Not only is the New York Sour cocktail stunning, but the combination of flavors and the silky texture makes this one hell of a winner! This New York Sour recipe consists of a classic whiskey sour base finished with a red wine float.

Why I Love this New York Sour Recipe

I first came to know the New York Sour when I was a waitress—knowing very little about whiskey then, I recommended it purely for it’s visual appeal. I now have many more reasons for why you should try this glorious cocktail! 

The New York Sour is the ideal cocktail. It’s tart, slightly sweet, and perfectly warming.

What is a New York Sour? 

On its most basic level, the New York Sour is basically a whiskey sour with a float of red wine to finish. A splash of dry red wine balances the slightly sweet whiskey sour base and adds depth of flavor.

4 images showing someone pour whiskey, lemon juice and maple syrup into a glass

What goes into a New York Sour?

  • Whiskey
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pure maple syrup (or simple syrup)
  • Egg white (fresh or pasteurized from a jug if you prefer)
  • Red wine
grid of 3 images showing a whiskey sour with egg white shaken

How to Make this Recipe

The whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white get dry shaken (without ice). Ice is added and the cocktail is shaken to chill then poured over ice into a rocks glass.

A splash of dry red wine is then gently poured over top to create three stunning layers and one killer cocktail.

What kind of whiskey to use

Rule number one, use a whiskey you like! But if you need a bit of guidance, I recommend using rye whiskey, though bourbon is also great.

2 images showing someone pour a whiskey sour into a glass filled with ice

What kind of red wine to use

Like I said with the whiskey—use a wine you like and would drink on its own.

However, since the cocktail features a bit of simple syrup or maple syrup, I recommend using a dry red wine.

Some sources recommend a fruity red wine, but between the lemon and the simple syrup, I find a dry red wine does a better job of balancing the cocktail’s flavors.

Shiraz, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Zinfandel will work great here. 

red wine dripping down the back of a spoon over a yellow cocktail with a layer of foam on top

Is adding an egg white safe?

Many bars will use fresh egg white, but for ease of use and for food safety reasons, I recommend using pasteurized egg whites. You can find them sold in cartons right next to the fresh eggs.

a layered cocktail in a rocks glass. bottom layer is orange-yellow, middle layer is red and top layer is white

More whiskey cocktails to love…

The Best New York Sour Cocktail

4.79 from 14 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 1 cocktail
Category Drinks
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant


The New York Sour achieves the perfect balance of flavors—sweet, tart, warm, and slightly dry. Stunning and classic! 


  • 2 ounces rye or bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce egg white, optional
  • ¾ ounce pure maple syrup or simple syrup
  • ½ ounce dry red wine


  • Add whiskey, lemon juice, egg white and syrup in a cocktail shaker and dry shake (without ice) for 20 seconds. Add a few cubes of fresh ice and shake 30 seconds until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  • Slowly pour wine over the back of a bar spoon so that the wine floats on top of the drink.


Egg white: for ease and food safety reasons, use pasteurized egg whites. You can find them sold next to the eggs in a carton.


Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
a layered cocktail in a rocks glass. bottom layer is orange-yellow, middle layer is red and top layer is white

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This recipe and article were originally published on October 15, 2020.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely loved this sour whiskey recipe, it’s great to play with the flavors of your cocktail and try something different. Thank you for sharing this, definitely one of the best sour whiskey recipes I have found on the internet.

  2. 4 stars
    Ok I did a Jack Daniel’s with naturql maple syrup, real lemon juice and I used Stella Red wine which has alittle fiz to it. Very good. Stuff I had around. Did not look anything like your picture

    1. Hi Leslie, I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it! Not sure why it didn’t look the same—the red wine float on top can be finicky! The fizz of the red wine could have impacted it from creating a layer.

  3. 5 stars
    Yes Yes Yes- give me all the craft cocktails. This is such an impressive “sour” cocktail. We used the rye whiskey and of course the egg white. It was frothy and delicious. I am going to make these as an appetizer cocktail at our next dinner party.