“You can’t just jump in to the middle,” she said, the exasperation palatable in the air. “These things take time, you have to build a world before you can live in it.” I knew she was right, of course. It was careless of me to have let this happen in the first place. I should have stopped right then, but I figured I would get away with it. No one was getting hurt after all. That’s what I told myself, but with every incident I found myself falling further down the well of denial. I knew what had to happen. I had to fix things, but how could I do that now? I could always go back and pretend it never happened in the first place, create evidence, obscure the trail, but that did not seem right. Better to just own up to the facts and make things as right as I could. So, in the spirit of correcting dead ends and restoring the sacred narrative throughline, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Monte Carlo.
That’s right, after referencing it in drinks like The Eternal Optimist and Yardbird, I am taking the time to actually share this cool herbal riff on the Manhattan. It first appears in David Embury’s 1948, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks in a recipe that included lemon juice, which has since been dropped. It can be served straight up, but is better on the rocks, if the pundits are to be believed. It’s a fairly straightforward drink, a rye manhattan with benedictine instead of vermouth, but those subtle changes make all the difference.
Grab your mixing pitcher and pop in 2 ounces of Rye, I chose the legendary Corsair Ryemageddon; 1/2 an ounce of Benedictine and 2 drops of 18-21 Prohibition Bitters. Add ice and stir to the sounds of Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” the accepted anthem of trying to fix things after the fact. This one needs some dilution and benefits from being good and cold, so stir for a while, maybe all the way till that electric guitar kicks in or even the first chorus. When well chilled strain into a rocks glass over a king cube, express a lemon peel over the drink and toss it in for garnish.
To be fair, I am not a huge fan of the classic Manhattan, but I do enjoy this variation. It is, obviously, booze forward, but that benedictine brings a lovely herbal balance to the spicier rye. I found that as the drink aged the lemon from the peel began to come through and I liked that, so maybe the original recipe with lemon juice was on to something. It’s a good drink, make it, enjoy with friends, write a blog post about it, if you are into that sot of thing.
That’s my good deed for the day. Continuity is restored and now all these recipes can crosslink to each other and when someone reads about how this drink owes its inspiration to that one there will be no dead ends. Well, fewer dead ends. What can I say, if there were any sort of divine plan going on here or even a non-divine rough outline, I could blame that. However, our only guiding light is my own whim and questionable intention span. It’s not that I am a capricious monkey, I just don’t always think things through. I’d apologize for that, but you knew what you were getting when you wandered in the place. I will say, I will try to do better in the future and we may even do a few days of remedial posts to fill in the blanks here and there. Someday, it will all make sense…maybe…from a particular point of view. Till that time comes, stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.