New York Sour Cocktail Recipe

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New York Sour Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The New York Sour is a classic whiskey sour variation that dates back to the 1880s. It was first created in Chicago and later became popular in New York City, hence the name. This cocktail is perfect for whiskey lovers and those who enjoy a balance of sweet and sour flavors.

  • Originally created in Chicago
  • Gained popularity in New York City
  • A classic whiskey sour variation

How New York Sour Tastes?

The New York Sour is a well-balanced cocktail with a combination of sweet, sour, and fruity flavors. It has a rich, full-bodied taste with a smooth whiskey base, tangy lemon, and a hint of red wine.

Interesting facts about New York Sour

  • The New York Sour is sometimes called a 'Continental Sour' or 'Southern Whiskey Sour'
  • The red wine float on top of the cocktail is what sets it apart from a traditional whiskey sour
  • The cocktail is often garnished with a lemon wheel or cherry


  • Whiskey: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Lemon juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Simple syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Red wine: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Egg white: 1 (optional)
  • Lemon wheel: 1 (garnish)
  • Cherry: 1 (garnish)


Whiskey is the foundation of this cocktail, providing a robust and versatile base. 2 oz is the sweet spot - just enough to assert its presence without overwhelming the other flavors. Skip it, and you'll lose the soul of the drink. Alternative: Bourbon might add a sweeter, smokier touch.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon juice

At 1 oz, lemon juice brings a bright acidity, balancing the whiskey's heat. Too little and the cocktail feels flat, too much and you'll be puckering more than kissing. No lemon juice? Then it's not a sour anymore!

Alex Green

Simple syrup

Simple syrup, at 0.5 oz, adds sweetness to temper the sourness of the lemon. If you skip it, you might find yourself making a sour face at your sour. Alternative: Maple syrup could make for an intriguing, earthy twist.

Emma Rose

Red wine

The red wine float, 0.5 oz, is the crowning glory of this cocktail, adding a fruity complexity and stunning visual. Without the wine, it's like New York without the skyline. Alternative: A Port could intensify the sweetness and richness.

Mary Mitkina

Egg white

Optional but recommended for 1 egg white creates a silky texture and frothy top. Leave it out, and you lose that marvelous mouthfeel. Vegan? Aquafaba (chickpea water) is your friend.

Alex Green


Garnish with a lemon wheel and cherry adds a pop of color and a hint of extra flavor. Without garnish, it's like a joke without a punchline; still good, but could be better.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make New York Sour Drink

  1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white (if using)
  2. Dry shake (without ice) for 10-15 seconds to emulsify the egg white
  3. Add ice to the shaker and shake again until well-chilled
  4. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with ice
  5. Carefully pour the red wine over the back of a spoon to create a float on top of the cocktail
  6. Garnish with a lemon wheel and cherry

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail well to ensure the egg white is fully emulsified
  • Use a high-quality red wine for the float to enhance the flavor
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail cold longer

Perfect Pairings


  • Grilled Steak: The rich flavors of a medium-rare steak would complement the whiskey's warmth and the wine's tannins.
  • Barbecue Ribs: The sweet and tangy sauce on the ribs pairs nicely with the acidity of the lemon and the sweetness of the simple syrup.
  • Dark Chocolate Desserts: Chocolate and red wine are a match made in heaven, and the whiskey adds a nice kick to offset the sweetness.


  • Coffee: Enjoy a cold New York Sour with a hot, strong coffee on the side. The bitter coffee will highlight the cocktail's citrus notes.
  • Sparkling Water: A bubbly palate cleanser between sips can help refresh the taste buds.

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What you could change in New York Sour

  • Bourbon can be used instead of whiskey for a sweeter taste
  • Lime juice can replace lemon juice for a different citrus note
  • Agave syrup can be used instead of simple syrup for a more natural sweetness

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And of course - twists🍹

Bourbon Sour with Fig Syrup

Ingredients: Use bourbon instead of whiskey and fig syrup instead of simple syrup. Difference: Expect a sweeter, fruitier profile that complements the autumn season. Preparation: Same method, but the fig syrup will need to be homemade or store-bought.

New York Sour with Port Float

Ingredients: Replace the red wine with a port for a richer taste. Difference: The heavier body of port wine will bring more sweetness and a velvety texture. Preparation: Again, float the port carefully to maintain those beautiful layers.

Sparkling New York Sour

Ingredients: Top the drink with a splash of sparkling wine instead of the red wine float. Difference: A bubbly zing and less density, making the drink feel festive. Preparation: Carefully add the sparkling wine on top to avoid it from mixing too much with the base.

In case you forgot basics how to make New York Sour

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on New York Sour

What type of whiskey works best for a New York Sour?

A robust, full-bodied rye whiskey typically works best in a New York Sour, but feel free to use your favorite whiskey.

Can I still make this cocktail if I am allergic to eggs or am vegan?

Absolutely! You can omit the egg white. The cocktail won't have the frothy layer on top but it will still taste delicious.

Is it possible to premake a big batch of this cocktail for a party?

Yes, you can premix everything except the red wine and egg white. When ready to serve, shake individual servings with ice, strain into a glass, and then add the red wine and egg white.

Can I use a different type of alcohol instead of red wine for the float?

Part of the unique character of the New York Sour comes from the red wine float. However, you could use a full-bodied rosé for a lighter and fruitier spin on the classic cocktail.

What does 'dry shake' mean in cocktail making?

Dry shake means to shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker without any ice. This technique is often used when the recipe includes an egg white, as the shaking helps to emulsify the egg and create a frothy texture.

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