2 oz Bourbon (Four Roses)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Crème de Cacao (Tempus Fugit)
1/4 oz Lapsang Souchoung Tea Syrup (*)
2 dash Orange Bitters (Regan’s)
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
(*) A strong steep of tea mixed in equal parts with sugar. Here, I added half the amount of boiling water as normal, did a 5 minute steep, and only used 1/2 oz of the tea to 1/2 oz sugar.
Two Fridays ago, I was in the mood for a straight spirits drink, and I recalled a Manhattan variation in Gary Regan’s revised and updated The Joy of Mixology which seemed appealing. That recipe was the Leaving Manhattan by Joann Spiegel, and the drink netted her first place in the New York City edition of the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience competition in 2012. The Bourbon, vermouth, and minor modifiers reminded me of my 2014 entry to the Boston part of the same contest: Shadows and Tall Trees; while that was not the winner (Woodford dominated the balance that worked well with another whiskey), it was meaningful to me as my first live cocktail competition as a bartender.
In the glass, the Leaving Manhattan greeted the senses with orange, whiskey, smoke, and grape aromas. Next, grape and malt mingled on the sip akin to the average Manhattan, but the swallow took a turn after the Bourbon aspect with a pleasing medley of bitter, chocolate, smoke, and tea tannin notes.