Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Whiskey Wednesday: Use Your Moonshine - The White Manhattan

A few months ago I wrote about the new make or white whiskey phenomenon and promised to follow up with some cocktail recipes. Cocktails are important here, because once you have had the intellectual experience of unaged whiskey and shared it with your friends, it's not something you're likely to sit around sipping, which means you may be left with a number of mostly full bottles of transparent, fetal whiskey (trust me, I have so much of this stuff in the house that I fear that if a law enforcement officer came to visit, they'd think I was running a backyard still).

White dog has really caught on with the mixology crowd, which makes sense. The stuff is more hearty than vodka and a nice alternative to the botanical flavors of gin.

The White Manhattan has become the most well known of white whiskey cocktails. It was originated by Neyah White of Nopa in San Francisco. It's fairly simple to make once you acquire the ingredients. Just mix the following with ice and strain into a cocktail glass:

1 1/2 ounces white whiskey (I used Buffalo Trace White Dog)
1/2 ounce Benedictine
1/2 ounce blanc vermouth
3 dashes orange bitters

Keep in mind that blanc vermouth is different than dry Vermouth. It's a sweet, white vermouth with notes of Christmas spice/fruit pudding. The flavor is closer to sweet vermouth than to dry. Dolin is the most available brand and it usually goes for a bit under $20 per bottle.

I enjoyed the White Manhattan (it's color is actually more in the yellow family). It has a strong botanical flavor, almost martini like, but it's sweet. In fact, it was a bit too sweet for me. Next time I might halve the Benedictine and vermouth, though their sweet/spice flavors do complement the whiskey.

If there's a bottle of white whiskey languishing in your cabinet, give the White Manhattan a try.

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