New York Sour Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on April 19, 2023

The New York Sour is one of my favorite sour cocktails. It is a beautiful Whiskey Sour variation topped with a lush red wine float, and the flavors are just perfectly balanced.
New York Sour Cocktail

Sour cocktails are a delight - an uncomplicated and delicious mix of spirit, citrus, and simple syrup. Our New York Sour recipe includes a foamy egg white top to create a rich, creamy mouthfeel. 

Quick Facts New York Sour

  • Method: shaken
  • Flavor profile: sour, well-balanced
  • How to serve it: over ice
  • Glassware: rocks glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 15.5% ABV, 20.5 grams of alcohol per serving

The New York Sour is the most popular riff on a classic Whiskey Sour recipe and a splendid cocktail. It is easy to make, well-balanced, very complex in taste, and looks sensational.

New York Sour Cocktail Recipe

New York Sour Recipe

Maybe the most popular riff on a classic Whiskey Sour.
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bourbon, egg white, lemon juice, redwine, wine
Servings: 1
Calories: 246kcal
Cost: $2.50


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Bar spoon
  • 1 Cocktail Shaker
  • 1 Hawthorne Strainer


  • 2 oz Bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz Simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz Dry red wine - (see recommendations)
  • 1 Egg white
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters


  • Pour Whiskey, lemon juice, syrup, and egg white into your cocktail shaker and shake without ice for 15 to 20 seconds (dry shake).
    2 oz Bourbon whiskey, 1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice, 0.5 oz Simple syrup, 1 Egg white
  • Add ice into the shaker and shake again for another 10 to 15 seconds until the drink is well-chilled.
  • Strain over fresh ice into a chilled Old Fashioned Glass.
  • Wait a moment until the foamy top is fully there, and layer the red wine by using the back of your bar spoon. Gently float it to create a nice effect.
    0.5 oz Dry red wine
  • Add two dashes of Angostura bitters on the egg white foam and garnish with a lemon peel twist.
    2 dashes Angostura bitters


Serving: 5.25ozCalories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 7.88gProtein: 3.5gFat: 0.1gSodium: 58mgPotassium: 144.5mgSugar: 7.58gVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 23mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Which Whiskey for the New York Sour?

I advise using bourbon for making a New York Sour cocktail. The sweetness of the corn-based whiskey goes exceptionally well with the dryness of the red wine float. 

However, you will also find many versions using Rye as a base. So if you have an open bottle of a decent Rye at hand, that will work, too. -Just, a good bourbon will be slightly better 😉

Best Red Wine for the Float

A fruity, dry red wine of good quality will deliver fantastic results - far better than an overly sweet one.

A Bordeaux-style red wine usually is a good choice, or a fruity and dry Rioja, Shiraz, Merlot, or Malbec are suitable wines for a New York Sour.

Since the red wine float is essential for this cocktail, you should not simply use any leftover red wine you have in your fridge. 

How to Make the Egg-White Foam

In order to get a nice and firm egg white foam, I recommend performing a dry shake first. 

That means shaking the drink for about 15 seconds without ice to get a thicker foam. The reason is that egg white emulsifies easier, creating a frothy and creamy foam.

If the result is still not up to your standards, you can extend the dry shaking time to approximately 20 seconds. That should be enough shaking time to create a perfect egg-white foam.

For me, a great New York Sour needs that perfect egg white foam. It tastes fantastic, creates a nice consistency, and enhances the visual presentation. 

If you're not into egg white in cocktails, you can also create the foamy part with Aquafaba. For further information, please read my post about Aquafaba vs. egg white.

History of the New York Sour Recipe

Following all hints available, it's likely the New York Sour recipe dates back to Chicago during the 1880s

Early recipes of the New York Sour had been without egg white. Yet, modern recipes often use it to create a smoother mouthfeel. As a nice side effect, the egg white creates a third layer of color to the drink.

The Whiskey Sour, its predecessor, is one of the most successful cocktail creations of all time. 

The drink was invented by Jerry Thomas and first printed in his "Bartenders Guide" in 1862. His creation quickly became one of America's most loved cocktails. Not only is it an ever-green cocktail, but it also led to many exciting and tasty variations, like the New York Sour.

Further, when talking about early versions of the New York Sour, I should mention that it was initially named Continental Sour or Southern Whiskey Sour. It was only in the 1900s that the name changed to New York Sour.

Now, you might have heard of the Continental Sour as a different drink. And it is indeed. Today's Continental Sour is floated with port wine, which I find equally delicious.

Related Cocktails

The New York Sour is part of an entire family of drinks comprising some of the most famous cocktails recipes out there. Other drinks that follow the same template of base spirit, citrus juice, and syrup are:

For a more comprehensive overview of this popular category of mixed drinks, check out this list of our favorite Sour Cocktails

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