Did you know you can make a Manhattan* with aged rum instead of bourbon? Because you totally can and it’s really pretty good!

I happened upon this discovery of sorts while toying with recipes for that Montreal Bar vs. Chef competition I clearly can’t stop talking about. My original idea was to do a flip, but after many, many attempts to make even a halfway-decent one, it was clear that what I had on my hands was actually a flop. (Rim shot!)

This left me stuck in a cocktail-intellectual vacuum, not knowing where to go next. (My swizzle idea, which I ultimately went with, hadn’t yet come to me. ) I thought maybe a way to go would be to start with a classic cocktail recipe as a template and work my way forward from there. And voila — the I’ll Fake Manhattan!

The I’ll Fake Manhattan 

1 ounce aged rum

1/2 ounce Cinzano Sweet Vermouth

1/4 ounce Cinzano Dry Vermouth

1/4 ounce Luxardo

2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Splash of orange-infused gin, optional

Brandied cherry, to garnish

Combine all liquid ingredients in an ice-filled mixing  glass. Stir vigorously with a bar spoon, strain into chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a brandied cherry.

Tasting Notes

Usually I tell you exactly which brands of liquor I use when making a cocktail; above, I just said “aged rum” because I actually mixed two together, for purely practical reasons; I didn’t have a full ounce of Appleton Reserve left after all the experimenting I did with it for Montreal Bar vs. Chef. I made up the difference with Rhum Barbancourt. Appleton has a more piquant flavor profile, methinks, whereas I find Barbancourt to be more smooth, rounded and bourbon-like. What you will.

Note that, with my use of both sweet and dry vermouths, what we have here is a perfect Manhattan, and that I have indeed strayed from a classic Manhattan recipe by using Peychaud’s instead of Angostura bitters.

My splash of orange-infused gin, I just like. Rounds things out a bit more. Makes it go down a little quicker. No biggie if you don’t have it, although you can make it super simply.

*Did you also know that the Rodgers and Hart tune you probably remember as “I’ll Take Manhattan” is actually just called “Manhattan,” which makes it really hard to Google? Well, at least now you get why I called this drink what I called it.

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