Mandy and I were visiting Doug and Robyn this past holiday season.
A few days before Christmas, my in-laws hosted a neighborhood gathering. Thanks to Robyn it was homemade Armenian Everything – lule kebab, lahmajoun, yalanchi, sarma gurgood, zucchini 'caviar' (See this recipe at the bottom of the page.), basturma, string cheese, boregs and kadaif, to name a few. There was even a priest from the nearby Armenian church in attendance.
When Doug invited me to bartend, I said Yes! But he mentioned a small challenge: An enthusiast of Manhattans (as in the cocktails) would be in attendance, so I needed to ask Google for a refresher on how to make one. Then I needed to make it Armenian, hence, The Armenian Manhattan.
Otherwise, the concept of Robyn’s Armenian Everything shindig would all fall apart at the bar.
Sitting atop Doug’s well-fortified, swing-open bar was a big bottle of Ararat brandy, “the legendary Armenian brandy since 1887”. I remembered some barkeeps use brandy as the secondary booze in a Manhattan, in lieu of sweet vermouth. Well, Merry Christmas!, the ‘Armenian twist’ problem was solved!
The Manhattan enthusiast – and others – lined up. I’m happy to report this libation (so popular it was made in larger batches) went down smoothly. Second rounds were served. Some guests even had thirds. Or was that just me?
Recipe for ‘The Armenian Manhattan’ by an 'A-B-C'
|Ingredients used for the Armenian Manhattan|
1 Cup (8oz) Bourbon (Doug’s pick: Russell’s Reserve 10 Year)
½ Cup (4 oz) Brandy (Required: Ararat 3-Year - or make it fancy with an older vintage)
8 Dashes Bitters (Doug’s pick: Angostura)
12 Cherries - Boozy cherries (Doug’s pick: Stonewall Bourbon Bada Bing Cherries)
4 Teaspoons Cherry Juice - Use juice from the jar of Boozy cherries
12 Cubes of Ice -or- 4 single block cubes (My choice: regular cubes - or make it fancy with a single block cube)
Start by adding a cup of ice to a cocktail shaker. Slowly add the Bourbon, Brandy, Cherry Juice and dashes of Bitters.
Prepare 4 cocktail glasses (rocks glasses work nicely) by adding 3 regular cubes (or 1 single-block cube).
Gently shake the mixture for 15 to 30 seconds.
Pour about 3 ounces (or 2 fingers) of the mixture into each glass. Garnish each glass by adding 3 Bourbon Cherries.
Recipe adapted from https://www.gastrosenses.com
½ cup canned, diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp. tomato paste (or red pepper paste)
Remove and discard bay leaves.