New York Sour

Boardwalk Empire is a HBO-comissioned period drama set during Prohibition, and starring Steve Buscemi in the lead role. The first episode of Season 4 features a throwaway remark suggesting that one of the characters was sipping a New York Sour. For many, this is the event that reignited modern interest in the drink.

It is widely accepted that the New York Sour was not invented in New York. It is thought by Simon Difford have been invented in Chicago in the 1880s when it was known as a Continental Sour, presumably as the addition of wine gave it something of a French feel. It has also been called a Southern Whiskey Sour, a Brunswick Sour and a Claret Snap. The identity of the original bartender has been lost to time.

Unfortunately, this story is doubtful. According to David Wondrich, author of Imbibe!, there is evidence of a hand-written cocktail menu dating from 1856 in Toronto that includes the New York Sour. Whether this older drink was the same combination of sour mix, whiskey and wine is also not known. The New York Sour then appears in print in 1862 in Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks.

When we came to make this drink, we were amazed at how good it was. Why is the New York Sour not more popular? Whiskey Sours are one thing, but adding the wine is just genius.

New York Sour

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Serves: 1
Cooking Time: None


  • 50ml bourbon
  • 25ml fresh lemon juice
  • 12ml simple syrup
  • Half an egg white
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 17ml red wine



Shake all the ingredients except the wine with ice. Strain into a second shaker and dry shake without ice.


Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice and drizzle over the wine.

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  • Reply
    Pankaj verma
    27/01/2023 at 3:34 pm

    This New York Sour recipe is delicious! The perfect balance of sweet and sour. Thanks, Nigel for sharing.

    • Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      27/01/2023 at 5:42 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it.

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