New York Sour Cocktail Drink

New York Sour

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

This New York Sour recipe provides all the ingredients for a standout drink. It’s easy to make and combines the warmth of whiskey with the brightness of lemon, rounded off by a red wine float for a cocktail you won’t forget.

New York Sour Recipe

Sip on a New York Sour recipe that's both bold and balanced! This cocktail is a showstopper for any occasion, made with whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a red wine float.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

197 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz Red Wine
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon wheel or twist, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Shaker
  • Old Fashioned Glass or Rocks Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Bar spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your Old Fashioned or Rocks glass with ice cubes.
  • Shake Base: In the shaker, combine ½ oz simple syrup, ¾ oz fresh lemon juice, and 2 oz Whiskey. Ice up the shaker and shake well.
  • Strain: Strain the shaken mixture into your glass over fresh ice.
  • Float Wine: Carefully float ½ oz Red Wine over the back of a bar spoon so it sits on top of the whiskey mixture.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon wheel or twist for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Whiskey: If I'm out of whiskey, I’ve found that dark rum turned out to be an interesting alternative.
  • Lemon Juice: I've used store-bought lemon juice in a pinch, but nothing beats freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Simple Syrup: If you're out of simple syrup, you can dissolve some sugar in warm water to make your own. A ratio of 1:1 sugar to water usually works well.
  • Red Wine: I've used port wine for a richer, sweeter float. The color is stunning, and the flavor adds a unique twist.

Making a Pitcher:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of whiskey, 6 oz of fresh lemon juice, 4 oz of simple syrup, and 4 oz of red wine.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Stir well with ice cubes.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, float the red wine, garnish with a lemon wheel or twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Whiskey Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative available on the market.
  • Red Wine Substitute: Use non-alcoholic red wine or grape juice for the wine float.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Simple Syrup: Ensure that the sugar you're using to make the simple syrup is vegan. Some white sugars are processed with bone char.
  • Red Wine: Make sure to use a vegan red wine. Some wines use animal-based fining agents.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
197
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
9
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
11
g
12
%
Potassium
 
49
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Vitamin A
 
2
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
8
mg
10
%
Calcium
 
4
mg
0
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%

 

New York Sour Cocktail Drink

New York Sour Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Sip on a New York Sour recipe that's both bold and balanced! This cocktail is a showstopper for any occasion, made with whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a red wine float.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 197

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Whiskey
  • ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz Red Wine
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon wheel or twist - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Shaker
  • Old Fashioned Glass or Rocks Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Bar spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your Old Fashioned or Rocks glass with ice cubes.
  • Shake Base: In the shaker, combine ½ oz simple syrup, ¾ oz fresh lemon juice, and 2 oz Whiskey. Ice up the shaker and shake well.
  • Strain: Strain the shaken mixture into your glass over fresh ice.
  • Float Wine: Carefully float ½ oz Red Wine over the back of a bar spoon so it sits on top of the whiskey mixture.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon wheel or twist for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Whiskey: If I'm out of whiskey, I’ve found that dark rum turned out to be an interesting alternative.
  • Lemon Juice: I've used store-bought lemon juice in a pinch, but nothing beats freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Simple Syrup: If you're out of simple syrup, you can dissolve some sugar in warm water to make your own. A ratio of 1:1 sugar to water usually works well.
  • Red Wine: I've used port wine for a richer, sweeter float. The color is stunning, and the flavor adds a unique twist.

Making a Pitcher:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of whiskey, 6 oz of fresh lemon juice, 4 oz of simple syrup, and 4 oz of red wine.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Stir well with ice cubes.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled Old Fashioned glasses, float the red wine, garnish with a lemon wheel or twist, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Whiskey Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative available on the market.
  • Red Wine Substitute: Use non-alcoholic red wine or grape juice for the wine float.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes and follow the original steps to enjoy a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Simple Syrup: Ensure that the sugar you're using to make the simple syrup is vegan. Some white sugars are processed with bone char.
  • Red Wine: Make sure to use a vegan red wine. Some wines use animal-based fining agents.

