Wednesday night we went to Farmhouse instead of cooking, so I didn’t get to make any drinks.  Instead we each had a couple of nice but not very memorable local beers.  And crispy headcheese.  Mmm, crispy headcheese.

I was in a brown-drink mood (which, let’s be honest, is my usual state of mind), so I decided to screw around with a rye Manhattan a bit, coming up with this, again, nice-but-not-memorable variation.

Manhattan Variation (mine, not really worth naming):

  • 2 oz rye whiskey (I used Redemption)
  • 1 oz blanc/bianco vermouth (Dolin)
  • 2 dashes celery bitters (Bitter Truth)
  • 2 dashes Luxardo Amaro Abano
    Stir with ice, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with lemon peel (a celery leaf was my first thought, but it just looked like floating trash and didn’t lend much aroma).

The idea here was to make a Manhattan that capitalized on the herbal flavors of the rye.  The Dolin blanc (and bianco vermouth in general) is lighter and provides adequate sweetness without the stronger flavors of the more full-bodied red vermouths.  Celery bitters pump up the herbal aspect (but dry herbal, not, you know, Chartreuse or Benedictine herbal) with some help from the very celery-y Luxardo Amaro.  At least, that’s the theory.  In practice this was a very pleasant but not particularly noteworthy Manhattan.  Oh well, they can’t all be winners.

The Girlfriend picked out one of her old favorites, the “Heather in Queue”, via Drink Boston.  We first tried it years ago, and it was judged good enough to enter into our cocktail diary.  Personally, I find it slightly off-putting – as much as I like genever on its own, there are very few mixed drinks in which I really enjoy it.

Heather in Queue (via Drink Boston):

  • 1 1/2 oz genever (Bols)
  • 3/4 oz blanc/bianco vermouth (Dolin)
  • 1/2 oz orange liqueur (Señor Curacao)
  • 1/4 oz Fernet Branca
    Stir with ice, strain into cocktail glass, garnish with a flamed lemon peel.

The “Heather” in the name is apparently a person, and not the usual “heather and gorse” code for Scotch.  This one is entirely smoke-free.  If you like heavy-bodied gin drinks, this one (which is kind of a play on a Martinez, sort of?) will work well for you.