Adventures With Foam II – New York Sour

The New York Sour is one of those great pre-prohibition cocktails that is easy to make, doesn't need obscure ingredients and looks great. Not to mention that the concoction is quite tasty even by today's standards. Usually I wouldn't mess around with such a classic, but pure chance led me to a quite tasty variation.

What Time Is It?

Basically a New York Sour is a Whiskey Sour with red wine floated on top. Depending on what red wine you use, the drink takes on a different character. Bourbon (or rye) and lemon go great with wine and bring out its different unique flavors. There are endless possibilities due to the great variety of wines today, which means you can tweak this cocktail to almost any taste.

Things I will never understand, #458: Putting a New York Sour on the rocks. – David Wondrich

I mentioned in last week's post, when coming up with the Green Wave cocktail, that I made a New York Sour using a red wine foam instead of just floating it. It was pure chance, as I had a bottle of wine at hand and needed to come up with a foam. Nevertheless, this twist on the New Your Sour was so tasty that I had to revisit it later. So after I was done with my Green Wave cocktail I immediately began making another red wine foam to find out why it worked so well.

Adventure Time!

Making red wine foam is quite simple and fast. All you need is some wine, gelatin and a cream whipper. If you chill the wine beforehand you can skip refrigerating the foam, which means you can use it immediately.

As for what wine to use I leave that to your personal taste. I used a local, dry red wine that was rather light, but I also tried the recipe using a rosé foam and got a totally different, equally delicious, drink. Choose any wine you like and you probably won't be disappointed.


Red Wine Foam

  • 200ml Red Wine
  • 1.5 Sheets of Gelatin

Soften the sheets of gelatin in cold water for five minutes, then strain and wring out the excess water. Dissolve the gelatin in a bit of very warm water, then gradually add the red wine while stirring. Fill everything into a cream whipper and charge with N20 (or C02), shake and refrigerate.


Similar to how you should choose your favorite red wine for this cocktail, I suggest using a bourbon you like drinking, especially in a Whiskey Sour. I really like Woodford Reserve in my Whiskey Sour and Whiskey Smash, which is why this was my bourbon of choice in this recipe. If you have a really dry and strong red wine, maybe go for a characterful rye instead.


New York Sour

New York Sour

Add the bourbon, lemon juice and syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Fine strain into a cocktail glass and gently top up with the red wine foam.


Creamy red wine foam is the first thing you feel and taste, but is quickly followed by the sweetness of bourbon and acidity of lemon. Since I used a dry red wine it was a nice contrast. An overall refreshing drink, but the wine adds a certain complexity that a Whiskey Sour is usually missing.

Feel free to use your preferred ratio of bourbon, lemon and syrup. I find 6:3:2 is usually a good starting point and adjust it depending on how sour the lemons are. Just like the wine and bourbon it all comes down to personal taste.

In Conclusion

Using a foam in this classic cocktail offers two advantages. First, not only does it look pretty, but it stays pretty. A float can easily mix with the rest of the cocktail if you are not careful while drinking. Which means the cocktail may look nice at the beginning, but looses the neat look after some time. Foam is robust and stays on top of the cocktail during the whole process of drinking it.

The second advantage is even more important. The taste stays consistent. The foam and the rest of the cocktail don't mix easily, which means that your last sip tastes just like your first. And of course the fluffy, foamy feeling is a great addition to this cocktail.

New York Sour after some sips

As you can see the overall look of the cocktail is the same as when it was freshly made.

I can only recommend trying this classic with a red wine foam. You don't need a lot to make it work and it is a unique experience. Maybe use it to impress your guests next time, as working with foam is always a nice surprise.

I have learned to consider foam as a useful ingredient and from now on I will think about using it more in my cocktails. But when the next time will be, I can't say. Follow me on Twitter or subscribe via mail to find out. If you have some ideas, leave a comment, as I'm always interested in finding new recipes.


Title image via pixabay.