New York Sour

New York Sour Recipe

After traveling the world in search of the latest in all things cocktails, Jerry Thomas, affectionately called the Father of the Cocktail, opened his celebrated bar on Broadway and 22nd Street. He described sours in his 1862 book, Bartenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks, the first recipe book for bartenders. Our version of Thomas’s New York Sour is made with apple brandy from Laird’s, America’s first commercial distillery. Opened in Scobeyville, New Jersey, and in operation since 1780, Laird’s has supplied everyone from George Washington’s troops to visiting foreign dignitaries with its legendary apple-based spirits.

Any leftover apple shrub not needed for the New York Sour recipe can be served over ice and topped with sparkling water to make a refreshing nonalcoholic beverage.–Daniel Humm and Will Guidara

LC Shrub Note

Shrub? Seriously, that’s what someone decided to dub a concoction made of fermented fruit, sugar, and vinegar? We’re not sure which has us more confused, that or the fact that someone thought to do this in the first place and then toss it in a cocktail and dub it a New York Sour. We gotta say, though, after tasting this easy drink recipe, we’d like to thank that someone.

Special Equipment: Cocktail shaker

New York Sour Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 5 D
  • Serves 4


  • For the apple shrub
  • 6 Red Delicious apples
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • For the New York Sour
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) Laird’s 12-year-old apple brandy
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
  • 4 medium or large egg whites
  • 1 to 3 ounces (2 to 6 tablespoons) Simple Syrup


  • Make the apple shrub
  • 1. Peel the apples with a paring knife, being sure to leave some of the apple (about 1/4 inch thick) attached to the peel. You should have about 2 cups peels. Reserve the apple itself for another use, such as a pie or crisp. Toss the peels with the sugar in a container with a lid. Cover and refrigerate for 3 days.
  • 2. After 3 days, combine the vinegar and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot liquid over the apple peels and sugar. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Cover the container and let rest at room temperature for 2 days.
  • 3. After 2 days, shake the mixture to ensure all the sugar has dissolved and then strain it through a chinois, reserving only the liquid. Cover and refrigerate the shrub for up to several weeks. (Note: Any leftover apple shrub not needed for the recipe can be served over ice and topped with sparkling water to make a refreshing nonalcoholic beverage.)
  • Make the New York Sour
  • 4. Combine 2 ounces (1/4 cup) apple brandy, 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) lemon juice, 1/4 to 3/4 ounce (1/2 tablespoon to 1 1/2 tablespoons) simple syrup, and 1 egg white in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake very, very well. Strain into a cocktail glass and slowly layer 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) apple shrub over the drink. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve the New York Sours at once.
Thirsty for more? Sip on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

Back to New York Sour on Leite's Culinaria