What makes a Manhattan Sicilian? It's not The Godfather, which is a great book and my favorite movie. The answer is Averna. This Sicilian amaro replaces the sweet vermouth in a traditional Manhattan. I simply renamed the Black Manhattan. Thanks to Imbibe magazine for publishing the recipe, my friend Chuck for mentioning it to me, and my friend (and fellow Godfather fanatic) Paul for advising me that Sicilians are the black sheep of Italy.
2 ounces rye (I like Willett or Bulleit)
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.
Averna is more potent and complex than sweet vermouth, but it is sweet enough to balance out the rye. It's becoming easier to acquire Averna, so when you have the opportunity to get a bottle, seize it. Averna is a key ingredient in other Den cocktails such as A Thief In The Night or a Midnight Train.
Sharp eyed readers will notice the Sicilian Manhattan isn't far removed from the Lupara, a Godfather themed original creation. If you like one you'll like the other. It's an offer you can't refuse.