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When Everything I Mix Sucks, I Make a ...

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Also, I don't buy the notion that using Punt e Mes should change the name. PeM is just bittered sweet vermouth, but it's sweet vermouth alright just as much as M&R or Cinzano or Antica. It changes the character, but so does Antica as opposed to M&R.

Adding orange bitters instead of aromatic: that calls for another name.

I'll buy that.

me too. is there disagreement on this? Curious to know if there's a standard Manhattan recipe specifying a type of sweet vermouth.

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The Red Hook has maraschino liqueur in it, I believe.

Neither one is a true Manhattan, however.

Jerry Thomas calls for "Curacao or Maraschino" liqueur in his Manhattan recipe.

My personal favorite Manhattan Recipe, though, is Harry Johnson's from the 1900 edition of his bar book.

    Manhattan Cocktail

    (Use a large bar glass.)

    Fill the glass up with ice;

    1 or 2 dashes of gum syrup, very carefully;

    1 or 2 dashes of bitters (orange bitters);

    1 dash of curacao or absinthe, if required;

    1/2 wine-glass of whiskey;

    1/2 wine-glass of vermouth;

    Stir up well; strain into a fancy cocktail glass; squeeze a piece of lemon peel on top, and serve; leave it for the customer to decide, whether to use absinthe or not.  This drink is very popular at the present day.  It is the bartender’s duty to ask the customer, whether he desires his drink dry or sweet.

About the only thing that isn't left to the customer's preference and the bartender's discretion is that the drink contains sweet vermouth and whiskey.


Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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  • 2 months later...

In cool weather, a brown spirit, neat or on ice as appropriate. In warm, a Pimm's Cup. Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes, add 2 oz Pimm's No. 1, top with anything sweet and fizzy that happens to be handy, garnish or not depending on whether anyone's looking, sip. Impossible to screw up.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Impossible to F up an Old-Fashioned, except when it is. And then I stick with Bourbon and water.

Old Fashioned especially applicable since you can spill just about any kind of booze in there and it still works. Also great for soothing the nerves after a series of mishaps, either mixological or personal.

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith


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For me it's a Japanese. I always have odds and ends of orgeat batches in my fridge, and after a few f-ups the richness of the fat in the orgeat always makes me feel a bit indulgent. And if I don't have any brandy it's great with aged rum, which I almost always have (preferably Barbancourt 15, but I'll take whatever I've got in the closet).

Small Hand Foods

classic ingredients for pre-prohibition era cocktails

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  • 1 month later...

Easily and Old Fashioned.

Even if I screw that up royally, bourbon on the rocks isn't too far off... Perhaps thirtyoneknots and I are in the same boat?


Striving for cocktailian excellence and always learning.

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  • 1 month later...

I have two go to drinks whenever I screw up royally. If I have the pineapple juice, I make my version of an Alabama Slammer:

3/4oz Southern Comfort

3/4oz Vodka

3/4oz Amaretto

Splash Sloe Gin

Add ingredients to a shaker with lots of ice, then fill with pineapple juice. Shake the hell out of it, then strain into a pint glass filled with fresh ice. Give it a minute to let the foam set if you have the patience.

If I don't have any pineapple juice, then the old standard is my Tom Collins (not the original recipe, I'll admit, but the first one I learned to make):

1oz gin (2oz if using Plymouth)

2oz sweet and sour (I like Dr. Swamee and Bone Daddy's for this, about the only time I use a bottled sweet and sour)

Shake with ice, strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with club soda.

For either of those, I have the recipe in my head and the actions down as muscle memory, so no thinking is involved at all, and they never fail to cheer me up.

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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