new york sour

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If you created a mood board that accumulated all of my cocktail interests — whiskey, lemon juice, succinctness, and some kind of niche New York spin [see: Fairytale of New York, Perfect Manhattan] — you might also wonder why it’s taken 15 years for us to talk about the wonder that is the New York Sour. Let’s waste no more time without it. The New York Sour is, in fact, a classic whiskey sour — whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and an egg white, if you wish, for a more dramatic texture — with dash of red wine that, ideally, should float atop creating distinct layers that integrate as you sip. I had thought that rye is more common than bourbon, because rye can come from New York, but have yet to find that corroborated. Regardless, you can use what you have, as I did.


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Alas, I’m absolutely terrible at “floating” drinks; no amount of solid advice about bar spoons, surface trickles, or vigorous shaking to create more body to float another liquid in suspension on top of has improved my skillset. Consider these images a placeholder until a more skilled drinks stylist comes over and teaches me how to make them as pretty as the internet insists they can look.

For a Hanukkah party spin, I can never resist making what I call a Manischewitz Sour, using the sweet red kosher table wine classically used for kiddush (a blessing over wine) and Passover that’s much-derided and yet, I’m sorry, perfect here. There are three more nights of Hanukkah; I hope these bring them good cheer.

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  • Ice
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) rye whiskey or bourbon
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) simple syrup, plus more to taste
  • 1 large egg white (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine

Place a handful of ice, the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white (if you’re using it) in a cocktail shaker or a jar with a lid. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker or glass is frosty and very chilled. Strain over more ice into two glasses.Gently place a thin spoon upside-down at the surface of the drink and slowly, in the barest trickle, pour 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine over the back of it, moving it across the drink’s surface as you pour. If all goes well, the wine will stay at the surface of the drink. If it sinks, well, it’s still going to be pretty and delicious. Repeat with the second drink.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 4 tablespoons granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons of cold water (to speed up the cooling process) and pour into a jar or bowl to finish cooling. You’ll have a little more than you need here, but it keeps forever in the fridge.

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