Editors Note: Today’s post is from Ty Gallenbeck, one of the semi-finalists who are applying to become a regular contributor to Bourbon & Banter. We hope you’ll read all of their posts and let us know what you think of each applicant by commenting below the post, sharing online or dropping us a note via email.
I’m a professional magician. When a lot of people get into this profession, they do so to be able to make friends at a party or to be the “life of the party”. Those people are doing it wrong. If you want to be the “life of the party”, don’t be a magician. (For the love of everything holy, don’t be a magician!) Instead, learn how to make a few great cocktails and tell a good story.
Imagine you grab an elegant looking bottle off your bar. A bottle that looks like if you rubbed it just right you may summon a genie that would grant your wishes for a Pappy Van Winkle twenty-three year. On the front of the bottle: a bright red wax stamp. Under that are the letters “D.O.M.” which stands for “Deo Optimo Maximo”(translation: “To God, most good, most great”).
In your hands you are now holding a liqueur that, at any given time, no more than three people in the world know the recipe. And I for one can deeply appreciate a closely-guarded secret. So many people have attempted to counterfeit the bottle and the recipe that they actually maintain a “Hall of Counterfeits” on the ground in France. Originally thought to be created by a monk name Dom Bernardo Vincelli in the early 1500s, this liqueur, Benedictine, is the key ingredient to one of my favorite cocktails: the Monte Carlo.
Inside of the pages of the 1948 book The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, you will find the recipe for the Monte Carlo. The Monte Carlo quickly became one of my favorite cocktails. Its base spirit is Rye Whiskey, which is a personal favorite of mine. It’s super easy to make—far easier than a Sazerac or an Old Fashioned. The Monte Carlo will make you the life of the party faster than any good card trick.
Did a monk named Dom Bernardo Vincelli really create the recipe for Benedictine in the early 1500s, or is it just a clever marketing ploy?
JJ Abrams, the director of “Lost”, once bought a box of magic tricks called the “Mystery Box”. When he got the box home he chose not to open it, because he thought the mystery of not knowing what was in the box was far more magical than anything the box could contain. So maybe it’s best to leave the story of the monks a mystery.
I hope you give this cocktail a chance, and share the story. Remember: “the height of originality is skill in concealing origin”.
MONTE CARLO COCKTAIL RECIPE
2 ounces rye whiskey (If I want to impress someone I will use the Willett Family Estate three year rye or High West Double Rye, if I am making them for a larger group I tend to use Dickel Rye. Choose your favorite bold, spicy rye.)
½ ounce Benedictine (Be careful not to over use or it will overpower the drink)
2 – 5 dashes of Angostura bitters (I like mine heavy-handed on the bitters)
Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients, stir well to mix and chill. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass, preferably with one large cube or sphere of ice. Garnish with maraschino cherry. Traditionally, this drink was garnished with a lemon twist, but I’ve found it adds little to this drink. Adding a cherry garnish makes it faster to make, and still adds the color needed for eye appeal.
Cheers and Enjoy!