Hey, bourbon face! Are you as cray-cray in love with bourbon as this
blotto besotted bourbonperson is? Do you eat, drink dream drink and sleep drink bourbon? Have you considered naming a pet and/or child Bourbon?
Then have I got a cocktail for you! Like me, you’re probably always on the hunt for yet another way to enjoy your bourbon. After all, just because you can’t spell “Manhattans” without “man” doesn’t mean man should live on Manhattans alone! So here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re gonna add pineapple juice to your Manhattan.
I’ll wait a moment for you to finish going pppppppppppffffffffttttttttttttttttt… wuhhhhhh?
A bourbon Manhattan with pineapple juice is what we at The Royale Food & Spirits (my old muddling ground) used to call The Clifton Heights. The Royale’s cocktail menu named a drink for each of the city’s 28 wards, and I liked Clifton Heights the drink so much, I even went in my car once and hunted down Clifton Heights, the tucked-away, little-known nabe. Just as it was described in its bit of verbiage on The Royale’s original cocktail menu (beautifully penned by Tim O’Connell, truly the Gateway City’s greatest nonprofessional cocktailian), Clifton Heights is leafy and reclusive; Clifton Heights the cocktail was similarly the perfect potable for contemplation.
Now, when I say “we” at The Royale called it the Clifton Heights, who I’m really talking about is me and those puzzled patrons who listened politely as this wackadoo, way-over-enthused barmaid tried to sell them on the rounded, mellow wondrousness of this cocktail. I get it; it sounds weird at best, icky at worst. But please, do give it a try. I have loved this cocktail every time I’ve had it, and I’ve had it at home dozens of times (as well as at many bars where I’ve asked the bartender to mix it up for me).
I know that you hear pineapple juice and you think of something very tart, perhaps too sugary, maybe even a silly-tiki-tini sort of thing. But the pineapple juice here does not overpower the other three ingredients. In fact, it’s one of those cocktails that becomes more than the sum of its parts. If I’d had my first Clifton Heights while blindfolded, I would have done a very bad job of guessing what was in it. (The sign of a good recipe, no?)
If it helps make it sound more palatable, the Clifton Heights is really just an other-side-of-the-Rorschach-test cousin to The Algonquin, with bourbon instead of rye and sweet instead of dry vermouth.
So what are you waiting for? Order now!
The Clifton Heights
(Based on how I remember making it at The Royale Food & Spirits in St. Louis)
2 ounces Buffalo Trace
3/4 ounce Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 ounce pineapple juice, preferably freshly squeezed
Maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish if so desired.
I’ve had a Clifton Heights made with both fresh pineapple juice and canned. Obviously fresh is always best, but the one-ounce measurement I suggest here will work with either.
If you look at the first pic in this post, you’ll see lotsa little ice floes. I love ice-floes drinks! (That means ones where you shake ‘em so hard, your ice cubes break down a bit and some floes are freed through the strainer and into the drink.) I think ice floes are so much fun and a good indicator that you’ve shaken your drink strenuously enough.