For this week’s Manhattan Monday, we’ve got a slight variation in the form of a slightly French-ified variation on the Perfect Manhattan. The Lafayette is a post prohibition cocktail that replaces the usual sweet vermouth with a half measure of the French aperitif Dubonnet [a fortified wine, not a vermouth] and a half measure of French Blanc vermout [in this case Dolin’s, but Noilly Prat will do as well.] Here’s the recipe:
- 3 oz Rye Whiskey [Defiance Whiskey]
- 1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge
- 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
- 3 Dashes Bitters [Black Cloud Black & Blue]
Stir in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a coup neat or into a rocks glass over ice, garnish with orange if desired.
This drink first appeared in David Embury’s “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” in 1948, though its origins are unknown. This cocktail is perfect for those that find a standard Manhattan a bit sweet [like I do] as the Blanc vermouth makes it a bit dryer and a more delicate sweetness than the sugary Italian sweet vermouth’s, and the Dubonnett is a much more mellow alternative as well while still retaining the spices and herbal notes of a fortified wine. I used Defiance whiskey because it’s a high rye [rather than full rye] which again brings down the sweetness while letting the spices of its bourbon base shine through. Finally the Black Cloud Black & Blue bitters add hints of vanilla and berry sweetness, while its ginger notes blend perfectly with the bourbon and vermouth.