Stir with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.
Garnish with cherry (preferably whiskey-soaked).
Fall and Winter grapple for dominance as the days grow shorter. It’s the perfect time of year to go for a run, curl up with a book, and mix a cocktail with your favorite rye whiskey. I was in the planning stages of such a drink when my friend handed me a bottle of Bonal Gentiane-Quina that didn’t jive with her palate. This is a fringe benefit of writing a cocktail blog. Hand-me-down spirits.
Bonal is a quina, a French Alpine Apertif wine. It’s been produced since 1865 and is the result of fortifying wine with alcohol, typically brandy, and infusing it with cichona (quinine), gentian root (a known stomachic and common ingredient in apertif wines), and herbs found in the Grande Chartreuse Mountains.
I decide to riff on a Black Manhattan by substituting the Bonal for sweet vermouth. I pour 2 ounces of Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey, 3/4 ounce bonal and a dash of vermouth over ice, stir and strain. The result is a bit astringent and leaves a slightly numb sensation in my mouth.
I cut the Bonal back to 1/2 ounce and add 1/2 an ounce of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur. I prefer Take 1 to Take 2, as the latter is a too sweet and somehow reminds me of Hot Damn Schnapps. Some memories are best forgotten.
Finally, I scale the Luxardo back to 1/4 ounce, add a bourbon-soaked cherry another friend gave me (more fringe benefits!) and taste. It’s exactly what I’ve been in the mood for — a boozy, spicy, decidedly adult cocktail to sip as Fall tires out and Winter pins him for the win.