The Quarantini Series: New York Sour
Somehow, springtime just screams for citrusy cocktails, which I suppose is why the Quarantini Series has been oriented toward tipples loaded with freshly-squeezed lime or lemon juice. This drink it's really an exception, although it doesn't have the same puckery brightness of a marg or French 75.
The whiskey sour is a timeless beverage, and this variation, called a New York sour (although the cocktail actually originated in Chicago in the late 1800s), incorporates a "float" of red wine. The wine adds some nice texture a fruit character to the drink, as well as creating a truly Instagrammable moment with to separate layers and colors in the glass.
We happened to have a sort of stormy, windy, chilly day interrupting some truly glorious weather, and the darker hues and heavier texture of this cocktail seemed appropriate.
Bourbon or rye whiskey can be used for this drink; while there's obviously a great deal of variation between various brands of whiskey, bourbon will afford you a generally smoother, richer, more caramel drink, while rye will give you something a little spicier. Totally depends on your preference, or what you happen to have in the liquor cabinet! Jim Beam, a perfectly fine bourbon, was on sale, so I used that this evening.
The type of wine you choose is important––you'll want to select a dry red wine, and something that is more fruit-forward, such as a zinfandel, a barbera, or even a malbec. Tannic, spicy wines won't work as well. Consider also the type of whiskey you use, and try to match the flavor profile. Additionally, you don't want to use the best wine in your collection––save the best stuff to shine on its own! We didn't actually have a red that perfectly fit the bill, but I opened a tempranillo, with lots of nice red fruit, from our Dominio IV club order, and it worked nicely, and since it is a delicious beverage all on its own, I poured conservatively!
The preparation of the drink is simple. Bring out a rocks glass and fill with a big cube of ice. For each drink, you'll fill a shaker with 2 oz. of bourbon, 1 oz. of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and between .5 and 1 oz. of simple syrup (depending on how much sweetness you prefer). Fill with ice and shake vigorously, straining into the glass over the ice.
The red wine float can be a shade tricky, but you should soon be able to master it. You'll want to wait for just a minute or two after pouring, so any bubbles on the surface can subside a bit. The trick to pouring is to pour very gently so the wine doesn't go to the bottom of the drink. When I use the big ice cube, I can pour very gently (and close to the cube) right over the cube, and the wine will slide off and float beautifully atop. The classic method, however, is to pour the wine over the back of a spoon.
Recipes vary significantly on how much wine to add. Some want just a thin line of red wine in the float and some pour red wine so the layers are almost 50-50. I like to go for about a 3:1 ratio of whiskey sour blend in the bottom to red wine float at the top. This ensures the wine is accounted for in the flavor of the drink, but doesn't overwhelm and just make it taste like a sour wine.
Tell me that isn't one of the prettiest damn cocktails you've ever seen!
When I consume this, I always first take a picture (duh) and then gently blend the wine into the drink by just gently pushing the ice cube down a couple of times.
Hope you enjoy this variation on the classic whiskey sour! As always, stay safe, stay healthy, and eat and drink wonderful things!