Monday, September 1, 2014

An Askew Manhattan

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

I’ve been a fan of Four Roses Bourbon for several decades now.  It goes to show you when something hits your taste buds just right; you want to seek it out.  Go no further than DrinkupNY where they have the object of my desire.  The Small Batch Bourbon from Four Roses is what I crave.  It wasn’t always that way, though.  I thought the Yellow Label was the go/to for my mint juleps and that would be correct because for many years that was the only Four Roses Bourbon that was available!

Last September I saw it in Italy.  This says something about the quality of the ingredients to me.  It also said American Bourbon.  This is something that you cannot make anyplace but our country.  There are times that you’re in a foreign land and you just crave something from home.  Four Roses Bourbon says that to me and it’s indispensible for this reason.  I’ve enjoyed mere sips of it and found myself transported to the place that says to me, sweet water that bubbles up from the ground. 

The Small Batch is such a product. 

Imagine for a moment that you have a craving for a Manhattan Cocktail.  This is traditionally one of my favorites.  The tannic bourbon, enrobed in a splash or two of sweet vermouth, a cherry- often times made at home and a few hits of bitters to finish.  This is the drink that made me love Four Roses.  It’s just so simple and easy to do.  But please think outside the traditions for this take on the Manhattan.  You’ve gone to the fridge and there are no cherries steeping!  But there are dried apricots in the panty and they call out to you, “soak me in Four Roses Bourbon!” 

So you do.  Opening the package, the sensual aromatics from the apricots fill the room.  You take about a cup of the dried marvels and add them to two cups of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon. (Yes, you treat yourself nicely!)

Let them steep for a day or more.  If you start them in the morning, they’ll certainly be ready by the evening. 

The Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon will form the base for this take on the Manhattan.  It is perfectly geared to quality drinks like the Manhattan.  Your friends might not understand the sophistication and quality of Four Roses, but you can tell them by letting them taste your concoctions.

Suddenly, if by magic- you discovered that your bottle of Carpano Antica is empty!  DrinkupNY can also help you in this regard. May I suggest trying the new Bianco version of the classic? The Carpano Bianco Sweet Vermouth is every bit as sumptuous as the traditional red Carpano, yet the color is perfectly clear, making your drinks just look slightly lighter.  And because Carpano goes gorgeously with Four Roses, you won’t have to skimp on a less expensive vermouth to get the very best flavors injected deeply into this drink.  

Ok, so you have the Four Roses Small Batch- steeped apricots, the Small Batch Bourbon for the Manhattan, and the Carpano Antica Bianco. 

What should go in next?

I’m just crazy for the Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate Bitters and this time seems to be the perfect moment for this rich and densely dark, bitter flavor that needs to be in your cocktail glass, even with just seltzer, it’s got all the stuffing that you demand. 

Right now!

I mean, what is a Manhattan (even a twisted take on a Manhattan) without the bitters? 

Well, I’ll leave that conversation to a more polite time, this drink needs to be made and more importantly, drunk.  One after another would be perfect for me. 

To make this drink you do need patience.  The apricots cannot be hurried up.  They need to soak up the precious liquor and make it part of themselves. 

The glassware is important too.  I suggest using a well-washed glass that belonged to your grandfather.  He used it for years and you should too.  It’s one of those things that connect you to the venerable history of this cocktail. 

Fill the glass with ice and water- let it sit to become frosty and cold.  Pour out the ice and water just before using it. 

In a cocktail mixing glass, fill 1/3 with ice
Add the Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Stir to chill 3-4 times (this is not a race!)
Add the Carpano Bianco
Stir another 3-4 times
Pour into your pre-chilled glass
Add the plump, Four Roses Small Batch infused apricot to the glass
Dot with the Spiced Chocolate Bitters from the Bitter Truth
Start another one, just like the other one.. 


An Askew Manhattan
3 oz. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
1 oz. Carpano Antica Bianco Sweet Vermouth
2-3 dashes Bitter Truth Spiced Chocolate Bitters
1-2 Four Roses Small Batch Steeped Apricots

Add the ingredients, except for the Bitters and the Apricots to a mixing glass filled 1/3 with ice

Stir until chilled (gently!)

Pour through a Hawthorne Strainer into a pre-chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a few marinated apricots and dot with the bitters….


Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

About Warren Bobrow
Author of: Apothecary Cocktails-Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today- Fair Winds Press- Beverly, Massachusetts. Apothecary Cocktails was nominated for a Spirited Award, 2014 Tales of the Cocktail.  His forthcoming book, Whiskey Cocktails will be released October 14.  Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails follow with publication in spring ’15.  Warren is a master mixologist for several craft liquor companies.

Warren consults about mixology and spirits, travel, organic wine and food.  He’s written for web-blogs and magazines like: Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods: Dark Rye, Distiller, Total Food Service Magazine, Beverage Media Group, DrinkupNY, Edible Publications, Foodista, Serious Eats, Mechanics of Style and Beekman1802.  He was in the Saveur-100 in 2010.

Warren is a former, mostly self, trained cook from the pot sink on up.  J&W and ACF were thrown in for good luck.  Warren was the former owner/co-founder of Olde Charleston Pasta in South Carolina: *Dissolved his business after Hurricane Hugo in 1989* - to a career in private banking, (nearly 20 years; “a very grand mistake”) to this reinvention in 2009 as the Warren he's finally become.

Warren is available to do highly personalized, interactive mixology events, local, national and international.

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