How to make a Claret Snap

Awwwww, snap! It’s cocktail time


I’m working on a book about whiskey sour cocktails. Over the last six months, I can honestly say I’ve probably tasted more whiskey sours than just about anyone else on the planet. If there was an international record for tasting them, I probably set it. 

I’ve had them with egg whites and with aquafaba; with bitters and without, and with just about every possible simple syrup and/or modifier that sounds reasonably edible. (And yes, my job is just every bit as hard as you imagine it to be.)

At the beginning of my research, there was one combination that really made me go hmm… and that’s a float of red wine atop a perfectly good whiskey sour cocktail.

Now, don’t get me wrong - I love me some red wine, and I love me some whiskey sour - but why would you put these two, very disparate, things together? Combining them together made me think of that truly horrible duet Dolly Parton did with Sylvester Stallone way back in the 80s. 

Still, in the name of research, I tried it. Alas, how naive I was! Though I predicted a Sweet Lovin’ Friends disaster, it was more like Islands in the Stream - smooth, delicious and perfect for karaoke.

There’s a reason why this combination remains a classic. The tannins in the wine interact with the tannins in the whiskey, and it takes the whole cocktail to a different level. 

Pouring a float of red wine on top of a whiskey sour is technically called a New York Sour, but when it was invented in the late 1800s, it was called the Claret Snap. Claret is an old timey word that refers to Bordeaux or Bordeaux styled red wines.  

So, here’s the Claret Snap. Putting Kenny and Dolly on Spotify while you’re sipping is completely optional, but definitely recommended.


60ml whiskey or whisky (any kind will do)

30ml fresh lemon juice

20ml simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

1 egg white

2 dashes Angostura bitters

20ml float of red Bordeaux wine (any kind will do, but probably not the most expensive one in your collection)

Place whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and bitters into a cocktail shaker. Shake for 30 seconds. Add ice, then shake for another 30 to 60 seconds, then strain into a cocktail glass. Pour red wine over the back of a cocktail spoon to float atop the cocktail.

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