I love a good cocktail. Not because I like getting drunk, but because I love experiencing the art form. The blend of complex ingredients. The balance. The depth of flavor.
For years, my favorite cocktail was the Manhattan. With only three ingredients (whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters), it’s both simple and complex. My son, who has a passion for mixology, says that the Manhattan family of cocktails is the perfect metaphor for relationships. Rather than one ingredient up-staging the others, each one blends to create a perfect harmony of flavor.
If it hadn’t been for my son, I’d probably stick with my Manhattan and never explore or experiment with it. But he likes to use mixology as one way to express artistry, and what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t support that! So when my son came home for a visit, I couldn’t say no when he made me a drink I hadn’t had before—the Black Manhattan.
A traditional Black Manhattan replaces the Manhattan’s vermouth with Averna Amaro, but you can use any amaro. My son loves Cynar, an amaro made from artichokes, that has the most delightful sweet yet vegetal flavor with a bitter finish similar to a great cup of espresso. So unlike sweet vermouth with it’s dark fruit and spice flavor, Cynar takes the Manhattan to another realm that I truly enjoy.
Recipe for this version:
2 oz Rye
1 oz Cynar
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash Orange bitters
Orange Peel for garnish