Tonight's cocktail was another swing at the Chocolate Manhattan recipe. I'm not sure why I'm a little obsessed with trying to make this one work, but I thought I'd give it one last try. When we last left Flash, the drink was getting there but needed something to cut through the chocolate -- it was still too sweet and I thought it needed a kick of spice and heat to balance it out.
Enter Dana Hanna, who suggested I try the Chesapeake Bay Bitters from the Bitter End. So when I was up at the Napa Valley Distillery's shop in the Oxbow Market yesterday, I took the opportunity to sample some. They were pretty much what I was looking for; the kick of the cayenne pepper pushes them over the top.
I also had another thought about cutting the bitterness and decided to swap Amaro Montenegro in for the sweet vermouth. This was bad experimentation on my part as I was playing with two variables at the same time, but I thought it was a pretty safe bet. I wanted to bring in some orange and orange peel into play and a bit more bitterness to counter the chocolate.
The result works pretty well. You get a nice taste of the rye on the sip, followed by some nice bitter and heat, and then a mouth full of chocolate to cool stuff off and leave you wanting another taste. I think I'm not 100% dialed in on this one yet; I might try cutting the Creme de Cacao back a bit. But for now, I'm just going to enjoy this drink.
I'm calling this a Manhattan variation, because it starts with the basic 2-1-2 Manhattan formula. 2 parts whisky - 1 part vermouth - 2 dashes bitters. In this case, I swaped out the vermouth for the amaro and the creme de cacao. I tend to prefer a 2 oz - 0.75 oz ratio for my traditional Manhattans and I'd probably go with just 0.25 oz of the creme de cacao next time.
- 2 oz Rye Whisky (I used Old Overhold, because it is cheap, delicious, and perfect for mixing.)
- 1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
- 1/2 oz. Creme de Cacao (I used the Tempus Fugit stuff. Delicious!)
- 2 dashes Bitter End Chesapeake Bay Bitters
- Combine everything in a mixing glass, add ice, and stir to chill.
- Strain into a cocktail coupe
- Garnish with an orange twist
By the way, if you're looking to build up your bitters collection, the Bitter End variety pack there has an interesting selection at a good price. Yes, it is an affiliate link. One day, I'll tempt one of you into buying something through those.