On the Sauce: New York Sour, Cena

The "perfect season transition drink," according to the Channel District Italian restaurant.


As we move closer to fall — calendar, not temperature, wise — we'll start to transition our taste buds toward more autumnal flavors. Now, we haven't exactly reached pumpkin spice latte season yet (not that it's stopped all these pumpkin-flavored product purveyors from trying), but it’s not far too away. Just in time for the switch from summer to fall, Tampa's Cena, a contemporary Italian restaurant in the Channel District, has what it calls the "perfect season transition drink."

If you're not familiar with the New York Sour, let's talk. I was blown away by how good the classic cocktail was when I had my first. It's like a whiskey sour, done right, and a red wine floater elevates the flavors just enough. The great thing about Cena's version is that it's made with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Nope, there's no neon yellow artificial mixer here; this isn't your local chain's two-for-one menu.

Upping the ante even further, with a whiskey sour ingredient I've never seen in a New York Sour, Cena adds egg white to give the cocktail a really nice mouthfeel. Plus: The restaurant is kind enough to offer the option of dry or fruity red wine. I'd recommend the dry — to me, it works best.

This New York Sour is part of the expanded beverage options at Cena, which started its full-liquor bar in May. While the drink isn't on a house cocktail lineup, the Channel District restaurant is in the process of developing new menus. That means you're gonna have to ask for the cocktail by name, which is cool by me — then, the staff will know you're an On the Sauce reader.

Hear that? You've got some newfound street cred.

Cena's New York Sour

Makes 1

2 ounces James E. Pepper Bourbon

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, strained

3/4 ounce sugar syrup

1 ounce egg white

1/2 ounce red wine, to top (could be fruity or dry, depending on preference)

Hard shake all ingredients, minus the red wine, then double strain (using a fine bar strainer) over fresh ice. Let settle for a moment to get the froth on top. Drizzle wine over top. An orange or lemon peel with a cherry is Cena's preference. Some fresh nutmeg or cinnamon would also be a lovely addition.  

Follow CL columnist Chris Fasick (@cfasick) on Twitter, or email him at [email protected] if there's a cocktail or recipe you'd like featured.

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