Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

With A Cherry On Top

It's been a long couple days, but I don't want to let yet another day slide by without a post, so here's a relaxing drink post.

My go-to drink these days is either a straight Bourbon or rye, or a Manhattan. My constant for a number of years has been that while there are plenty of good options for the rye that goes into a Manhattan, the key thing is to use really good vermouth, namely Compano Antica Formula. I don't particularly recommend the (rī)1 rye whiskey mentioned in the post. It's over priced these days. Any decent rye will do. I'm currently working through a bottle of Knob Creek Rye which is quite good for Manhattans. I love Michter's rye to drink straight, but it's almost not robust enough in flavor to make a good mixed drink. Just drink it straight.

Recently, however, I've made two innovations in my Manhattan game, at the recommendation of old friends, and both changes have proved very welcome discoveries.

I'd long dropped putting cherries into my Manhattans. The classic livid red maraschino cherry is a pretty noxious thing, and as I've mixed my Manhattans lighter on the vermouth and heavier on the whiskey over the years, I've not enjoyed the sweetness that comes with those candied fruits. However, a friend insisted that I must try Luxardo Original Maraschino Cherries. Simply put, they're wonderful. A bit sweet, but in a dark, rich sort of way, not at all cloying. They're not at all cheap, but a jar of them will keep you going a long time. Worth the add.

My other new ingredient is using Cocchi Vermouth di Torino sweet vermouth. I'd run into my previous favorite, Campano Antica Formula, via the WSJ How's Your Drink column ten plus years ago. It's an outstanding vermouth, and if you've only ever had the likes of Martini & Rossi you absolutely have to try a quality vermouth. It's world changing when it comes to making a quality drink.

As with other sweet vermouths, this is a fortified, sweetened, red wine which has been infused with aromatic herbs. Cocchi is milder in overall taste (less sweet and less herbal) than Compano Antica Formula, indeed it can be interesting drunk straight. By the glass would be way too much, but a small amount to sip as a flavor is actually quite nice. I find myself adding a bit more of Cocchi to a Manhattan than I had been using of Compano, because the taste is milder. But it's definitely a refined, quality sweet vermouth worth picking up and mixing some drinks with. It's even slightly cheaper than Compano, at least here in Ohio.



Bernard Brandt said...

Wonderful news about the cherries. I believe that with Bruce, I am one of those who also recommended Luxardo.

That said, and in the interest of contributing to the delinquency of a major (or something like that), have you looked at the following website?:

Basically, it is a collection of over 220 classic texts on the confection of both cocktails and their component parts (e.g., mixers, bitters, intinctions, cordials, liqueurs, and spirits).

As Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevski would say, "But please to think of it as research..."


Foxfier said...

My grandmother in law takes the bright red noxious ones, drains the juice and soaks them in bourbon for about six months. When she starts using a jar, she makes sure to get the next one soaking, and I think there's one spare.