Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Romeo & Juliet Manhattan

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

The Romeo & Juliet Manhattan is simply a variation on the traditional Manhattan, albeit with something of a bittersweet tone, redolent of orange peel and darker flavors of leather, raisin, burnt sugar, violet, and nutmeg. This nuance is due to the tryst of Carpano Punt e Mes - an aperitif similar to sweet vermouth, but with a mild bitterness that brings to mind an amaro - and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. These two combine nicely, tempering each other's more passionate qualities without losing their ardor. 

Similarly, the combination of Angostura and orange bitters highlight the bouquet of fruit and spice in both Punt e Mes and Carpano Antica.

Of course, all of this is happening under the all-encompassing embrace of bourbon. For those who find a standard Manhattan too sweet, this is worth a try.

The Carpano Antica and Punt e Mes are critical components to this, as they produce a harmonious interplay of flavors. Substituting the Carpano Antica will alter the character of the drink, but I realize it's not necessarily easy to find these bottles. So a regular vermouth could work instead. Punt e Mes should be easier to come by. 

Romeo & Juliet Manhattan

3 oz bourbon (Wild Turkey 101 is my choice)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
1-2 dashes orange bitters (I recommend Regan's)

Stir all the ingredients with ice until nice and cold, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry, skewered through the heart (O happy dagger, this is thy sheath).

Bottoms up.

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