So this is what happened first: I was visiting my nephew Zack at Accomplice Bar in Mar Vista, working my way through Negroni Week with killer cocktails by Gaby Mlynarczyk aka Loving Cup (https://www.instagram.com/lalovingcup/) and Mitch Ono Bushell aka MitchOno (https://www.instagram.com/mitchono/) not only because they are great bartenders but also because there wasn’t a single bar or restaurant in my own Santa Clarita Valley doing a thing for Negroni Week – which not only celebrates a great cocktail but a percentage of the proceeds from the cocktail-inspired menus goes to charity. (https://negroniweek.com/)
So then this happened: Zack said, “Eve, have you ever had a Gin Manhattan? It’s <insert the topical adjective young adults – I refuse to use the word millennial – use>. They made me one at the bar, you have to get it next time.” To which I most likely answered, “What? How can you make a Manhattan with anything but a brown spirit? I’ve had versions with both rye and bourbon, but never gin.” To which he texted the recipe to me later as: Gin. Bitters. Simple. Stir. That just seemed too easy; what was the catch, would it be as good as Zack promised and could I really make it?
Lastly: I used Google to look over a few Gin Manhattan recipes. Pretty much the same mixings that Zack mentioned, some with Gin and some with Genever (Bols Genever: It is the high content of a unique grain distillate called malt wine that gives Bols Genever its characteristic smooth malty taste, making it perfect for mixing and making cocktails…read more.). The cocktail recipes also had different amounts of simple syrup (think one sugar cube to replace a teaspoon of ready made syrup you don’t have to mash with a muddler) and aromatic or citrus bitters. All were meant to be built over ice and poured on the “rock” (think large single cube that melts slowly) and then served with an orange slice or peel in a lowball/Old Fashioned glass.
Really last now…my recipe! Have I made you thirsty yet? I tried a couple of variations and my notes in the parenthesis are my end result after taste testing:
In a mixing glass with ice:
2 ounces Gin (I used Bols Genever)
½ ounce Simple Syrup (reduced to ¼)
2 dashes Bitters (I like Peychaud’s Aromatic Bitters)
Strain into a lowball glass, add orange peel or slice (I used a chilled couple and no garnish.)
Conclusion: As long as you reduce the syrup to taste this is quite remarkable. I’ve always been a fan of drinks with both sweetness and bitters, and this just hit the mark dead on for me in the flavor profile. I highly suggest you do a few taste tests of your own to get the best results. Finally, if you are a Gin fan or a Manhattan fan, this will be a cool new drink to add to your cocktail recipe book. It fit the bill for me, which is and will always be: no more than three ingredients, after that you have masked the root spirit so much that it’s all punch to me.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 15k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.