With everyone experiencing outrageously cold temperatures this week, we though it would be a good time to test out the winter julep recipe from Imbibe. The hot herbal tea and the hint of bourbon will warm you right up. We were delighted to have the opportunity to use Berkshire bourbon from our frozen friends in Massachusetts.
5 oz. Peppermint herbal tea
1½ oz. Bourbon
¾ oz. Brown sugar syrup (equal parts brown sugar and water)
Brew herbal tea, then stir in bourbon and brown sugar syrup. Garnish with a mint leaf.
This is a wonderful little nightcap. We enjoy how refreshing the peppermint is and its calming warmth combined with the gentle sweetness of the brown sugar syrup and the slight spice from the bourbon creates just the cocoon we’re looking for right now.
By far the best seminar we attended at the Boston Cocktail Summit was I’ll Take Manhattan. The event was presented by Brother Cleve, a local bartender and cocktail consultant (and musician, composer, DJ, producer, and writer). He recently helped launch First Printer in Harvard Square and is currently working with the Colonial Tavern in Concord, MA to replicate the experience of going to a bar in colonial New England. We’re confident he’ll be pretty accurate, since he basically gave us a brief but complete history of alcohol.
We expected to learn about the Manhattan (which we did), but his cocktail history was much more thorough than that. Before we get into the evolution of the Manhattan, here are some highlights from his seminar:
- Distillation was first discovered by an Islamic person while trying to make eye
makeup. It was called alkool.
- Applejack, made by the pilgrims, was the first major spirit in the U.S.
- Vermouth was introduced to the United States around 1867/1868.
- The first dry Manhattan was introduced in 1906 in Lewis’s Mixed Drinks in Boston.
The vermouth part is obviously important here, since you need it to make a proper Manhattan. Throughout the presentation, he shared with us the original recipes of the Manhattan as it changed over time. The original version was supposedly created for a Manhattan Club party in 1874, when Lady Jennie Jerome threw a party for then New York governor Samuel Tilden. No one knows how true this story is, since Jennie Jerome was in England getting ready to give birth to Winston Churchill at the time. Other possibilities, according to Brother Cleve, is that William Mulhall of the Hoffman House or William Black, who ran a bar on the Bowery may have created it. Following are the recipes for the different Manhattans over time.
1884: How to Mix Drinks (the Bon Vivant’s Companion) by Jerry Thomas
1 oz. whiskey
1 oz. vermouth
1-2 dashes gum syrup
2-3 dashes Peruvian bitters
1891: Modern Bartender’s Guide by O. H. Byron
½ oz. whiskey
1 pony (1 oz.) French vermouth
1 dash gum syrup
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
1905: Hoffman House Bartender’s Guide
equal parts whiskey and vermouth
1-2 dashes orange bitters
1-2 dashes curacao
1 dash gum syrup
absinthe if desired
garnish with lemon peel
1914: Drinks by Jacques Straub
2 oz. whiskey
1 oz. Italian vermouth
From there, a number of circumstances prevented people from drinking a good Manhattan, such as Prohibition, James Bond making the martini popular, and people drinking crappy cocktails in the 1970s and ’80s, until the craft cocktail movement took off again in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Brother Cleve made us a few of these variations to sample, and the final Manhattan he made for us was the Black Manhattan.
2 oz. bourbon
1 ½ oz. Punt y Mes vermouth
½ oz. Amaro Averna
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
There Will Be Bourbon is headed to the Boston Cocktail Summit.
Here are some outtakes from our numerous blog photoshoots.
Here’s a friendly reminder that today is the final day to vote for There Will Be Bourbon for Best Cocktail Blog at Saveur.
Also, this is a good opportunity to say hello and thank you to all of the new readers and Tumblr followers who’ve joined us since we were nominated. We appreciate your support.