May 17, 2015


I made a rookie mistake with my contribution to this month's MxMo: I didn't do my homework.

Our host Fred of Cocktail Virgin Slut  - they guy who singlehandedly keeps MxMo together - even pointed us in the right direction in his announcement post:
Turning to David Wondrich's Imbibe! for some historical reference, he bandied back and forth about possible creators and locales for this classic's creation. Perhaps it was created many places and many times, for sweet vermouth was the new hot ingredient of the 1870s and 1880s as St. Germain was in 2007 and 2008 (and arguably even to today). Wondrich quoted from the anonymously penned 1898 Cocktails: How To Make Them, "The addition of Vermouth was the first move toward the blending of cocktails." In my mind, the Manhattan takes the Old Fashioned one step further. Not only does it replace the sugar with sweet vermouth, but this sweetener ties its herbal notes to those of the bitters and its spice notes to the barrel-aged whiskey (especially rye whiskey) as well as the bitters again.
So no sugar in a Manhattan and in this Esquire article Wondrich is adamant that a Manhattan on ice is not a Manhattan.

Therefor my offering has an appropriate low brow New York name: The Gowanus - named for a neighbourhood in Brooklyn thru which one of the most polluted canals in the US runs. It's said to be 90 procent guns and the rest is industrial waste.

My cocktail tastes a whole lot better than that, so prepare to be pleasantly surprised:

  • 6 cl rye whisky - I used Rittenhouse 100 proof
  • 0.75 cl Aperol
  • 0.75 cl Zucca
  • 1.5 cl rhubarb-sriracha-syrup (I cooked fresh rhubarb juice with half the amount of sugar and a dollop of the chili sauce for 1 minute and left it to cool off)
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, add ice and stir. If you want to present this non-Manhattan drink, as a Manhattan - serve it up in a coup - or be a rookie like me and serve it in an old fashioned glass over ice with a garnish of a piece of fresh rhubarb gently poached in the rhubarb-sriracha-syrup.

Should you want to mix a more true riff on a Manhattan, take a look at some of the other contributions in Freds wrap-up.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't mean no sugar in a Manhattan, just that the sweet vermouth has all the sugar in Manhattans, and sugar can come in various forms in variations. Some of the old recipes did include a spot of syrup (usually gum arabic-laden gomme syrup perhaps to take the edge off of rough spirits) and one included a dash of sugar syrup and a dash of lemon juice. Cheers, Fred