Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

Pine Pepper Crush

A short rocks glass rests on a bar top upon a perforated metal grate. The drink within is light gold and topped with a crimson wine that slowly gently with the drink. It’s garnished with black pepper. / Tim Nusog

The New York Sour is one of those cocktails that, if you’re unfamiliar with it, may seem an unlikely combination of ingredients. You don’t see red wine in cocktails often, after all. However, you’ll quickly understand the appeal after your first sip. The drink’s most distinctive feature is that eye-catching red wine float, topping what’s essentially a classic Whiskey Sour of bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and (optionally) egg white. Over the last century, the drink’s popularity has ebbed and flowed, and each time it resurfaces it often comes with a number of variations, twists and tweaks.

This particular twist, the Pine Pepper Crush, comes from bartending professional Jacques Bezuidenhout, and veers quite a bit from the classic version and into the territory of the Tommy’s Margarita (a Margarita that has agave syrup rather than orange liqueur). In the Crush, blanco tequila takes the place of the usual bourbon, lime juice replaces the lemon juice and agave syrup replaces simple syrup. It also gets sweetness and acidity from muddled pineapple and spice from cracked black pepper, both of which pair well with the tequila.

Rather than the familiar red wine float used in the New York Sour, the Pine Pepper Crush gets a float of tawny port. That gives it a similar striking visual, but mutes the tartness of the pineapple rather than enhancing it like a traditional, more acidic red wine float would. The end result is bright and juicier than your average New York Sour, but with additional complexity thanks to the pineapple, port and pepper.


  • 8 pineapple pieces (about the shape of small lime quarter)
  • 2 grinds black pepper
  • 1 3/4 ounces blanco tequila (such as Partida)
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar syrup (1 part agave nectar and 1 part water)
  • 1 ounce 10-year-old tawny port, to float
  • Garnish: Cracked black pepper


  1. In a shaker, muddle the pineapple and add two small grinds of black pepper.

  2. Add the tequila, lime and agave nectar syrup with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  3. Double-strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.

  4. Float the port on top.

  5. Garnish with a twist of black pepper.