As Withnail’s uncle said, “Come on, lads, the sky’s beginning to bruise, night must fall, and we shall be forced to camp.” Why do I mention it? Not quite sure, myself, but there has to be something there in the first line to entice you to begin reading. Naturally, that should be followed with some sort of cohesive thought meant to grab your attention, perhaps a bit of a head fake to throw you off the scent of where this one is going. On the one hand, it should be obvious that whatever I’m talking about in the beginning should segue smoothly into me asking you to help in the creation of the drink, which I then reveal in the last line of the first paragraph. To be fair, it is usually done in a manner that is a bit strained, a nod to me trying to be too clever, while just getting enough words in that I feel good about the opening since I rarely mention what I am really thinking till after the break and often not until the drink itself is made. So, with that in mind, won’t you please join me as we stand and make, The Full Monte.
Standing and making “the fully monty” is the simplest thing in the world, if you are brave enough or drunk enough. The term refers to “going all the way” with something, most often a striptease resulting in full nudity, generally by a fella. Not sure what the corresponding term would be for a lady or non-specific friend. Not sure why we would really need gender specific terms for this at all. In any case, we are not doing that tonight, or at least I am not, feel free to make your beverages in whatever state of undress best suits you and your current mood, because we are making the Full Monte. This riff on the Manhattan was created by Jennelle Engleson for the bar at The 404 Kitchen in Nashville. It features that lovely Italian Amaro Montenegro and some flipped proportions, hence the name. Let’s make it and see if things get more or less interesting.
Grab a mixing pitcher and pop in 2 ounces of Amaro Montenegro, 1 ounce of rye whiskey, I chose Crater Lake Reserve and a couple of drops of 18-21 Prohibition Aromatic Bitters. Add some artisanal ice cubes and stir to the gentle jazzy sounds of King Curtis’ version of “Whiter Shade of Pale“. Yeah, that’s good stuff. Strain into a rocks glass over one big gloriously spheroid chunk of ice, express an orange peel over the drink and garnish with one of those decadent luxardo cherries on a cocktail pick.
I have not been a huge fan of the Manhattan, historically. I like it all right, but it is not one of my go to drinks. Not sure why, I like everything in there, I just never made fast friends with it. This one its particularly nice, though. That amaro always intrigues me. I can’t quite put my finger on its flavor profile, sometimes it is vanilla, sometimes bitter orange, always herbal. It’s kinda like jazz, I can’t tell you why I like it, but I usually do. I am going to have to swing back around to this one and see if it sticks with me, but for now, I dig it. This is a nice take on the original and definitely one to break out and share with friends. They need to be drinking more Montenegro anyway. It’s fairly low proof, but the rye isn’t so you may get some fun monty to go with your full monte, I guess that is up to you and the crowd you run with.
Somewhere back when I first discovered this recipe I had a whole thing in the back of my head about “Let’s Make a Deal” and the Monty Hall problem. I figured I could explain the whole thing out. Why it really does make sense that if Monty asks you to choose from one of three doors with a prize behind it, when he reveals that one you did not choose is empty and then gives you the option, statistically, you should switch from your original choice to the remaining door. I figured that would give me a chance to show off being clever. Then I could talk about how that same thing happens when you find someone at a party you fancy talking with two other people and then slip in a clever segue into going the full monty, but I forgot all about that when I got distracted by Withnail & I and the only Monty beside Mr. Hall that came to mind and it all just ended in a jumbled mess of good intentions and unused innuendos. As Maya Angelou said, “Sometimes, it be like that.” If I am honest, I wish things had gone differently, but not enough to go back and write a proper post to go with this drink. “Go with it. It’s society’s crime, not ours.” or so they say. I’m going to go enjoy my drink and try to get this mid-80’s British black comedy out of my head while you lot, stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.