Friday, September 28, 2012

Manhattan Variations: Bushwick

Here’s a Brooklyn with sweet vermouth instead of dry. I had wondered if it might be slightly too heavy for my taste but ended up enjoying it. The inspiration of bartender Phil Ward, it was brought to my attention by Keith P, who writes theSpeakista and has a fine Manhattan series of his own.


  • 2 oz rye (Rittenhouse 100)
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
  • 1/4 oz Torani Amer
  • 1/4 oz Maraschino (Luxardo)
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Richer than the original Brooklyn, there’s a Red Hookish darkness from the sweet vermouth that I may even prefer in this sort of arrangement to dry vermouth.

Monday, September 17, 2012

MxMo LXV: Equal Parts—Arithmetic Leisure

Very warm thanks to Frederic of Cocktail Virgin Slut for both taking over Mixology Monday and for being this month’s host. And most of all, I’d like to thank him for eliminating the need to rack my tipsy brain trying to remember how much was measured for each ingredient in the final version of my drink because Frederic’s theme is equal parts. (Whether I can pour equal parts by the end of the evening is another story.)


Arithmetic Leisure

  • 1 oz Dry Rye Gin
  • 1 oz Punt e Mes
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz fresh orange juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled wine glass. Add fresh ice.

This aperitif cocktail is built around the Dry Rye Gin from St. George Spirits, the fruit notes from the other ingredients balancing the rye, juniper and peppercorns, and the bitter botanicals all coming together as a whole.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Manhattan Variations: Saratoga Cocktail

DJ HawaiianShirt of Spirited Remix suggested that this Manhattan relative might make an interesting taste comparison with the more familiar standard. It’s certainly very grand, swapping half the whiskey with brandy. I went all the way and made mine with Courvoisier and 100-proof rye, just as I sometimes do with Sazeracs. The vermouth on the first round was with Martini & Rossi—good to be sure—but it was much richer when made with the dense and vanillic Carpano Antica as Paul Clarke suggests.

I made a Saratoga and a Manhattan with the same amounts of spirits, bitters and vermouth, and the housemate and I each had a half. We agreed that the Saratoga was rounder, silkier, more contemplative. The Manhattan seemed edgier, like its weight was shifted slightly forward.

I dunno that I have a preference per se except to note that for all my years in San Francisco, my feet still wanna get me everywhere in a New York minute.


Saratoga Cocktail
  • 1 oz rye
  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Lemon twist.

This recipe, more or less, appears in Jerry Thomas’s Bar-Tender’s Guide, as per my usual my time machine for the 19th-century cocktail, David Wondrich’s Imbibe!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Manhattan Calling: Manhattan Cocktail Links

The last few days, I’ve been running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken, but don’t suppose for a moment that I haven’t been thinking about and drinking Manhattans in my customary fashion. Below are a few links I happened to like, in no particular order.

The great gaz regan on the great whiskey potion.

And of course you gotta have Wondrich too.

Oh yeah—and Robert Hess has a video.

Then there’s the Wall Street Journal.

None of these mentions that story about Jennie Jerome having invented the Manhattan, presumably because she didn’t and it seems barely worthy of a footnote now. But it turns up now and then—I saw it in the first bar book I read—so you might as well have it. You can say that you read it in The NYT so it must be true that it’s not true. And there’s a variation at Churchill, appropriately, which is named after her, and more of a Brooklyn anyway.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Calling All Manhattans: Nihil Utopia

This one from Dagreb of Nihil Utopia arrives a bit belatedly cuz I had to fetch the Knob Creek Single Barrel for it, but very well worth the wait. The overproof bourbon balances well with the big jolt of Martini & Rossi, making for something like an ultimate bar Manhattan. And as such, it cries out for a red cherry. (Fear not—it’s naturally dyed.)


  • 2 oz Knob Creek Single Barrel
  • 1 oz Martini & Rossi Rosso
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Cherry.

Another superb Manhattan, rich yet graceful. I’m impressed as I make each of these varied recipes how essentially Manhattan-like they all are.

Oh yeah, and in case anyone’s still wondering, I’m on a Manhattan jag, spinning favorites from callers out there in the broadcast area. Anyone can play.
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