sweet vermouth

Classic Manhattan

Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net
Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net

There are few things I find more satisfying during these cold months than sipping a Manhattan. It's my go-to winter drink, which means we always have a bottle of Blanton's and sweet vermouth on hand. Traditionally, rye whiskey is used, but I prefer the sweetness of bourbon over the spicy notes in rye (with that said, I was recently introduced to Basil Hayden's Dark Rye, which is blended with port, and I've become a big fan).  If you've never made a Manhattan before, it's a good drink to learn (and it's easy to remember): 2 parts whiskey to 1 part sweet vermouth (often this is 2 oz and 1 oz, but if you're having a rough day, a larger pour may be necessary), a few dashes of Angostura bitters, all of which is stirred in a glass with ice and strained into a coupe. While the spirits are the most important ingredients here, we can't forget about the garnish. Now, it may be easier and cheaper to get your hands on some of those bright red maraschino cherries you used to have in your Shirley Temples when you were a kid, but please... please... invest in the good stuff (Luxardo are available at most liquor stores or online). Yes, it's $20 for a container, but when you're only having one per drink, a jar goes a long way. Believe me, it's worth the extra money.  

Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net
Classic Manhattan Cocktail Recipe - www.athoughtforfood.net

CLASSIC MANHATTAN
Yield: 1 drink
Tools: Mixing glass, cocktail strainer
Glassware: 3.5 oz coupe

Ingredients:
2 oz Rye whiskey or Bourbon
1 oz sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry, garnish (Luxardo is recommended)

Directions:
Add 3-4 ice cubes to mixing glass. Add whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters and stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with cherry. 

 

Raspberry Vermouth Cobbler

We have a lot going on right now, and many of these things are tough to wrap our heads around. One is the Cape house. I haven't mentioned it here, but in October, we bought the house next to Eric's family's property. It was a joint purchase with his brother and his wife, and their mom. Yes, it's exciting, but there is much that needs to be done and it's hard to accomplish anything from such a distance. With that said, we're in the beginning stages of some work... making lists, getting quotes, and lots of time browsing through websites figuring out how to best proceed with these projects. I have been given the task of getting things in order with the kitchen, which makes sense since I spend as much time cooking down there as I do in the lake or reading in the hammock. 

When we left the house at the beginning of November, we had done as much as we could. Rooms were cleaned and we even got a bit of painting done (ok, it was a giant amount of painting... 21 kitchen cabinets and a large living room, to be exact). I think we were all a bit burnt out by the end of that. I had little desire to think about any of it, but seeing that we're already in February, I think the time has come to stop procrastinating.  Before we know it, April will be here and we'll be on our way to open the house(s).  

Last week, I needed my spirits lifted and there are few things that do that better than a vibrant boozy beverage garnished with a ridiculous amount of fresh mint. A cobbler came to mind and I worked a little spin in there by muddling raspberries, which provided some nice color and sweetness (most cobbler recipes call for some sugar, but I didn't think that was necessary here). 

RASPBERRY VERMOUTH COBBLER

SERVINGS
1 drink

INGREDIENTS
1/4 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
3 raspberries, plus more for garnish
3 ounces sweet vermouth
Soda water
Ice
Fresh mint

DIRECTIONS
1. In the base of a cocktail shaker, muddle together raspberries, lime juice, orange juice and vermouth. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain mixture into a highball glass filled with ice cubes.

2. Top drink with soda water and garnish with fresh mint. Serve with a straw. 


Sweet Vermouth Cobbler

Cocktails aren't traditionally served at a Passover Seder. Often, there is wine. But because any grain or corn-based spirits are kitniyot (the hebrew word for the category of foods that are not allowed to be consumed during Passover), mixed drinks aren't typically served.  In looking ahead to the holiday, I thought a libation using fortified wines, such as sherry and vermouth, would be nice for those wanting to mix up a little after-work drink.

I sipped my first cobbler just a few weeks ago at one of our favorite bars and haven't stopped thinking about it since. The idea is simple: muddled citrus (typically orange), some sugar, liquor and garnished with seasonal fruit (citrus and berries) and mint. Sherry and vermouth are often a bit thicker in consistency and so a bit of soda water will help cut it.

After describing this drink to my mom, she pointed out that sometimes people include orange on their Seder plates. I had never heard of this before. Why orange? What symbolism does that have?

Here's what I learned from a quick search online: In the 1980s, Dr. Susannah Heschel, a Jewish feminist scholar, was visiting Oberlin College. It was there that she witnessed students adding bread crust to their Seder plates as a way of showing their support of feminists and gays and lesbians, who they felt were excluded from Judaism. Heschel suggested that because bread is kitniyot, that they replace it with an orange slice ("I chose an orange because it suggests the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life."). The tradition has continued, but now is used to represent any groups that may feel marginalized.

Sometimes a recipe isn't just a recipe. Sometimes there's something symbolic about an ingredient or dish that resonates with people. I certainly wasn't expecting this cobbler to have such significance, but it's nice to think there's more to it than just a way to get people a little intoxicated.

sweet vermouth cobbler

SERVINGS
1 drink

INGREDIENTS
3 orange slices
3 ounces sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon sugar
Soda water
Crushed ice
Fresh mint

DIRECTIONS

1. In a highball glass, muddle two orange slices with the sugar. Once the juice has been released, remove the remainder of the orange slices from the glass.

2. Pour the sweet vermouth into the glass then fill the glass two-thirds of the way with crushed ice. Line the inside of the glass with a single orange slice.

3. Top drink with soda water and garnish with fresh mint.