The New Amsterdam Sour

In the world of cocktails, change a single ingredient and you have a whole new drink on your hands. To wit: a Whiskey Sour is a pretty great drink by itself, combining whiskey with lemon and sugar. Add a new ingredient (in this case, red wine) and you have instead a New York Sour, transforming a solid but simple drink into something much more complex and robust. Swap out another ingredient – replacing the whiskey with some aged Genever that my sweet wife recently gave me as a present – and we have a mellow, complex drink that’s perfect for this transition from summer to fall. – Andrew



Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

New Amsterdam Sour

2 oz Aged Genever
2/3 oz Lemon Juice
2/3 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 – 1 oz Red Wine

Combine the Genever, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Pour the wine very gently over the drink – pouring over the back of a barspoon half-submerged in the drink helps to float the wine on the surface. Enjoy!

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I’ve seen recommendations to stir the wine before you take your first sip, but I like to leave the wine floating on top – what used to be called a “claret snap” – to both keep the gorgeous layered look and to give the flavors of the drink a layered effect too. But that’s a personal preference and it’s entirely up to you. A dry red wine is best, like a tannic Spanish tempranillo, because of the contrast between the sharp spiciness of the wine and the round, smooth maltiness of the aged Genever. It’s a surprisingly complex bunch of flavors out of just four simple ingredients.

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Near as I can tell, the New Amsterdam Sour’s precursor, the New York Sour, is a drink that dates back to the 1870s or 1880s. Despite its apparent association with Prohibition – a recent episode of Boardwalk Empire was named after it – it’s an older drink, and this should come as no surprise. Cocktails made from or including wine were pretty popular before Prohibition, but most have fallen out of favor. (Except maybe for Sangria.) And even the most familiar drinks these days that preserve this fondness for wine, at least in the form of Vermouth – drinks like the Manhattan or the Martini – are usually made with way less wine than they should be. So let’s mix up some New Amsterdam Sours, or some classic New York Sours, and bring wine back into cocktails.


Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper