Photo: T.J. McLachlan
Following Andrew's post on the Rittenhouse Rye (which is delicious), we are excited to bring you a stunning cocktail, both in colour and flavour - The Black Manhattan. The Manhattan (rye whisky, sweet vermouth, angostura bitters) is one of the all-time classic cocktails and listed as one of the 6 basic drinks in David A. Embury's definitive work, The FIne Art of Mixing Drinks, published in 1948.
As an aside - can you guess the 5 other basic drinks?
The Manhattan is steeped in cocktail folklore, with the usual musings of who made it first (a bartender named 'Black' in a bar on Houston St, near Broadway, NY?), who or what it is named after (Manhattan itself?), and how it should be made (Rye Whiskey. sweet vermouth, bitters?). This drink also finds itself landing seamlessly throughout pop culture. Whether Better Midler is ordering one at the bar Tom Waits finds himself at, or Jack Kerouac (a favourite of this blogger) is supplementing his Port intake with a Manhattan, or Marilyn Monroe making Manhattan's in a hot water bottle in the film, Some LIke it Hot, The Manhattan has earned its well-deserved place in history, and on our menu.
One of the great features of the Manhattan is the flexibility with which you can approach it. Sure, it has a traditional recipe, but this is one cocktail you can play with and still honour the original ingredients. You can use Rye whiskey (as Andrew did with the Rittenhouse), Rye Whisky (from Canada), Scotch Whiskey (as in a Rob Roy), or with Bourbon whiskey, which does have some rye in it. We chose to go with the Bulleit Bourbon, partly because it was already on the menu, but mostly because of the spice it brings to this drink.
We also changed the use of sweet vermouth to introduce Amaro Averna - an Italian bitter dating back to 1868 Sicily. Averna is sweet and thick, with a nice herbal tone to it; it is also less bitter than Campari, but offers a better complexity than the fortified wine we find in sweet vermouth.
For our drink, we use 2 ounces of Bourbon, 1 ounce of the Amaro Averna, a dash of Angostura bitters, and garnished with a maraschino cherry. You can really play with this drink using different base spirits (tequila, port, brandy, scotch), and you can really dial in your particular taste. We are happy to serve this with Bourbon, and hope you enjoy it.