For the final Quarantine Manhattan I wanted to play with a favorite combination of mine – caramel and orange. Both are incredible pairings with whiskey on their own. Bourbon with a sea salt caramel will make a believer out of any whiskey-doubter. And a little nibble of orange or orange zest blends incredibly well with the vanilla and oak notes in a bourbon when you’re sipping neat.
If you’ve missed the previous Quarantine Manhattans you can find them here: Balanced Perfection (Perfect Manhattan), Coffee Manhattan (I can’t stop making them), Chocolate Ginger Manhattan, and the French Quarter Manhattan.
For those of you celebrating Easter today, it’s a great cocktail to pair with a caramel, a Cadbury Egg, or anything decadent that blends caramel flavors together. In creating this, I’m using a caramel liqueur I just got to play with for a future donut-inspired cocktail series, and when I tasted it, I knew just what it needed. A little bourbon and a little orange.
If you don’t have a caramel liqueur, you can absolutely use caramel syrup, but know that the cocktail will turn out a little thicker and might be a little grainy depending on how smooth your caramel syrup is. If you’re using a syrup designed for lattes and smoothies, you won’t have a problem, but if you’re using a syrup comes in a small jar, just be aware that although it will taste fantastic, it may not be clear in the glass as you pour it.
Note: Do not use a cream-based caramel liqueur if you want it to look as it does in the picture. Something like a Bailey’s salted caramel will taste good, but it will not be your classic Manhattan-looking cocktail. Just a warning.
I did keep in just a little bit of the sweet vermouth. It cuts down on the sweetness we’ve got going on, and that little touch of sourness from the fortified wine balances out all the liqueurs.
I’ve used the Solerno Blood Orange liqueur that I’d used previous in some old fashioneds because it’s my favorite orange liqueur right now. However, you can substitute what you have on hand. We are under quarantine right now and it will still taste fabulous.
To garnish, you can go overboard, as I did for the picture, with whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel inside and outside of the glass. Or you can opt for a simple orange wheel to make it less of a dessert and more of a pre-dinner drink. It works both ways, I can assure you.
Caramel Orange Manhattan
- 1.5 oz bourbon (I used Old Forester 100 proof)
- 1/4 oz sweet vermouth
- ½ oz caramel liqueur
- ½ oz orange liqueur (I used Solerno Blood Orange)
- 8 drops Bittermens Tiki bitters
- Garnish: whipped cream and salted caramel or an orange wheel
- Combine whiskey, vermouth, liqueurs and bitters in a mixing glass. Stir until chilled and well-combined – about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. To keep things glass garnish with an orange wheel. To take it over the top, use whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel inside and outside of the glass.