George Dickle Rye New York Sour

After some time trying a plethora of whiskey cocktails, I'm seriously digging rye these days. I attribute it to the spiciness of rye melding well with the sugary components of most cocktails. Bourbon is naturally "sweeter" than rye, and I think bourbon cocktails (when sugar is added) is just too sweet. In short, if I'm mixing my whiskey, bring on the rye!

I'm actually not a whiskey sour drinker. I always thought of them as sugary, unimaginative cocktails with zero appeal. Probably because my perception of the cocktail was skewed in my younger years, when some friends and acquaintences  would order up whiskey sours and they were crafted haphazardly with with some cheap sour mix and Kentucky Gentleman. [Gag reflex]. 

However, a new favorite of mine has become the New York Sour. I happened upon this cocktail on an Easter Sunday, in which an Easter brunch quickly spiraled into an Easter bar crawl, after my now fiancé and some of our other friends decided that after three bottles (yes, bottles) of "champagne" - it was sparkling wine, c'mon - we needed more alcohol to live our our Sunday fun day. At one fortunate stop on the impromptu crawl, we found ourselves at Café Dupont, of The Dupont Circle hotel. I always look for the whiskey-based cocktail on a menu. Naturally. I ordered an old-fashioned. Also, naturally. However, for some reason that I cannot recall, I was denied this beverage and was tasked with ordering an alternative. And since I'd already had a copious amount of social lubrication pumping through my veins, I was feeling adventurous.

History

Surprisingly, the New York Sour, which dates back to the late 1870s, was created in Chicago by a bartender who claimed to have invented the Manhattan.
While the Manhattan claim can’t be confirmed, the New York Sour can safely be attributed to this bartender, though the cocktail’s name changed a few times after its conception. It was known as the Continental Sour and the Southern Whiskey Sour before becoming the New York Sour, most likely after some New York bartender popularized it and changed its name (a common occurrence in cocktail history).
Regardless of what you call it, this drink begs the question of why bartenders were messing with a perfectly great whiskey sour. During that time period, a few sources reported that bartenders around Chicago were “constructing sours with a claret snap.”

Courtesy Matt Seiter of Feast Magazine

THE RECIPE

Here is the first (and subsequently best) New York Sour recipe I have seen and successfully replicated.

  • 2 oz George Dickle Rye
  • 1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ¾ oz Demerara Simple Syrup
  • Don Miguel Gascón Malbec
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

Preparation: Add whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with cube ice. Float the malbec on top and garnish with a lemon wedge.

The Execution

There's plenty of beverages that calls for you to float one liquid atop another. When I see Guinness and Harp beer on the same draft list (found in almost any Irish pub) I'll often order a "Half-and-Half," in which a pint glass is filled halfway with Harp and then the Guinness is slowly and meticulously poured over a spoon on top of the Harp lager. The finished product is a marvel, what looks like water and oil in a glass. This is achieved because the Guinness' liquid density is much higher than the Harp, allowing it to "float" on top. People are often in awe once the final result is revealed because it looks so unusual and intriguing.

Side note: The New York Sour has this same effect on bystanders who catch a glimpse of the cocktail as its being served to its orderer. People will oftentimes ask, "Hey, what is that? It looks amazing!" then order one for themselves because it is, indeed, a beautiful finished product, and it also happens to be delicious.

In the case of the New York Sour, simply hold a spoon upside down (the bottom of the spoon facing upward) over the glass and slowly pour the wine onto the spoon’s backside, letting it cascade onto your whiskey concoction! Pop in a lemon wedge and voilà! Cheers.