Manhattan, Why Not?
I’ve lived through yet another complicated month, with rains, no one to smoke with and no place to smoke alone when I was feeling like it. I was craving a Manhattan and thought, why not? So I started looking for a rum that could replace a Rye Whiskey in the traditional recipe, alongside with Vermouth. The solution was easy to find, I needed a rum with a high congener level, even with some fusel oils to give it an extra kick (may not be appealing to everyone, but that’s what this recipe works best with). So I selected Angostura 1919 (8 year old) from Angostura, in Trinidad & Tobago. This rum met all the requirements I had outlined.
Let’s talk a bit now about the Vermouth. The classic recipe calls for Vermouth Rosso, but regardless of the Vermouth you end up using, you must always keep it cold, so it stays in good condition for a longer period of time. Remember that Vermouth is made from wine, so you have to be careful with oxidation.
Moving on to the glassware, I selected a classic Martini glass with a 3 oz. capacity, since I was going to adjust the volumes used in the recipe to fit into this size glass. Regardless of your choice of glassware, it is important to keep it chilled, so you don’t cause a “shock” to your ingredients with a sudden change in temperature.
The Rum Manhattan Recipe is as follows:
• 2 ½ oz. Angostura Rum 1919
• ½ oz. Vermouth Rosso, Martini
• 2 to 3 drops of Angostura Orange Bitters
And for decoration, mandarin orange peel.
As you can see, the recipe is exceedingly simple, it can be prepared shaken or stirred, both of these approaches are perfectly OK for amateurs to under take.
Having decided on the cocktail, it was time to work on the remaining 50% of the pairing: the cigar. I once again opted for the Camacho line, this time I selected a Robusto (5” x 50) BG Meyer Standard Issue. Other cigars in this lineup include Churchill, Corona, Belicoso, Gordo and Toro, so you should be able to choose the one that best suits your preferences.
These cigars are part of one of Camacho’s modern lineups envisioned by the “Board of the Bold,” an all-star group of the brand directors, including personalities such as Mike Ditka, Matt Booth and the person behind BG Meyer Company, Rob Weiss. The inner blend is all from Nicaragua, from the Corojo 99 Plant, The binder also comes from Nicaragua, from the Estelí valley. The wrapper comes from the Habano Plant, but there is something about its origin that is a bit confusing: the color and appearance remind me of Nicaragua, but there is something that draws me towards Connecticut, perhaps the shine. This cigar should be easy to get a hold of, for around 10 USD.
It is now time to prepare our cocktail and to light up the cigar. I did both of these things consecutively, since I could not wait until both were ready to start enjoying the pairing.
I had anticipated an enjoyable star t, but reality was even better. The Manhattan was perfect: balanced and with just a citric touch, thanks for the ingredients used.
On the other hand, the cigar lit up very well too, and it was combining harmoniously with the orange notes. If you happen to have orange peel soaked in chocolate bitters, definitely try incorporating them into the pairing!
The rum performed as expected in the recipe, always making its presence noticeable, in a perfect dance of dryness and citric notes. The mix of organoleptic sensations was perfect at a low temperature. It is possible that the same cocktail would come across as rough and lacking elegance if it is not served chilled.
The pairing stays fairly even as we reach the second third of the cigar, the only problem I faced was the fact that I had almost finished the cocktail, something that was very easy to remedy! If you try this pairing, you will know just how easy it is to get hooked!
As far as the cigar, it was true to its name, reminding me of roasted coffee and cocoa, which combined perfectly with the Manhattan. The combination of leaves was perfect and the draw was exceptional.
I hope you can f ind all these ingredients so you can re-create the pairing, just like I did. Keep in mind though, that if you select a Churchill or larger cigar, you may have to drink 4 or 5 Manhattans, so choose your size accordingly!
Philip Ili Barake
My name is Philip Ili Barake, Sommelier by trade. As a result of working with selected restaurants and wine producers in Chile, I started developing a passion for distilled spirits and cigars. As part of my most recent job, I had the opportunity to visit many Central American countries, as well as, rum distilleries and tobacco growers.
But my passion for spirits and cigars did not end there; in 2010 I had the honor of representing Chile at the International Cigar Sommelier Competition, where I won first place, becoming the first South American to ever achieve that feat.
Now I face the challenge of impressing the readers of “Got Rum?” with what is perhaps the toughest task for a Sommelier: discussing pairings while being well aware that there are as many individual preferences as there are rums and cigars in the world.
I believe a pairing is an experience that should not be limited to only two products; it is something that can be incorporated into our lives. I hope to help our readers discover and appreciate the pleasure of trying new things (or experiencing known things in new ways).