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June 2016

NYC Sicilian Style -- The Sicilian Manhattan

Sicilian (Black) ManhattanWhat makes a Manhattan Sicilian?  It's not The Godfather, which is my favorite movie, a good novel, and a tasty cocktail. The answer is Averna. This Sicilian amaro replaces the sweet vermouth in a traditional Manhattan, and it is the reason I simply renamed the Black Manhattan cocktail.

2 ounces rye
1 ounce Averna
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir, and strain into a glass as cold as Michael Corleone's glare when he finds out in the second Godfather movie that his wife did not have a miscarriage.

The Sicilian Manhattan is an easy to make and modern variation of its cocktail ancestor. Averna is more potent and complex than sweet vermouth, but it is sweet enough to balance out the inherent spiciness of rye.  Acquiring Averna has become easier over time. Trying to figure out how else you can use Averna?  You have a lot of options such as the Peligroso, the A Thief In The Night, and the Midnight Train.

So are you going to have a Sicilian Manhattan? It's an offer you can't refuse. Cin cin!


Sawadeekhap New York City -- The Mekhong Manhattan

One can see a lot of beautiful things in Thailand such as this Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai.
One can see a lot of beautiful things in Thailand such as this Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai.

Southeast Asia meets the Northeast United States.  Mekhong is a liquor from Thailand, a country that I've had the privilege of visiting (sawadeekhap means "hello" in Thai).  Thais refer to Mekhong as a "whiskey" because of its brown color, but it's actually an infused rum. You can get Mekhong online and in some liquor stores. Thanks to what used to be the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok for introducing me to this wonderful variation on a classic Manhattan.

2.5 ounces Mekhong
1 ounce sweet vermouth (I love Carpano Antica)
1 dash Bangkok Betty bitters from Bitter Queens or 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Mural on the grand staircase of what used to be the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok.
Mural on the grand staircase of what used to be the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok.

Combine in a mixing glass with ice, stir with the dynamic grace of the Thai people, and strain into a chilled glass.

I discovered Bitter Queens at last year's Tales of the Cocktail conference.  The people are delightful and the products are top notch.  If you get the Bangkok Betty bitters, use them sparingly, as they are quite potent. If you can't get them, Angostura bitters work well in a Mekhong Manhattan. Make sure you try Mekhong on its own. I'm still convinced that I'm the only foreigner who's ever ordered it neat in a particular upscale Bangkok bar.  I learned Thais have a lot of respect for someone who speaks a little bit of the language, knows what Mekhong is, and is willing to drink it. 

Can't get your hands on Mekhong?  Use dark rum instead. Want to try other variations on a Manhattan?  Check out the Good Morning Manhattan or the Maple Manhattan.  Whatever you do, the resulting cocktail will be aroy mahk (delicious)!