What is a New York Sour

New York Sour is a whiskey-based cocktail that takes the classic sour formula to the next level with a red wine float. This cocktail has gained popularity for its unique combination of ingredients, offering a harmonious balance between the tartness of lemon juice and the complexity of whiskey. While the red wine float may seem fancy, it complements the underlying flavors effortlessly. You don’t have to be an expert bartender to appreciate a New York Sour. Additionally, it is listed as an official cocktail by the International Bartenders Association (IBA).

A side shot of a New York Sour cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a beige cloth with a lemon on a side placed on a table.

What is a New York Sour made of – The ingredients

These elements constitute the recipe for a New York Sour:

  • Whiskey: Provides the foundational warmth and complexity to the cocktail.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Adds tartness and brightness, balancing out the whiskey.
  • Simple Syrup: Sweetens the mix, making the tart and complex flavors more approachable.
  • Red Wine: Floats on top to offer a contrasting flavor and a visually striking layer.
  • Ice Cubes: Chill the ingredients to make the drink refreshing.
  • Lemon Wheel or Twist: Serves as a garnish, adding a subtle hint of citrus.

Bourbon whiskey, red wine and lemons laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a New York Sour?

Our thorough guide demonstrates each step in crafting an New York Sour:

1
<p>First, stir some ice cubes in your Old Fashioned or Rocks glass to chill it for the cocktail.</p>

First, stir some ice cubes in your Old Fashioned or Rocks glass to chill it for the cocktail.

2
<p>Pour simple syrup in the shaker.</p>

Pour simple syrup in the shaker.

3
<p>Add lemon juice to the shaker.</p>

Add lemon juice to the shaker.

4
<p>Pour Whiskey into the shaker.</p>

Pour Whiskey into the shaker.

5
<p>Fill the shaker with ice cubes.</p>

Fill the shaker with ice cubes.

6
<p>Shake the mixture well to blend the flavors and chill the ingredients.</p>

Shake the mixture well to blend the flavors and chill the ingredients.

7
<p>Remove the ice cubes from your chilled glass.</p>

Remove the ice cubes from your chilled glass.

8
<p>Refill your glass with fresh ice cubes.</p>

Refill your glass with fresh ice cubes.

9
<p>Strain the shaken mixture into your prepared glass.</p>

Strain the shaken mixture into your prepared glass.

10
<p>Carefully float half an ounce of red wine on top of the whiskey mixture. Use the back of a bar spoon to help you achieve a clean float.</p>

Carefully float half an ounce of red wine on top of the whiskey mixture. Use the back of a bar spoon to help you achieve a clean float.

11
<p>Add a lemon wheel or twist as a garnish to give a subtle citrus note.</p>

Add a lemon wheel or twist as a garnish to give a subtle citrus note.

12
<p>Enjoy your New York Sour!</p>

Enjoy your New York Sour!

Mocktail version: New York Sour

Going alcohol-free doesn’t mean missing out on the New York Sour experience. The non-alcoholic version uses a good-quality, alcohol-free whiskey as its base. To mimic the red wine float, mix some grape juice and a dash of lemon for tartness. For the sour element, stick with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. Mix these up, add ice, and float the grape juice mix on top. It gives you that layered look and complex flavor that’s so signature to the New York Sour, all while keeping things alcohol-free. Perfect for designated drivers, non-drinkers, or anyone who wants the full cocktail vibe without the buzz.

New York Sour vs. Whiskey Sour

A New York Sour and a Whiskey Sour share many similarities, but they also have a key difference that sets them apart. Both drinks use whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup as their base ingredients. The Whiskey Sour, however, often stops there, making it a straightforward, three-ingredient cocktail. The New York Sour takes it further by adding a float of red wine on top. This wine float adds complexity and a different layer of flavor and creates a visually stunning two-toned effect in the glass.

A New York Sour cocktail, shot from above, in an old fashioned glass on a beige cloth with lemons and a jigger on the sides placed on a table.

