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the Bitters and Sweets: Reinventing Classic Combinations

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the Bitters and Sweets: Reinventing Classic Combinations

The Manhattan Makeover

Yet another re-imagined version of the famous Manhattan cocktail has been haunting my mind for a while. The lockdowns in Sydney have inspired me to take this simple yet iconic drink back to its roots and add a little change of my own. Here is the resulting recipe and some cocktail background.

The Manhattan is one of those drinks that has been reinvented perhaps more than any other cocktail. As the team at Lock-tails puts it, “A classic, the Manhattan Cocktail has been reinvented perhaps more than any other cocktail.” Well, I couldn’t resist putting my own spin on this famous 1882 (or earlier) cocktail.

My version features Amaro Montenegro, which adds a delightful bitterness and herbal complexity, and Aztec Chocolate Bitters, which lend a rich, cocoa-like note. I call it the “Locktail” Manhattan, a nod to the lockdowns that have inspired my drink experiments. Let’s dive in and see how I’ve reinvented this timeless classic.

Bitters and Botanicals

The key to my Locktail Manhattan lies in the interplay of bitters and botanicals. Rye whiskey provides the sturdy base, while the Amaro Montenegro contributes its 40 botanicals, including hints of chocolate and eucalyptus. This Italian amaro perfectly complements the Sazerac rye, creating a delightful balance of bitter and sweet.

But I didn’t stop there. I wanted to amp up the chocolate notes even further, so I reached for Fee Brothers’ Aztec Chocolate Bitters. These bitters, created by a New York institution founded in 1864, add a deep, cocoa-like richness that ties the whole cocktail together.

The result is a Manhattan that’s both familiar and unique – a classic with a modern twist. The bitterness of the amaro and bitters is tempered by the sweetness of the rye, creating a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate.

A Lockdown Inspiration

As I mentioned, the lockdowns in Sydney have been the driving force behind this Manhattan makeover. During these challenging times, I’ve found solace in the art of cocktail-making, experimenting with new ingredients and flavor combinations to transport myself (and hopefully others) to a different time and place.

The Locktail Manhattan is my homage to the origins of this iconic drink, while also connecting it to the city I call home. The Amaro Montenegro, with its long history dating back to 1885, grounds the cocktail in tradition, while the Aztec Chocolate Bitters add a touch of New York flair.

It’s a cocktail that celebrates the past while embracing the present – a perfect reflection of the times we’re living in. And let’s be honest, we could all use a little bit of escapism right now, couldn’t we?

Mixing Up the Magic

Now, let’s get to the good stuff – the actual recipe. Here’s how you can mix up your own Locktail Manhattan:

– 60ml Sazerac Rye Whiskey
– 30ml Amaro Montenegro
– 5ml Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
– 4 dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters
– Cocktail cherry and orange rind for garnish

1. Chill a coupe or martini glass by coating the inside with a bit of the Maraschino liqueur and discarding the excess.
2. In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine the rye whiskey, Amaro Montenegro, and Aztec Chocolate Bitters. Stir well until chilled.
3. Strain the mixture into the prepared glass.
4. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and a twist of orange rind.

The end result is a complex, bittersweet cocktail that pays homage to the Manhattan’s roots while adding a modern, lockdown-inspired twist. It’s a cocktail that’s sure to transport you to a different time and place, one sip at a time.

Exploring the Classics, One Cocktail at a Time

As I continue my lockdown cocktail experiments, I’m excited to explore more classic combinations and put my own spin on them. Who knows what other reinventions I might come up with next? Maybe I’ll dig into the history of the Aviation or put a new twist on the Negroni. The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to share my creations with the world.

In the meantime, I invite you to visit Home Cooking Rocks to explore more of my culinary adventures and recipe inspirations. From reinvented classics to completely original creations, there’s something for every taste bud.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your shaker, mix up a Locktail Manhattan, and let’s toast to the art of reinvention. Cheers!


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