A whiskey sour is just one of those classic drinks that, when ordered anywhere–from the swankiest bar in Midtown to the dive-iest of the dives in Williamsburg–you’ll get a great cocktail. The International Bartenders Association (yes there is an official IBA out there, isn’t that crazy??) says that a traditional whiskey sour is only made with lemon juice, sugar, water, and–of course–whiskey. There’s not much to it, but the sugar and the lemon juice play off each other, making it a sweet and sour drink at the same time, and both taking the edge off the heavy-duty liquor. Nowadays, however, most whiskey sours are prepared using a pre-made sour mix, which leans heavily on the sugar and less on the lemon juice (or citric acid or whatever chemicals they’re presenting as “lemon juice” these days). It’s really best to get the real thing, especially when you’re looking for a strong drink: traditional whiskey sours are equal parts whiskey and mixer, whereas sour mix does too good of a job masking the whiskey flavor, so you can’t tell if the bartender’s shortchanged you a shot or not. Not being much of a drinker, I usually opt for amaretto sours for the lower alcohol content. The sweet-on-sour-on-sweet doesn’t bother me too much, but for those who like their liquor, only a whiskey sour will do.
And there’s no better place to get a whiskey sour cocktail than a whiskey bar! Here, you know you won’t get shortchanged on your liquor and you can be assured that all the ingredients used in the sour mix are fresh and straight from the bartender’s hand. Try out Vintry Wine and Whiskey down in the Financial District to find a slew of bartenders who will cater to your every whiskey whim. Their whiskey sour is actually a “Boston Sour”, which turns “Bostonian” when you add a bit of uncooked egg white to the sour mix. (but don’t hold it against them, lol!) Their whiskeys are all top-shelf, and the skilled bartenders will help you choose the brands that work best for you. While you’re here, check out that bar food menu, where you’ll find fare on a much higher scale than potato skins and onion rings. And considering how good the whiskey is here, you might want to have more than one whiskey sour during your stay–so you’ll need some food in your belly to counter all the good booze!
Vintry Wine & Whiskey
57 Stone St (between Coenties Aly & Mill Ln)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The atmosphere is cozy casual but with a bit of classy flair with sexy lighting. Libations and bites were on my agenda for the evening. The drinks (Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour and “It’s About Thyme” just to name a few), were strong, tasty and obviously mixed with love and skill.”–Leslie D.
“Not a whiskey fan? Me neither! I don’t know what whiskey they use in their drinks but holy moly, it is AMAZING! Their whiskey can turn you into a fan within seconds. I had the normally boring whiskey sour, which by the first sip turned out to be far from boring.”–Marcella S.
Not much of a drinker? Me, either, lol. So I probably won’t be imbibing in any whiskey for Whiskey Sour Day, even though it’s the weekend. But I may just try a pickle…you heard me right! Out in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, the burger joint Burger It Up has your everyday burger and fries menu, with a little twist in their sides. They offer sour pickles that have been fermented in whiskey! Instead of just keeping them in brine, vinegar, and spices, these sour pickles are soaked in the liquor, giving them a pungent, almost spicy taste. It’s definitely not the “Whiskey Sour” you expect to partake in for National Whiskey Sour Day, but with something so unusual and surprisingly tasty, you’ve got to give it a try!
Burger It Up
146 Knickerbocker Ave (between George St & Melrose St), Bushwick
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“This place is great if you’re looking for a good burger in the east williamsburg/bushwick area. It’s a little pricey (burgers are around $9), but is well worth it. I had the “Top of the Morning” which is a burger with bacon egg and cheese. I got the egg runny, and it was amazing. The fries are also great, they have regular and spicy. Burgers also come with a choice of pickle – NY Deli or Whiskey Sour (sour pickle fermented in whiskey), both are good as well.”–Michael A.
“Just moved into the neighboorhood, after hearing about this place i went, 2 days in a row. First day I had the chimichura burger…I can honestly say, 2nd best burger in my life (sorry, Dad’s burgers still win, but I’m bias). Cooked perfectly, served on fresh, what I think was Telera, bread. The Spicy Fries….oh wow! The Whiskey Sour Pickle was great too (wish I could have a few more).”–Dean M.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!