Imperfect Manhattan

Imperfect Manhattan

Sometimes all the things you are looking for just don't fall into place.  People, places and ingredients; we often have expectations that reality can't live up to.  If we are unyielding we just move on to the next insurmountable feat.  If we stop and give ourselves the chance to breathe we open ourselves to a world of opportunity.

I was asked to write about a manhattan, best made with a particular bourbon.  I had all the ingredients lined up and then time got away from me and it would be months before I could could live up to my promise.  Frustrated, I went on my way....
A flight delay in Detroit and a well stocked duty free shop set things back in motion, but with a substitute sour mash.  Black market vermouth, got me closer to the recipe.  Then a months long search for maraschino cherries in the urban jungles of mainland China produced tiny fresh cherries.  Sweet, sour and full of pits, I improvised buy getting them drunk.
It all waited for a time when some tired souls were finally able to rest, relax and enjoy...  While the world around us was out on the street burning paper money in celebration of long past relatives during the Qing Ming (tomb sweeping) holiday, Melissa, Maggie and myself enjoyed a manhattan.  

Imperfect Manhattan

  •  2 ounces Marker's Mark bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes Campari
  • Tiny sour cherries, soaked in bourbon for days, as a garnish
Not a perfect manhattan by any stretch.  An old had to olive jar served as a cocktail shaker.  Angostura bitters had been left off the shopping list and Campari was called to the rescue.  This gave our cocktails a smoky flavor that blended lusciously with the unique style of Makers Mark.  It is a recipe to put an end to a tiring, gray day and open up the opportunities of a brighter tomorrow.  Happenstance is a wonderful thing.

More Libations to Love:

Negroni, a cocktail worthy of royalty


The first time I experienced the rich, smoky, soothing bliss of a Negroni was at the Ritz in Shanghai.  I was with my sister from Down Under; Melissa.  We were celebrating life, opportunities, happenstance, and raising a toast to the new lawyer in the Cecchini Clan, in absentia.
I ordered GlenkinchieBarrister Mark CB's favorite scotch.  Melissa chose the Negroni.  Both were perfect choices for such a quintessential cocktail lounge.  While I was enamored with my choice, I fell in love with hers.
My second chance at the Negroni was sometime later.  Same city, same great company, different venue.  Bocca is in a restored factory with a prime location over looking Shanghai's bund.  Stunning arched windows let all that glistens of the city's night sky in.
  Campari, Gin, Vermouth - Negroni
Master mixologist, resplendent restaurateur, Florian Graf told us of the Negroni's history.  The drink was named after a Corsican count of the same title.  This dapper gent wanted a little more than the Americano, sweet vermouth and Campari, had to offer. This is Florian's recipe for an amazing cocktail.
  • 1 1/2 ounces sweet vermouth or Carpano Antica formula
  • 1 1/2 ounces Campari
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • Orange slice or twist for garnish
Add Gin, Campari and Sweet vermouth to a cocktail shaker.  Add a cup of ice.  Shake well.  Add to ice filled cocktail glasses.  Garnish with an orange slice.

Cocktails are best when served in good comapny

Fabulous cocktails to share with good friends:
 Photo Credit: Julie T Cecchini