This cocktail has been around a long time (since at least 1908), but no one was making it for years and years. Starting in the early 2000’s, it experienced something of a renaissance, appearing on more bar menus as the cocktail revolution gained steam.
It’s been compared unfavorably to a Manhattan, and there’s some validity to that. Its use of dry vermouth makes it more aggressive, even with half an ounce of sweet ingredients thrown in, and Amer Picon isn’t even sold in the US. You either need to bring some back from France, or substitute another liqueur entirely. This is the kind of drink you’re usually better off ordering at a fancy cocktail bar — a place that will have the right ingredients — than trying to make at home.
Still, it’s worth trying. The spicy woodiness of the rye whiskey is very apparent, and not unpleasant. You get a little bit of Manhattan-y sweetness from the background players, but the Amer Picon brings subtleties that many sweet vermouths do not (the maraschino is mostly lost, and I think is included mainly to provide extra sugar). In all, it’s an interesting drink, just one that I’d suggest finding at a local watering hole.
- 2 oz. Rye (Templeton)
- .75 oz. Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
- .25 oz. Maraschino (Luxardo)
- .25 oz. Amer Picon (Sub any Amer/Amaro)
Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.
This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.