American whiskey — the classic classic ingredient



60ml rye whiskey
20ml dry vermouth
2 dashes of Amer Picon
2 dashes of maraschino liqueur
Method: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Story by Joe Worthington
Photography by Christopher Pearce

American whiskey. Where do you start? This is a great topic for me; working behind a bar that serves more Margaritas and Mojitos than it does Old Fashioneds, I guess the time is right to give this spirit the once over.

Now, the brief here was to throw down some words about one American whiskey cocktail recipe. One! I’m sorry, but how does one do just that? I’m not going to. Sorry, I just can’t.


Two years ago I travelled the US. 27 US states in eight weeks, and what an eight weeks it was… sigh. Without obviously banging on too much about my personal exploits, I did manage to drink (just a little), here and there. I’m not sure if many of you have heard but there are one or two half-decent watering holes across the Pacific.

Last year saw the dashing, debonair Jeff Bell in Australia – the multi award winning, now general manager of PDT in New York. A bar which needs no introduction, a bar which has been named in the World’s 50 Best Bars more than any other. Whilst at the Potting Shed in Alexandria when Jeff was spreading the love of bourbon to the masses, he spoke of PDT and how many tourists venture there in search of the perfect Manahttan.

And rightly bloody so I say — they are, after all, in Manhattan. Sure, it’s the obvious choice but why the hell not? I’m sure, to Jeff, it’s the same old story: customers ordering it for the sake of ordering it. But who are we to judge? I visited PDT that summer and it was the first drink I ordered. Americans are fiercely proud of their spirit and like anywhere, it’s about where you are which dictates (at first) what drink you drink. What could be more perfect than drinking a Perfect Manhattan in the city that never sleeps, and in the bar that no one forgets?

Ok, and now the Brooklyn. It’s a similar drink but add maraschino, some Amer Picon, and you have a cocktail with a sweeter edge that rivals New York’s most iconic drink. Probably on purpose, and probably best drunk in Brooklyn.

And who the hell goes to New Orleans and doesn’t almost drown themselves in a Sazeracs? I’ll tell ya, nobody — that’s who. Here’s a tip for you when you’re there: look for bars with the Seal of the Sazerac. It’s an accolade set up by the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society, and awarded to bars who promote and present the perfect Sazerac as well as the spirit of New Orleans.

The US have the classics, those great bloody classics and they’ll always have them. Me? Give me a boilermaker over a Manhattan anytime.

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