Sometimes the simplest drinks are the best. This cocktail, A Man About Town, has just three ingredients– Campari, St. Germain, and bourbon– which allows each of these first-rate spirits to truly shine. Plus, it’s dead simple to make, using liqueurs that are frequently found in at-home bars.
A common complaint I’ve heard from friends about drink menus in up-scale cocktail bars is that the drinks are too complicated with too many different components. There is certainly a trend among bartenders to produce the most “innovative” or out-there flavor profiles, using elaborate infusions (and syrups and shrubs and so on….) and ever more obscure spirits. At the end of the day though, I think the most impressive and easily drinkable cocktails are those that use restraint. Let it be clearly stated– more ingredients does not necessarily mean its a better cocktail.
I’ve recently been thinking about what makes a great drink. Hands down, the best cocktail I’ve had in the past 6 months was one K made for me at home. And get this– it was just a martini. However, it was a martini built using incredible ingredients. The base was a delicate Ethereal gin handcrafted by Berkshire Mountain Distillers. I like lighter, more floral and less peppery gins, and I can’t get enough of the different Ethereal batches. The vermouth was one I had bought in Rome, Italy, called bianco ambrato by Manchino— after the first sip, I immediately reached out to the U.S. importer to see where I could pick-up another bottle back home. If you ever see this vermouth, grab it, and I promise you will not be disappointed. Topped with a few dashes of Boker’s bitters, this martini was mind blowing. Light, refreshing, and complex, it beat out all the other gin (and whiskey and tequila…) cocktails I paid $12 for. Now that’s a pretty impressive feat.
A Man About Town is a similar treat. It is a play off the Boulevardier but swaps in St. Germain for vermouth and switches up the proportions. The drink uses two classic liqueurs– St. Germain and Campari– which are famous for a reason. Together, these two spirits combine (and balance each other out) to make a slightly bitter, slightly sweet cocktail with a stunning orange-red hue. It’s the type of drink that’s easy to recall and even easier to make.
-2 1/2 oz whiskey (either rye or bourbon works!)
-1/2 oz Campari
-3/4 oz St. Germain
Combine together all ingredients and shake well with ice. Strain into a coupe glass.