Gaz shares his ‘101 Best New Cocktails’ with us, which will ultimately appear in his 2011 Manual for Bartenders.
Adapted from a recipe by Brendan F. Casey, Café Centro, New York, NY
“I’m always trying to come up with new variations of the Manhattan (Dale DeGroff’s Man O’ War recipe changed my life), and I loves me some tequila! My Lady and I just picked up some maple syrup at the local greenmarket that day, and I wanted to use it in a cocktail, so there you have it. Cheers!” Brendan Casey.
First, to dissolve the maple syrup, combine it with the rye and tequila, stirring at room temperature. Then combine all ingredients in a mixing glass full of ice. Stir while thinking about Laurel and Hardy. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.
First I should note that Dale’s Man O’ War, made with 45 ml (1.5 oz) Wild Turkey 101, 30 ml (1 oz) orange curaçao, and 15 ml (.5 oz) each of sweet vermouth and fresh lemon juice, shaken with (optional) slices of orange and lemon in the shaker, and garnished with and orange slice and a cherry, is a fabulous drink, and it shows off Dale’s ability to put a simple drink together wherein the finished product is far, far greater than the sum of its ingredients.
Brendan F. Casey’s Another Fine Mes cocktail, though, is a drink of another color. I’m not a big fan of maple syrup in cocktails, but in this drink it’s plays with the Punt e Mes beautifully—a combination I’d never have dreamed of. Then take a look at the base spirits: Michter’s rye and Don Julio tequila? Great products both, but Casey must be out of his head, I thought, to put both of them in the same shaker.
Wrong again, Gaz. I have no idea why this combination works so well, but there’s a complexity in this drink that lifts the soul to new heights.
I tried the Another Fine Mes using Cointreau instead of the Combier, and it still worked well. Substituting Grand Marnier works, too, though it renders a cocktail that’s a little sweeter than the original. Nice work, Brendan.