Sunday, May 17, 2015

cobble hill

The theme for this month's Mixology Monday (MxMo XCVII) was picked by myself, Frederic. The topic I chose was "I'll Take Manhattan!" since it seemed like a good continuation of the classic cocktail-themed Mixology Mondays as of late such as the Old Fashioned and the Martini, and the Manhattan is part of the short list of "if I could only have one cocktail for the rest of my days" drinks. I elaborated on the concept by describing, "Turning to David Wondrich's Imbibe! for some historical reference, he bandied back and forth about possible creators and locales for this classic's creation. Perhaps it was created many places and many times, for sweet vermouth was the new hot ingredient of the 1870s and 1880s as St. Germain was in 2007 and 2008 (and arguably even to today). Wondrich quoted from the anonymously penned 1898 Cocktails: How To Make Them, 'The addition of Vermouth was the first move toward the blending of cocktails.' In my mind, the Manhattan takes the Old Fashioned one step further. Not only does it replace the sugar with sweet vermouth, but this sweetener ties its herbal notes to those of the bitters and its spice notes to the barrel-aged whiskey (especially rye whiskey) as well as the bitters again. Furthermore, the addition of a hint of fruit and caramel flavoring is a welcome addition to the mix... For this theme, actuate it any way you'd like as long as the drink resembles a Manhattan. Want to take 19th century Manhattan recipes or variations to the test? ...Or perhaps subbing out the whiskey or vermouth for another ingredient or adding in a liqueur or other modifier or so to the mix? Awesome, you're right on track! There are plenty of Manhattan and Manhattan variations out there in the literature, and there’s plenty of room to explore and tinker if that's your thing, too."
For inspiration, I tracked back to an article by Robert Simonson from Time Out NY from January 2009 entitled "A cocktail for every 'hood: Next stops, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens" which mentions the then new crop of cocktails named after New York neighborhoods. At that time, Amaro Montenegro was unavailable in Boston so I did not make the drink, but once the amaro became available here mid-2011 and I owned it early-2012, I had forgotten about the drink. However, this theme brought me back to the Cobble Hill recipe. And last weekend when crashing at my brother's house in Brooklyn before going to Gary Regan's Cocktails in the Country, life brought me to Cobble Hill itself.
Cobble Hill
• 2 oz Rye Whiskey (Old Overholt)
• 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
• 1/2 oz Amaro Montenegro
• 2 slice Cucumber
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The Cobble Hill is attributed to Sam Ross when he was at Milk & Honey as his "summertime Manhattan." The article quotes Sam as declaring, "The addition of dry vermouth and a bruised cucumber did brighten up the rye whiskey and almost deems it refreshing." Once mixed, the Cobble Hill shared a rye and lemon aroma. Malt and a vegetal sweetness on the sip gave way to rye and clementine on the swallow and a cucumber smoothness on the finish. Overall, I was quite impressed at how well rye and cucumber go together; previously, most of the cucumber-complementary drinks I have drank have been agave, gin, aquavit, and perhaps rum.

Unlike normal, I will not say thanks to the host for picking the theme this time since all of my gratitude this month is towards the participants of Mixology Monday for churning out content and for the readers who add to overall the enthusiasm!

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