Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cocktail: The Outlaw Manhattan

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Sitting in front of me is a glass of something that I’d never tasted before.  Something so intriguing and complex that my sense of taste will take hours to reset, if ever.  Because what I have in my hand defies my sense of rationality.   The aromatics are redolent through my nostrils… Do I sense the ocean?  Or perhaps is it the scent of quince, just fallen in the orchard?

Adam Ford, founder and creator of Atsby New York Vermouth poured me a sip from a chilled bottle that he brought with him.  Note I said chilled bottle.  Americans are-as a rule- not fond of chilling their vermouth.  This is too bad because that bottle of Martini and Rossi, left over from your parent’s rec room from the seventies is long gone, yet people still think it’s still viable in a cocktail.  It’s anything but. 

Throw out what you have lurking on top of your fridge and order a bottle of the Atsby New York Reserve Vermouth.  This will be a game-changer in the world of American made vermouth.  But rest assured this is not pretentious wine or wine with a silly name and a pretty label.  What Adam has captured is something that I’ve never tasted prior.  Sure, lots of people experiment with vermouth and there are some pretty righteous and venerable brands out on the market.  To the best of my knowledge no one is currently aging vermouth in the Untited States.  This is too bad because the magic that occurs within the cask (in this case, stainless-steel) is otherworldly. 

Tasting Notes for the Reserve Vermouth:
Freshly fallen quince gives way to salted caramel and sea salt slicked stones.  Minced pipe tobacco that is enrobed in cherry jam reveals itself across your tongue, giving off little puffs of smoke and char.  There is a persistency around my palate of maple sugar and exotic mushrooms, grilled over hard-wood charcoal.  The finish is luxurious and lengthy lasting several minutes or more.  All I can think about is the Atsby Reserve Vermouth woven into a cocktail with exceptionally fine whiskey. 

I’m quite fond of the drink known as the Manhattan.  Perhaps because Manhattan is such a short distance away, but light years in the cocktail idiom.  I can make a drink with the ingredients that I have at my disposal as fine as the most expensive bar in the world, without having to travel into the big city.  It’s really a toss-up.  Go into a cocktail bar and face ingredients, thrown together of an uncertain provenance, or make it at home, myself.  I think I’ll choose the latter.  

Manhattan Cocktails and their ilk require a robust whiskey.  It’s also too bad, generally speaking that many bartenders make their Manhattan’s with bourbon.  I feel very strongly about the quality of my whiskey in my Manhattan so I’ve chosen a very intriguing and hard to get whiskey from Barrell Bourbon. 

Barrell Bourbon batch #003 is crafted from a robust mash bill of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley, so you can stop your complaints about your bourbon being too sweet in your Manhattan.  There are very few brands of bourbon that have more than 60.8% alcohol… This one does and it makes a rather potent cocktail so watch out for your feet, they will numb up very quickly. 

I recommend this product highly and you should do everything in your power to acquire a bottle of Barrell Bourbon directly. 

As in right now.  From

Since I don’t have a bottle of the reserve yet, I’m fortunate to have a bottle of the original un-aged version of the Armadillo Cake from Atsby in my larder.  It will have to do until I can procure a bottle of the Reserve for my cocktailian experimentation.  Today I have in my bar a few ounces of Barrell Bourbon 002 chilling in a tall cocktail mixing glass.  The mixing glass is filled ¾ with ice and I’m just letting the rare whiskey cool down a bit.  I’ve added a portion of the Atsby Armadillo Cake to the mix and given it a stir.  Then I add about four or five shakes of the Bitter Truth Orange bitters to the mix, a further spin with my cocktail spoon and strained through a Hawthorne strainer into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.  I’ve cut a piece of orange peel with a paring knife because I want to feel the connection with my garnish and pinching it behind a lit match, the volitile oils spray across the top of my Manhattan.  Try it!

The Outlaw Manhattan
(for two persons)

3 oz. Barrell Bourbon
1 oz. Atsby Armadillo Cake or Reserve Vermouth-pssst. Get the reserve when you can!!
¼ oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
4-5 drops Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
cocktail mixing glass filled ¾ with ice

Cool your favorite rocks glass with ice and water- pour out when fully chilled and frosty
To the cocktail mixing glass, prime with the orange bitters, add ice to ¾ filled
Add the Barrell Bourbon and the Allspice Dram
Add the Atsby Vermouth
Stir slowly and carefully.  This is not a race!
Strain with a Hawthorne Strainer into your pre-chilled glass
Pinch a peel of handcut orange zest behind a match, over the lipid pool in front of you.. sip sip sip… have another and relax. 

Yes, you can garnish with a cherry, but please do not use those artificially colored ones.. Find a Luxardo cherry or cure some yourself!

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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