ounces whiskey, 6 ounces lemon juice, and 6 ounces simple syrup to a small pitcher, and give it a good stir. Then pour 8 ounces from the pitcher into an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake for 30 seconds, and strain into 2 ice-filled glasses. Repeat 2 more times, until all 6 glasses are poured. Then add the red wine float to each cocktail.
Adapted from my Whiskey Sour recipe and bon appetit.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 312kcal Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 5g Fat: 2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 351mg Fiber: 4g Sugar: 16g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!
Front view of a New York Sour with a second one in the background