One of the most accessible drinks for home bartenders to begin making and to begin putting their own personal spin on is the sour. The standard recipe of base spirit and equal parts sweet and sour ingredients on either side of that creates the perfect blank canvas to begin experimenting. The egg white is always optional, whether it’s because you simply don’t relish the idea of it your drink, or because you are a vegan. Always remember that in the latter case, you can substitute one teaspoon of the liquid in a can of chick peas for the egg white and it will create almost the same foamy top.
I came across a recipe for a New York Sour in my Speakeasy book by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric. It follows the basic recipe, but floats some dry red wine on top, which creates a very visually appealing drink. There are no clear facts about the origin of this cocktail, except that we know that it became popular in speakeasies in New York city in the 1920s. Logically speaking, this is no surprise. The watered-down whiskey that was served during Prohibition would have greatly benefitted from the addition of the lemon juice, sugar, and wine. Kosmas and Dushan mention that the New York Sour can be thought of as the Prohibition-era Cosmo, a “status-symbol cocktail that advertises itself in appearance.” In addition to the appearance of the cocktail, however beautiful it may be, the taste is truly what elevates it. The combination of the bourbon, which is overproof, and the tannins from the wine plays so nicely against the citrus and sweet ingredients and provides considerable complexity and depth. Kosmas and Dushan suggest that this is a cocktail that can successfully be paired with a meal. I totally agree, especially something from a steakhouse! Cheers everyone. Happy Monday!
New York Sour
1¾ oz Rowan’s Creek Straight Kentucky Bourbon (100.1 proof)
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup
¾ oz dry red wine, like a Malbec or a Syrah
Shake the whiskey, juice, and simple syrup over ice until very cold. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over fresh ice. Carefully float the wine on top. Garnish with an orange wheel and a cherry. Enjoy!