Drink

How to Make a New York Sour

A Whiskey Sour with a red wine float, it is a better cocktail for winter-and Christmas-than the old standbys.
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Ingredients

  • 2 oz. bourbon (or rye)
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • red wine

Directions

  1. Shake all ingredients except the red wine with ice. If you've chosen to go for the egg white, make sure to shake extra well.
  2. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice.
  3. Float the red wine by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon onto the cocktail. An ounce or two should do the trick.


No place does it up for Christmas like New York City. And I say that fully cognizant of small town's spattered across America, the country of Denmark, and the general North Pole region. There's a reason in years past people fought for air pockets in the crowd at Rockefeller Center to ogle a tree or skate a few laps around a rink. Even winter alone in New York—the long woolen coats and cashmere scarfs, the holiday parties, the snowy walks through the park at dusk—is magic. They should make a movie about it or something.

So, I offer a suggestion for your holiday drinking this year: Pretend it's a New York Christmas and make a New York Sour. (I say this even to New Yorkers in New York this Christmas; 2020 hardly, sadly, is letting us revel.) It's a beautiful drink, what with the way the wine swirls along the surface. You almost certainly have all the ingredients already stocked for the holidays. It's wintery, but not punch-you-in-the-face-with-Christmas-cheery, and an alternative to the gut-punishing glass of Eggnog, the medicinal Hot Toddy, and the sleeping potion that is Mulled Wine. But, it does take a key component from all three of these traditional holiday cocktails. In order, eggs, whiskey, and wine.

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A New York Sour is a Whiskey Sour with a red wine float—a Whiskey Sour with some color in its cheeks. The berry notes of the wine, a seasonal addition, complement the whiskey's heat, and the egg white smooths the delivery with frothy body. Drink it fast so the egg doesn't get...eggy. Or, for a slower sipper, nix the egg white. It'll have sharper corners—whiskey on the nose, wine on the tail.

Bourbon or rye works well with a New York Sour; I like a higher-proof bourbon (Maker's Mark 101, for example), but whatever you've got lying around. For the wine, a Côtes du Rhône or Beaujolais ("something with a backbone to it," according to bartender Tristan Willey) is recommended, but I most recently used a $9 Cab Sav from Aldi (a price gouge by Aldi's standards!) that was dryer than a desert, and it was great.

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This cocktail wasn't invented in New York, but it became known by the New York name, likely when a bartender in the city started mixing it up on the regular some hundred years ago. New York adopted it, just like it adopted a lot of us. It's strong of will, and it looks more glamorous than its build would have you believe. You don't have to sprain a wrist mixing it up on a busy Christmas Eve or lazy Christmas afternoon.

But if the bright-lights-plentiful-liquor thing doesn't do it for you, take a look at Esquire's other favorite cocktails for winter, for the holidays, and for New Year's Eve. We're full of festive drinking knowledge. Season's greetings, and all that.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Sarah Rense
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