5 Days of Cocktails – Day 2: Black Manhattan

The Black Manhattan is the Megan Draper of cocktails. It’s the younger, darker-haired variation of its predecessor and wholly enchanting to someone a bit old-fashioned and fixated on all things whisky. It feels both familiar and a little exotic, best suited for those seeking something new and chic that can play the part situated high atop the city in a penthouse suite, hanging above the social turmoil and counterculture happening on the busy streets below.

Black Manhattan

This is really a great cocktail for those just getting into serious cocktails. It’s dead simple to put together as it’s basically just two types of alcohol and unlike a regular Manhattan, you don’t have to worry about finding a quality sweet vermouth, which is a near impossible task in Ontario. Amaro Averna is what’s typically called for in this cocktail. It’s thick, sweet and herbal, lending a deliciously complex flavour to the drink. If you have trouble finding it, you could substitute in another type of sweet amaro. I’ve become fond of variation that uses Vecchio Amaro del Cappo though it’s lighter in colour, creating a cocktail that looks more like a traditional Manhattan.

Black Manhattan

Black Manhattan

Makes 1 cocktail

2 oz bourbon
1 oz Amaro Averna
1 dash Angostura
1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
2 bourbon-soaked cherries, for garnish

In a mixing glass filled with ice add the bourbon, Amaro Averna, and bitters. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with the bourbon-soaked cherries.

Bourbon-Soaked Cherries

50g granulated sugar
50ml cold water
125ml bourbon
100g good quality dried cherries

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the bourbon and cherries. Cover and leave to plump for approximately 30 minutes. Once plumped, pack the cherries into a resealable jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mad Men Office Party

5 Days of Cocktails – Day 1: County Nog

In honour of all of those Christmas office parties cluttering up your social calendar this month, we’re celebrating inappropriate boozy get togethers with our ultimate Mad Men-stlye booze fest and the 5 Days of Cocktails! These are our favourite cocktails to celebrate the end of the year. Some drinks we have all year-round and others, like the County Nog, we only bring out for Christmas parties when we’re pining for spiced Christmas flavours.

5 Days of Cocktails

For those not accustomed to especially boozy cocktails (I prefer mine to come in at 3 ounces), here is a little reminder of restraint coming from Dorothy Parker:

“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”

With that out of the way, let’s get on to the party!

County Nog

Eggnog enthusiasts have all but ruined eggnog for everyone else. To them it either has to be a heavy custard affair that’s more appropriately eaten with a spoon or it’s the cartons of the prefab stuff, sometimes without booze and even worse, though I admire their greedy-passion for it, steamed into their morning latte.

County Nog

When I think of drinking eggnog, I think it’s got to be cold, boozy and in small doses so that it leaves me wanting more. It’s what to drink when you’re not really feeling like Christmas because of it’s powerful ability to evoke the Christmas spirit. It’s what Clark Griswold pours into his Christmas moose mug in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and is the iconic drink for taking people past the point of Christmas cheer and into something a bit merrier. This Christmas sipper is for the well-intentioned Christmas romantic.

County Nog

This recipe is based almost exactly on a recipe that appeared in the Globe and Mail two years ago and it comes from one of Toronto’s best mixologists, Aja Sax, currently bar manager of The Huntsman Tavern. It was created while she was working at The County General restaurant, hence the name “County Nog”.

Makes 1 cocktail

1 1/2 oz bourbon (I use Bulleit)
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Earl Grey tea, steeped and cooled
1/2 oz cinnamon simple syrup
1 egg yolk
dash of Scrappy’s cardamom bitters (optional)
whole nutmeg for grating

In a shaker add the bourbon, Grand Marnier, Earl Grey tea, cinnamon syrup, egg yolk and bitters. Shake for 10 seconds, then add ice to fill the shaker and shake for an additional 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and using a microplane or other fine grater, grate the nutmeg over the top for a garnish.

Cinnamon Simple Syrup

makes 500ml syrup

250ml cold water
250g granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring a little to ensure the sugar dissolves evenly. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove from the heat and cover for 20 minutes to allow the cinnamon to further infuse into the syrup. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use within 1 month.