When welcoming guests into your home, nothing says “I’m glad you’re here” quite like a cocktail. It shows you care and want them to have a good time.
After taking coats and accepting any gifts (the best guests bring gifts), the first thing I do is offer a drink. It doesn’t need to be fancy; a simple highball will suffice. But if you’ve got the ingredients, the tools and the know-how, it could be transcendent.
My house cocktail blends two of my favorite classic cocktails: the Manhattan and the Sazerac. I originally came up with a similar drink using Cocchi Americano in place of sweet vermouth. (Much later I found it to be a close relative to both the Waldorf and the Satan Cocktail.)
The Vandano Variation
- 2 oz rye whiskey (Bulleit or Rittenhouse)
- 1 oz sweet vermouth (Dolin or Cinzano)
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
- Absinthe or Pastis
Spritz* a chilled coupe with absinthe. Stir rye, vermouth and bitters with ice and strain into coupe.
Garnish with twist of lemon peel.
It’s simultaneously sweet and spicy, bright and dark. I’ve had at least one guest say, “I wish I could drink these all night.” I do too.
So, what’s your house cocktail? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try yours if you try mine.
It was good to see you again and thanks for the gift.