Monday, April 20, 2009

new york sour

2 oz Rye (Pikesville)
1/2 Lemon (~3/4 oz Juice)
1/2 oz Water
1 tsp Sugar (1 Demerara Sugar Cube)
1 dash Curacao (1/4 oz Curacao of Curacao)
1/2 oz oz Claret (Herding Cats Cab/Shiraz)

Muddle sugar in water. Add rye, lemon juice, curacao, and ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail or sour glass and float the wine on top.

On Thursday before cooking dinner, I cracked open David Wondrich's Imbibe! and found the recipe for the New York Sour which had been mentioned on Chow. I was attracted to the recipe for the concept of the red wine float. Wondrich cites a Chicago bartender who claimed that the float of red wine gives the drink "the claret 'snap'... [which] makes the drink look well and it gives it a better taste." To the recipe, I took Wondrich's recommendation to reduce the sugar from 1 tablespoon to 1 teaspoon and also "modernized" the recipe by using the 1880's-era addition of curacao.
To what would be an otherwise regular rye sour, the curacao rounded out the citrus flavors and added more depth. The wine float surprisingly lingered even the glass was emptied, albeit in diminished depth. Indeed, the wine did not just add a delightful appearance to the drink but the tannins served to dry out the drink slightly besides adding to the flavor. The extra attention to details in the recipe levitated this drink above a normal whiskey sour and made it quite a "pleasant-looking, red-headed drink" (Chicago Tribune, 1883).

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