Cocktail, MixMarch

MixMarch #19: The Bronx

David demands drinks definitively dry. The Bronx delivers, and how.

My second delve into The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks landed me in New York. Everyone knows the Manhattan, not so many have an intimate knowledge of the Bronx. This Gin strong, dry cocktail with a hint of herb each way from the pair of vermouths really impressed me. It was, like a lot of the drinks Embury favours, bone dry on the first sip, but the second sip was bliss. This one is a new fast favourite.

From a more historical perspective, The Bronx was number 3 on a list of the top ten most popular cocktails in 1934. Oh! how far the mighty have fallen…

The Bronx Cocktail.

7.5mls Sweet Vermouth (Martini Rosso), 7.5mls Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat), 7.5mls Freshly squeezed orange juice, 45mls Yellow Gin (Tanqueray 10) combine all ingredients over ice, shake and serve up, with a twist of orange peel.

I am sure someone will call me on the fact the Tanqueray is not Yellow Gin. I concur, Yellow Gin is very hard to come by, being London Dry Gin aged in oak casks. It would be more proper to use Oude Genever perhaps, but I am all tapped out after my recent escapades in the Land of Dutch Gin. I would also be interested in a known source of Yellow Gin, should one become available…

Cocktail, MixMarch

MixMarch #11: The Boulevardier

I’ve written before about my love of the Negroni and also of Rye Whiskey, so it made perfect sense to combine these two passions in this wonderful drink.

The recipe calls for Bourbon, but increasingly I swap corn for rye in pursuit of a spicier mouthfeel. I’ve also made the drink with the red dipped Maker’s Mark, and while good, the rye wins in the end, at least for me.

Harry McElhone, who wrote it up in Barflies and Cocktails, was meant to have invented it for Ernest Hemingway, presumably while he was in Paris after visiting Spain to fire a couple of potshots at the forces of General Franco. I like to picture him blustering down the streets of the City of Lights, well stoked by a number of these.


  • 45mls bourbon (or rye)
  • 30mls Campari
  • 30mls sweet vermouth

Stir with cracked ice & strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry, or a lemon twist, or an orange slice.

Cocktail, MixMarch

MixMarch #3: Gin & It

Here’s a drink recipe I stumbled onto last night and just had to try.

I have written at some length of my love for the Negroni, and indeed all gin based cocktails; I even touched on the Negroni’s predecessor and its place as a literary libation of everyone’s favourite secret agent.

For some reason the obvious had escaped me, Gin & It. The simple dance of Gin and Italian Vermouth. A non bitter Negroni, or perhaps just a herby gin. yuss.

Invented sometime last century, the Gin & It shakes apart a modern miscarriage whereby vermouth is something to be wafted from the other side of the room or diluted in ratios ranging from 1:12 to 1:50. This drink calls for equal measures, or perhaps as far as Embury takes it in 1948, 3:1 in favour of Gin.

I agree with Embury, and in the interceeding 62 years, distillery has come a long way. Gin is a far milder mistress and won’t make you blind or generally any more depressed. It deserves the bigger role. Picking up a gold statuette for Best Actress in a supporting role, however, is Sweet Italian Vermouth. Her dark looks and the deep, herby flavours even the briefest kiss lets linger. Well, delicious, more words only cloud the issue.

The Gin & It

60mls Tanqueray Gin, 20mls Italian Vermouth. Stirred, over ice. Strained up and adorned by the simplest of garnishes, the peel of lemon.

Rush home and try three now.

Bar, New Zealand

On Tour: Agents and Merchants

A second little find for me this last weekend in New Zealand was A&M, partner venue to the esteemed Racket, hiding down a little alleyway just off Customs St East in Auckland’s Britomart development.

The laneways here are what is called contrived, like much of Birtomart’s development. BUT, and that is meant to be a big but, the team at A&M have done their level best to make their bar feel as though it is in Melbourne, and not the bottom of a Westpac office building. I believe they have succeeded.

Mid afternoon cocktails, a Corpse Reviver #2 & a Negroni were well made, quickly delivered and tasty as hell. The perfect questions on preference of gin for the negroni and 24 for the CR2 were unexpected but welcome discoveries.  The staff are attentive and friendly, and after tasting the pear, ginger and chili syrup from the team next door, Racket will be getting a visit on my next trip back home.

Perfect for an afternoon with friends and the massive outdoor fireplace means it would be a good hit for winterly conditions as well. Wine also looked great.

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At home, Cocktail

The Manhattan Cocktail

Few cocktails are as simply great as the Manhattan. Strong, Simple, beautifully refined at the first, somewhat less at the third. A drinking man’s drink. A simple mix of vermouth, whiskey and a dash of bitters.

Drinks this good always have a number of different histories. One of the best attributes the beverage to Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Winston. Lady Randolph was throwing a dinner party for Samuel Tilden, 25th Govenor of New York, Bourbon Democrat and erstwhile Presidential candidate in the 1876 Elections. Tilden out polled his opponent Haye’s in the election, but lost as 20 electoral college votes were awarded by the courts. His misfortune didn’t end there either. A short examination of the history books show that Lady Randolph was in France at the time of the dinner, pregnant.

The drink was probably invented at the Manhattan Club, where the aforementioned banquet allegedly took place, so Tilden’s relationship with the drink is not completely extinguished and the window of time is about right too, so he probably tried one, if not had it made in his honor.

Most agree that it is best made with rye, but prohibition introduced Canadian along the American Whiskey, and all are generally acceptable  these days, your own preference really being key here. A lot of people add maraschino, which I find just covers the taste of the spirit but again, to each his own. I’ve chosen Basil Hayden’s primarily as it has a high percentage of rye in the mash.

The Manhattan Cocktail

Add 60mls of Basil Hayden’s, 15mls sweet vermouth and a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters to a well iced shaking tin, stir well and strain up. garnish with a twist and luxuriate.


Dry Manhattan – substitute dry vermouth for the sweet.

Perfect Manhattan – half dry, half sweet vermouth.

Rob Roy – substitute the whiskey for Whisky

Paddy – Irish whiskey, to be sure.

Fanciulli – substitute the vermouth for Fernet Branca

Ruby Manhattan – substitute port for vermouth

Metropolitan – substitute cognac for whiskey

Cuban Manhattan – substitute dark rum for whiskey

Latin Manhattan – Perfect with light rum.