Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Bourbon Cocktails

New York Sour

New York Sour cocktail in a rocks glass on a sunny countertop / Tim Nusog

A traditional sour is composed of spirit, citrus and sugar (and sometimes egg white) and accounts for many of the best known cocktails in rotation today. The esteemed group includes seemingly disparate classics like the Daiquiri, Pisco Sour and Whiskey Sour, so it’s a varied bunch.

The Whiskey Sour comes from the mid-19th century and is believed to have first appeared in print in the 1862 edition of the famed “Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide.” In addition to being one of America’s great cocktail inventions, the Whiskey Sour has persevered through time and is still beloved. It has spawned numerous variations, but perhaps none so popular as the New York Sour.

The New York Sour updates the Whiskey Sour recipe (whiskey, lemon, sugar, egg white) with a float of dry red wine. The wine lends its aromatic qualities and deep red color to the drink. Reports trace the New York Sour back to the 1870s or 1880s, although it operated under other names during this time, including the Continental Sour. It’s possible that the New York Sour was created in Chicago, but in time, the New York label grabbed on and never let go.

This recipe comes from Allen Katz, the co-founder of New York Distilling Company and a leading expert on spirits and cocktails. He suggests either rye whiskey or bourbon as your base. A rye-spiked sour will feature more prominent spice notes than the bourbon version, but both spirits perform admirably. From there, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup keep the cocktail balanced while the egg white adds a silky texture and frothy head. Finally, red wine is slowly floated on top, providing a striking visual in addition to its dry and fruity flavor.

The New York Sour is one of those cocktails that is relatively simple to execute, yet looks impressive and tastes complex. So, it has all the hallmarks you want when shaking drinks, whether you’re flying solo or serving a crowd.


Click Play to See This New York Sour Come Together


  • 2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon

  • 1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup

  • 1 egg white (optional)

  • 1/2 ounce red wine


  1. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white (optional) into a shaker with ice and shake hard until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

  3. Slowly pour the red wine over the back of a bar spoon so that the wine floats on top of the drink.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.