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Happy Hour: New York Sour

Photograph by Daniel Montoya

New York has a knack for adopting everything from fashion to food to people, molding each into its own particular blend of outra­geous, sophisticated, and neurotic. Such is the case with the New Your sour, a relatively common variation on the frothy whiskey clas­sic that, up until the early twentieth century, flew under several aliases, including the Continental Sour and the Southern Whiskey Sour. What separates this drink from a regular sour is the addition of a red wine float, which transforms the unassuming sour into this Technicolor fog-lifter of a cocktail.

This recipe hails from a handy cocktail recipe book we've discovered called The Essential Bar Book, which quite literally has everything you need to know about making great cocktails...and what goes in them. Try this one tonight for a gorgeous pre-dinner cocktail or try it at your next party. Invite your guests to join the fun and create the red wine float.

RECIPE: New York Sour

Yields 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces rye or bourbon
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
  • ¼ ounce red wine

Glassware: rocks


  1. Add whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  2. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Gently drizzle red wine over the back of a bar spoon to create a float atop the cocktail.
Photograph by Daniel Montoya

Reprinted with permission from The Essential Bar Book, by Jennifer Fiedler, copyright 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House LLC.

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