Skeletons in the closet


When I first started taking cocktails seriously around 8 years ago, I went to the newly opened 69 Colebroke Row. It was a very formative experience in my love of cocktails. Before that cocktails had mostly been sugary-sweet things with lots of Malibu or Pasoa in, or horrifically poorly made martini’s. I’d read an article somewhere about Colebroke Row being the ‘Fat Duck of cocktails’. I was already a massive food-nerd at the time, and was also just starting to discover actual grown-up, complex cocktails, so I thought I’d give it a go. One of the biggest delights of that evening was a bottle aged Manhattan. It was one of the nomest things I’ve ever had. ‘I can do that’, I thought to myself and started experimenting with ageing my own cocktail. It’s actually pretty successful as a thing. The ageing mellows the drink which can hide a multitude of poor mixology skills, and when you get it right it then becomes awesome.

As previously mentioned – when I moved house recently I discovered some vintage cocktails. In addition to the negroni, I found several bottles of aged Manhattans of similar ages. A five/six year old aged Manhattan could be a thing of absolute joy.

Last night we found out.

It was absolutely delicious. Seriously amazing. I wish I had the will power to have done this on purpose so I could do it again. The balance and complexity was incredible.

The recipe is:

  • two parts Bourbon/Rye/Whisky (I really can’t remember which one I used – I wasn’t anything too expensive as I was a PhD student at the time!)
  • one part sweet vermouth (I believe I used Martini Rosso)
  • A couple of dashes of Angostura Bitter

Leave in a bottle for five years – moving house occasionally. To wake it up, stir a measure of it down with a splash of Maraschino and serve with a piece of orange zest.


Thankfully I have another couple of bottles. I’m really not sure how long they’ll last given the discovery of how nice they are!

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