You know how every once in a while a cocktail just comes out right the first time. And this was one I wasn't really looking for. I had a standard Manhattan recipe, but we've always got an open bottle of Johnny Drum, so I wanted to see how it matched with the vermouth I had open - Cocchi's Vermouth Di Torino. To match with bitters, I stood in front of the bitters box in the bourbon cabinet and alternatively nosed the Johnny Drum and the bitters until I found two that matched. And Oh, My God.
This Manhattan is perfect for me. It's got a great balanced of sweet from the vermouth and bourbon nose and taste. The bitters heighten all the baking spices I get from the bourbon. It's so good members of my family who never drink Manhattans will ask for this one any time they visit.
I'll add the batch instructions at the end. In case you've got a Manhattan lover who needs a gift.
The Contessa's Manhattan
2 oz Johnny Drum
1 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
5 drops Woodford's Sorghum and Sassafras bitters
3 drops Old Forester's Bohemian bitters
Garnish: orange peel and/or cherry
Add the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an expressed orange peel and/or cherry.
The Contessa's BATCHED Manhattan
2 cups Johnny Drum
1 cup Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
35 drops Woodford's Sorghum and Sassafras bitters
20 drops Old Forester's Bohemian bitters
1/2 cup water
Pour ingredients into a 30 oz container, stir and place in the fridge until well-chilled. I keep a bottle in the fridge for those last minute visitors needing a cocktail. Mix for a house-warming or hostess gift for those bourbon-lovers in your house. This makes 8 cocktails.
PSA: Keep your Vermouth in the fridge at all times!
Ever had a whiskey you just knew you had to put into a cocktail? That's how I felt about Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey when I tried it. We'd gone into the Village Anchor for an anniversary dinner and got there early enough to have a few cocktails and talk to the bar manager. He let us try a sip of Skrewball. All I could think of was getting that in a cocktail that made me think of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Now, this isn't my final draft of the cocktail. I still need to figure out a way to get the grape jelly taste in there without using actual jelly, but this was a damn good cocktail. Not pretentious, not anything you'd find in a fancy place, but it's a fun front-porch on a warm night kinda cocktail. You can thank me later.
Pb & J
1 oz bourbon
1 oz Skrewball peanut butter whiskey
1 T grape jelly at room temperature
1 dash of black walnut bitters
Place ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake. Strain into a rocks glass filled with large cubes of ice. Garnish with a strawberry or just a swipe of grape jelly on the rim. Enjoy.
Even though I live in Bourbon Country, there are a surprising number of non bourbon drinkers. To that end, I wanted to make a cocktail that had some bourbon in it, but was approachable to the non-bourbon drinkers. It was going to be a hot day, so I wanted a cocktail a little lower in proof, so used lower proof ingredients and added lemonade to keep it low even after adding a 90 proof bourbon.
I was in a rush to get to the party, so only have this picture of my picnic batch presentation. If you're the host, simply dress it up in a beautiful pitcher with lemon and orange slices.
I Fall to Peaches (single)
1 oz bourbon
1 oz peach liqueur (I prefer Giffard's it's more expensive than peach schnapps, but there really is no comparison here.)
1 oz peach mango moonshine
2 dashes orange bitters
2 oz lemonade
garnish - lemon wheel or peach slice
Combine ingredients except the lemonade in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and top with two ounces of lemonade.
Party Batch - DRANKS! - I Fall to Peaches
1 cup bourbon
1 cup peach liqueur
1 cup peach mango moonshine
16 dashes orange bitters
2 cups lemonade
1/2 cup water (used to dilute it as mixing over rocks does when building a single cocktail)
Combine all ingredients in a large container - at least 50 oz - and stir well. Chill for at least two hours before serving. If you're going to be serving in a fancy pitcher, float lemon wheels and thin peach slices or orange wheels on the top.
This will make anywhere from 8 to 12 cocktails, depending on the pours and how thirsty your guests are. Non-bourbon drinkers will fall for this, as the bourbon taste is not strong underneath the peach and mango.
Tiki drinks always have a lovely balance of sweet and sour, and when you use fresh juices it can make the entire drink glow. Bourbon isn't quite sweet enough to carry a tiki drink all on its own, and I wanted to have that molasses, sweet sugary rum flavor to bolster the drink. I decided to go up on the bourbon proof, to give it a little more bite than a typical tiki drink, but I kept the substitutions simple. You'll want to make two of these at a time.
1 oz Appleton Rum
1 oz Maker's Mark Cask Strength
0.75 oz Lime juice
0.75 oz Orgeat
0.5 Trader Vic's Macadamia Nut liqueur
1 barspoon St Elizabeth's allspice dram
Garnish: mint sprig
Squeeze the lime wedge in the bottom of a mixing tin and drop in. Add the other ingredients and fill with ice, Shake until the outside of the tin id ice-cold. Double strain into a tiki glass filled with ice and garnish with a mint sprig.
Heather Wibbels is a cocktail enthusiast who spends her time thinking about cocktails, researching cocktails and making cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.