Make your bourbon elegant and approachable with Dolce & Banana Manhattan – this riff based on the full-bodied fruity flavors of Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Fusion #2.
It’s always fun with a spirits company gives you a bottle of their newest release and says, “Let’s collaborate.” And off you go. In this case, I was working with Sam Montgomery, an amazing mixologist and brand ambassador for Bardstown Bourbon Company, to create an approachable cocktail that would be easy to make at home, but still something more seasoned mixologists would appreciate as well.
When I taste Fusion two, the fruitiness just explodes for me, and most of that is apple. While I originally wanted to work on an apple-centered cocktail, I couldn’t get it to play as well as I wanted with the bourbon. It tasted fine, but it didn’t pop.
On a whim, I added Giffard’s Banane du Bresil and it came alive. I knew we would be doing a live demo on Friday so I wanted something sweet to look forward to at the end of what I knew was going to be a long week.
They all feel like long weeks lately.
So I also added in a little Ballotin Bourbon Ball Whiskey – that added both chocolate and nut notes, but still let the bourbon shine through. Now, though, I need to dial back the sweetness with bitters, so I added two of my favorites when working with fruity-forward cocktails – ginger and cherry bark vanilla.
I knew I had a winner when my taste tester refused to return the coupe to me.
One thing that I find fascinating with creating cocktails for a brand or an expression is that while you might have an idea of where you want to go in terms of flavors, doing a deep dive into the native flavors of the bourbon and thinking about less familiar pairings can often yield fun and surprising results.
It wasn’t until I emailed the cocktail recipe to Sam that I found out one of her favorite cocktails with Fusion 2 also has a banana liqueur in it. Great minds.
Dolce and Banana
- 2 oz Bardstown Bourbon Company Fusion #2
- ¾ oz Banane du Bresil
- ½ oz Ballotin Bourbon Ball liqueur
- 1 dash ginger bitters
- 1 dash cherry bark vanilla bitters
- Garnish – crushed banana chips on the rim or float a small chip or three in the cocktail.
- Combine bourbon, banana liqueur, bourbon ball liqueur and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled and well-combined, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass garnished with crushed banana chips or just a few floating on the surface.