Did you guys attend any fun costume parties this weekend? Are you dressing up today? Are you taking your kids trick or treating? We are definitely doing the latter. Kieran will be a tiger this year (again) because his costume from last year still fits. I know. So boring. But adorable! Really. He makes an adorable little tiger.
Whatever your plans may be, I have a fabulously fun and somewhat spooky-looking cocktail to share with you all today. This recipe is [unintentionally] very Halloween-y, don’t you think?
If you’ve been reading my blog for any stretch of time, then you may recall that I am really not a big fan of brown booze.
But I desperately want to be! I keep trying drinks with bourbon/scotch/rye in the hopes that my palate will change…or mature somehow. I, much to my dismay, usually circle back around to my old standbys: gin and tonics (with copious amounts of fresh lime, duh), margaritas, and anything with vodka.
Yeah. I know. So boring.
Until now! You guys! I made a brown booze drink that I like (it’s the second one I’m sharing with you all. Shocking!). This one goes down eeeeeaaasssy, which could be a good or bad thing, hah. Dan can attest to that. He’s thrown back quite a few of these since I first developed the recipe. He’s definitely a fan of the brown booze.
It all starts with brown sugar simple syrup. Yep. You read that right. BROWN SUGAR SYRUP! Let’s pour it into and over everything, shall we? As one might expect, it’s delicious. It’s obviously sweet, but cozy and even slightly smoky tasting from the molasses. It BELONGS in drinks like this one. It definitely complements more complex liquors like bourbon.
The rest of this Manhattan is pretty much straightforward. I try not to take too many creative liberties with the classics. Not because I have a ton of restraint, but mostly because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing when it comes to mixology. Haha. I kinda just make what I like and call it a day?
We’ve got bourbon, vermouth, bitters, orange peel, and cherries. See? Straightforward. The brown sugar simple syrup is my one and only special twist. It adds some depth to the drink while sweetening it up a bit for wussies like me. If you can get your hands on brandy-soaked cherries, definitely snatch some up for this cocktail. They are faaaan-friggin-tastic.
The bonus is that is looks like a Halloween cocktail. The dark cherries and bright orange slices do it. Again, totally unintentional on my part.
That said, these Manhattans should definitely make an appearance this evening. And every Monday, Halloween or not, for that matter.
1 cup water
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
2 tablespoons of the brown sugar syrup (more or less, to taste)
4 oz bourbon (or rye whiskey)
2 oz sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes of Angostora bitters
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or until the brown sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature and then store in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to use.
Add ice to a pint glass. To the pint glass, add the syrup, bourbon, vermouth, and bitters. Stir well with a spoon until everything is well mixed and chilled.
Divide the mixture evenly between two chilled serving glasses and garnish each one with an orange peel and a brandied cherry. Serve immediately.