New York Sour
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Classic Manhattan
- Salty Dog
- Mint Julep
- Whiskey Sour
- Hot Toddy
- Ranch Water
- Bloody Mary
Like this Recipe? Save it to Pinterest!
New York Sour
- 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
- 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.