Variations

Exploring various choices? We’ve selected a few of our top favorites for you:

  • Rosé All Day: This one floats a layer of rosé wine, adding a light, fruity touch. The rosé wine introduces a delicate flavor, making it a refreshing choice on a warm day. I really enjoy the gentle fruity notes it brings, offering a breezy twist that’s perfect for outdoor gatherings.
  • Cherry Bounce: This includes a dash of cherry liqueur for a fruity sweetness. The cherry liqueur gives a delightful burst of flavor, ideal for those who love a sweeter edge. I’m drawn to the rich cherry flavor; it’s like a cheerful, fruity hug in a glass.
  • Spiced Apple: This infuses the lemon juice with apple flavor, adding a cozy, autumnal note. The apple gives a homely, comforting taste, reminiscent of apple pie. The blend of apple and lemon creates a harmoniously tart and sweet experience.
  • Ginger Zing: Adds a splash of ginger beer, infusing the mixture with a spicy zing. The ginger beer brings an exciting kick, great for those who enjoy a bit of heat. I appreciate the lively spark the ginger adds; it’s invigorating and perfect for a pick-me-up.
  • Minty Fresh: Muddles mint leaves, adding a fresh, herbal note. The mint offers a cool, refreshing twist, making it a rejuvenating choice. The freshness of mint always uplifts the spirits, and I find it especially tantalizing in this mix.
  • Coffee Notes: Floats cold brew coffee, creating a surprising but delightful clash of flavors. The coffee adds a robust, rich layer, intriguing for coffee lovers. I’m intrigued by the bold coffee flavor; it’s a unique twist that coffee aficionados would cherish.
  • Tropical Pineapple: Adds pineapple juice, transforming it into a tropical delight. The pineapple juice introduces a sweet, tangy element, reminiscent of sunny beaches. The tropical twist is something I relish, bringing a bit of island paradise into the mix.
  • Lavender Bliss: Incorporates lavender syrup, lending an aromatic, floral undertone. The lavender provides a calming, sophisticated note, perfect for a relaxing evening. I adore the subtle floral aroma; it’s soothing and adds an elegant touch.
  • Port Float: Swaps red wine for port wine, offering a richer, sweeter layer. The port wine enhances the drink with its velvety, deep flavor, making it a luxurious choice. The richness of port wine is something I savor; it adds a sumptuous depth that’s hard to resist.

A side shot of a New York Sour cocktail in an old fashioned glass on a beige cloth with lemons and a jigger on the sides placed on a table.

History and Origin

The New York Sour roots in the classic whiskey sour, a simple mix of whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar. Bartenders in Chicago started adding a red wine float to the traditional whiskey sour in the late 19th century. However, the name “New York Sour” likely became attached to this wine-topped variant because of its popularity in New York bars and frequent appearance on city menus.

The cocktail gained traction in the early 20th century as a stylish alternative to the classic whiskey sour, offering visual appeal and a complex flavor profile. In the years that followed, it evolved through various iterations, adapting to each era’s preferences and available ingredients.

Today, the drink enjoys a revival as part of the craft cocktail movement, and many bartenders put their creative twists on the drink. Yet, its core components — whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and red wine — remain constant, a testament to the cocktail’s enduring appeal.

 

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FAQ

How many calories are in a New York Sour?
A typical cocktail contains around 200-220 calories, depending on the specific brands of alcohol used.
How strong is a New York Sour in terms of ABV and proof?
The strength varies depending on the whiskey and wine used. Generally, the ABV ranges from 20-30%, with the whiskey contributing the most to the proof.
What type of alcohol is used in a New York Sour?
Whiskey is the primary alcohol, complemented by a float of red wine.
In which glass is a New York Sour typically served?
It's is usually served in an Old Fashioned or Rocks glass.
What does a New York Sour taste like?
It offers a balanced flavor profile with tartness from the lemon juice, warmth from the whiskey, and complexity from the red wine.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a New York Sour?
The standard ratio is 2 oz whiskey, ¾ lemon juice, and ½ oz simple syrup, with a half-ounce float of red wine.
How is the New York Sour typically served in terms of ice and presentation?
The cocktail is served over ice, and the red wine is floated on top.
What is the best wine for a New York Sour?
A dry red wine like Malbec or Shiraz works best because it complements the whiskey and adds complexity without making the drink too sweet.
How do you layer a New York Sour?
To layer the drink, gently pour the red wine over the back of a spoon so it floats on top of the whiskey and lemon mixture in the glass.

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