Cellarmaster’s Whiskey Sour Recipe

The cocktail to please both whiskey drinkers and wine lovers
November 20, 2018Words by Elliot ClarkPhotos by Elliot Clark

A whiskey sour is yours for the making all year round. It’s refreshing enough to keep up with a spritz during the warm summer months, and so very appropriate during the colder seasons of the year. Even if you’re not a whiskey fan (which breaks my heart), you might still find yourself swooning over a well-crafted whiskey sour. Only this one is better.

A classic whiskey sour uses bourbon or rye as the base spirit, but I’m a big fan of split base cocktails. For example, in this recipe instead of using 2 ounces of whiskey, I use one ounce of bourbon and one ounce of cognac. This amps up the complexity of the drink in a really simple way and helps to introduce different flavor profiles. Even more importantly, it’ll impress your guests.  

Cellarmaster's Sour

But we’re not stopping there. Let’s add another layer to this cocktail...literally. In this case, red wine.

It might seem like a novel concept, but floating red wine on the surface of a whiskey sour dates back to another classic cocktail called a New York Sour. The red wine meshes perfectly with the cognac in this recipe and adds an abstract fruitiness that you wouldn’t otherwise get from a classic whiskey sour.

This drink is appealing to the eyes and simple to batch in large amounts. Mix this one up at your next holiday get together. Caution, though: This cocktail may elicit excessive amounts of attention.

Cellarmaster's Sour


(Makes one serving)

• 1 oz bourbon

• 1 oz cognac (We recommend Pierre Ferrand 1840)

• 3/4 oz lemon juice

• 3/4 oz vanilla syrup (Recipe below)

• Dry red wine (We used Cooper & Thief Red Blend

Cellarmaster's Sour


Combine the bourbon, cognac, lemon juice, and vanilla syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to chill and dilute the cocktail. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Gently pour a bit of your red wine over the back of a spoon held just above the drink’s surface so the wine floats on top—no garnish needed.

Finished Cellarmaster's Sour

Vanilla Syrup Recipe

Combine equal parts sugar and water in a small-to-medium sized saucepan over low heat (do not bring to a boil). Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and remove from heat. For the vanilla flavor, I recommend using vanilla bean pods instead of extract. Add in 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise with the little black seeds scraped out. Let the vanilla bean and seeds steep in the syrup as it cools to room temperature. Strain the syrup through a coffee filter to remove the little seeds. Keep the syrup refrigerated for up to two weeks.

For more cocktail recipes like this one, follow Elliott Clark on Instagram @apartment_bartender.

>>Next: Bourbon Coffee Old Fashioned Recipe


Trending Gear