Archive for September, 2012

The Perfect Manhattan

Article courtesy of the NY Times

Not back in fashion, I mean. That story is at least a decade old, and even then it wasn’t much of a story. Unlike many other cocktails that have recently been roused from long hibernation, the Manhattan never really slumbered, having been kept drowsily awake through the lean years of cocktaildom by French-cuffed businessmen and other habitués of old-guard hotel bars and private clubs. But even those Manhattans — typically mixtures of bourbon or Canadian whiskey, bitters and vermouth finished off with the crimson syrup-grenade we call maraschino — aren’t what I’m talking about.

No, I’m talking about the original Manhattan. The daring, woodsier Manhattan of the 1800s —when New York City was only Manhattan and its eponymous cocktail was the boss of all drinks. Back then, bartenders left out the gloppy maraschino cherries — those didn’t arrive at our shores until 1900 or so — and made the drink exclusively with rye whiskey, bourbon’s sharper-tongued cousin. (For an analogy, think of the difference between rye bread and corn bread). In all likelihood, that rye whiskey came from upstate New York, because, as Ralph Erenzo points out, “There were 1,200 distilleries operating in New York before Prohibition.”

Mr. Erenzo should know. Along with his partner, Brian Lee, Mr. Erenzo is the proprietor of the only whiskey distillery operating in New York State. Their two-man operation, Tuthilltown Spirits, is based out of a converted granary and 18th-century gristmill in Gardiner, N.Y., near New Paltz, that has so far yielded small artisanal batches of bourbon, vodka and the sort of unaged corn whiskey sometimes referred to as moonshine.

On a recent Monday, the two microdistillers introduced their latest offering at a party at the Four Seasons: Hudson Manhattan Rye, a 92-proof whiskey made with 100-percent rye ground at the Tuthilltown mill. “Rye was the New York whiskey,” said Mr. Erenzo, just as the Manhattan was the New York drink. Tuthilltown’s Hudson Manhattan Rye, Mr. Erenzo said, was expressly designed to be mixed into a Manhattan — to reunite, after 70-some years, New York rye whiskey with the cocktail it wrote into history.

The recipe that Tuthilltown’s owners cleave to comes from LeNell Smothers, who owns LeNell’s, a wine and spirits boutique in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Ms. Smothers is fond of what’s called a “perfect Manhattan,” so called for its balanced proportions of sweet and dry vermouth rather than any claim to immaculateness. Ms. Smothers has been a staunch proponent of Tuthilltown’s products, which she admires for their Hudson Valley provenance and the pride and devotion Mr. Erenzo and Mr. Lee are pouring into them. “It’s really exciting to see someone local doing this,” she said. “They’re shaking things up a bit.”

In a sense, that is. The original Manhattan was always stirred.

Perfect Manhattan Adapted from LeNell Smothers

2ounces Tuthilltown Hudson Manhattan rye whiskey

½ounce sweet vermouth (preferably Vya or Carpano Antica)

½ounce dry vermouth

2dashes of orange bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish.

Stir the liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.


This recipe for the best Mexican Martini in the world is from Joe Bartender, one of the best cocktail sites in the world.

seen so many Mexican Martini recipes that completely miss the boat. This is a very popular drink here in Austin, Texas and I have sampled quite a few of them. After much careful testing, I think I have perfected a pretty damn good version.

  • 2 oz. Tequila – Use a good silver tequila. The light color makes it look better.
  • 1 1/2 oz. Cointreau or Grand Marnier.
  • 2 oz. Lime Juice. Don’t use a mix for this drink. Sweet and Sour will ruin it.
  • 1 oz. Orange Juice.
  • 1 splash Sprite
  • 1 splash olive juice – or more to taste.
  • Jalapeno stuffed olives!

How To Make It:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it and strain it into a BIG cocktail glass with a salted rim. Spear a few jalapeno stuffed olives and garnish the drink. Serve it up.

This is a really delicious drink that packs quite a punch. You can experiment until you get what you feel is the right blend of flavors. Certain people I know like it with a LOT of olive juice. That variation of the drink we call the Dirty Mexican.

But use these guidelines when experimenting:

  • Use good tequila
  • NEVER use sweet and sour
  • Jalapeno stuffed olives really pimp the drink out.

Glass: Big Cocktail glass


Tequila & Sorbet

Friend to the The Coctail Nest Edwina gives us the “why didn’t I ever think of this” moment of the day. A brilliant pairing from a brilliant mind. Just find some nicely aged tequila, salt the rim of the glass, or sugar it if you are a daring sort, and gently pour the tequila into the glass. For a nice change of pace add a little Cointreau.




  • 4 Bing cherries, pitted
  • 12 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • 4 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters


Pit the cherries and put them into a small bowl. Cover with 4 ounces of the bourbon whiskey and let sit, covered, in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Add the remaining bourbon whiskey, vermouth and bitters to a small pitcher and stir. Pour into 4 low ball glasses filled with ice and garnish each with a marinated Bing cherry.

from the absolut web site


  1. 3 Parts Light Rum

    Light Rum 

  2. 1 Part Dry Vermouth

    Dry Vermouth

    A strong wine, that has a sweet-bittery taste of herbs. You cannot make a dry Martini, or Vodka Martini, without it.

  3. 1 Part Peach Liqueur

    Peach Liqueur

    Not seldomly, peach liqueur has an undertone of cognac. It should probably be on the top ten list of your liqueur shopping list, since it adds subtle summer flavors to your creations.

  4. 1 Slice Lime


    Lime is a common garnish that usually is sliced, wedged, quartered, muddled or peeled. Almost a must have in the bar.

How to mix this cocktail

Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime.

from an excellent cocktail site.

The next time you’re looking to knock yourself out but wishing it could be painless, use a Velvet Hammer. This drink packs more alcohol than you think, given its smooth, sweet, creamy taste.

The Velvet Hammer looks a lot like a White Russian, and they do both use a coffee liqueur and creamer. But the Velvet Hammer includes an equal part of Cointreau, giving this cocktail a significant orange flavor. If you’ve ever had a really good latte with orange syrup added, you have an idea what deliciousness you’re in for with the Velvet Hammer.

Velvet Hammer

  • 2 ounces Cointreau
  • 2 ounces Tia Maria
  • 2 ounces half-and-half

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Pour the ingredients in. No stirring or garnish required.