Whiskey. Whether you spell it with an "e" or not (everyone vs. Scotland and Canada, respectively), it's one of my new favorite things. In the past I've enjoyed a wee dram of Scotch every now and then, but the other whiskeys like bourbon and rye were out of my ken.
I'd toddle into their midst in my jammies, say night-night to the happy crowd and wander to bed, thinking that all those adults I knew from church sure were happier outside of it. Occasionally I'd take a sip from a lipstick-crusted drink that had been abandoned on a side table, wondering why they'd drink something that, to my young palate, tasted like turpentine smelled.
Needless to say, by the time Dave started making cocktails I'd long overcome my aversion to alcohol, and when he became enamored of Manhattans I went along, too. (What a good wife I am!) He's made them with both bourbon and rye, with sweet vermouth and its higher-rent cousin, Carpano Antica.
So when I heard from some local bartenders that the Bulleit company was putting out a small batch rye (above left) to follow on the heels of its popular bourbon, I knew I had to get me some. With a distinct taste of the rye grain, this is great stuff for drinking all by itself. But it also mixes quite nicely in other company, much like the happy Episcopalians of my youth.
For two drinks:
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. Carpano Antica or other sweet vermouth
2-3 dashes Fee Bros. Old-Fashioned bitters
Chill cocktail glasses in freezer. Fill pint glass or small mixing pitcher half full of ice. Add whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Stir 30 seconds. Take cocktail glasses out of freezer. Strain liquor into glass. Drop in cherry. Serve.