2 oz mulled rye whiskey
1 oz Martini & Rossi Vermouth Rosso
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.
Garnish with three Luxardo Maraschino cherries [or bourbon-soaked cherries your friend gave you. 😉 ]
The only thing better than a bomb cyclone is a bomb cyclone followed by a polar vortex. It is ridiculously cold, so cold that a normal Manhattan is insufficient to warm the soul. Years ago I cocktailed at Fritzel’s German Jazz Bar on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. It was both a wonderful and a terrible place to work. The down side was a boss who kept your credit card tips for an indeterminate time and the bros who rolled in off Bourbon Street. The beauty was the music. We had a house jazz band, but things really jumped after midnight when musicians who’d finished playing gigs elsewhere stopped by to sit in with the band. In the winter, the bartender made batches of mulled wine sold in styrofoam cups. It was both delicious and a guaranteed cure for the damp cold that soaks into your bones during New Orleans winters.
Why not bring those mulled spices to a Manhattan? I grab my trusty Anova Sous Vide machine, clip it to the side of a heavy stock pot filled with water and set the temp to 140°F. I have a bottle of Bulleit 95 Rye with 2 cups remaining. Into the bottle go 8 allspice berries, 8 cloves, 4 peppercorns, 1 star anise, 1 bay leaf, 1 one-inch wide strip of lemon zest, the zest of one orange removed in one-inch strips, and half a vanilla bean which I split, then scrape the seeds into the bottle, followed by the bean. I set the timer for 1 hour (45 minutes if infusing in a sous vide bag). At the end of the hour, I add one cinnamon stick, shake the bottle and infuse it for another 45 minutes before declaring it done. If you plan to keep it around for a while and don’t want the flavor to change, strain it before storing indefinitely. We finished ours in two weeks, and I never strained the infused rye into another bottle.
The mulled rye is fantastic – warm, citrusy and spicy with star anise overtones. To make my Mulled Manhattan, I pour 2 ounces of mulled rye (run through a fine mesh strainer if you see mulling bits in it as you measure), an ounce of Martini & Rossi Vermouth Rosso and 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters over ice then stir until the outside of the mixing glass is frosted (about 30 seconds). Next, I strain it into a chilled coupe and garnish with three bourbon-soaked cherries a friend gave me. Of note, the mulled rye becomes cloudy when chilled, so the drink has a different look than your typical Manhattan. If anyone has the scientific reason for this, please share!
Until then, drink up, warm up, and Happy New Year!
Mulled Rye Whiskey
2 cups rye whiskey [I used Bulleit 95 Rye.]
8 allspice berries
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
zest of one orange removed in one-inch strips
one-inch wide strip of lemon zest
half a vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
Fill a heavy stock pan with water, clip your sous vide machine to the side of it, and set the temperature to 140°F.
Funnel 2 cups of rye whiskey into a bottle, then add all ingredients except for the cinnamon stick. Cork the bottle, then shake it.
Once the water comes to temp, place the bottle into the pot and infuse for 1 hour.
When the timer goes off, add the cinnamon stick to the bottle, cork it, shake it, then let the rye infuse for another 45 minutes.
If you plan to keep it around for a while and don’t want the flavor to change, strain it before storing. Mine lasted for two weeks, and I stored it with the mulling spices.