Invented around 1880 at New York City’s Manhattan Club, the Manhattan has enjoyed its status as a universally respected cocktail since its inception. The original formula of whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters is great just the way it is, but even great drinks inspire variations, as bartenders experiment with ingredients and ratios to produce creative yet recognizable variations on the standard.
The Longshoreman is one such example. It was invented by New Orleans bartender Abigail Gullo, who keeps the whiskey firmly in place but thoughtfully chooses a particular vermouth and subs bitter liqueur for aromatic bitters. Punt e Mes is an Italian vermouth whose name translates to "point and a half," referring to the bottle containing one point of sweetness and one point of bitterness. It has a strong and distinctive flavor and adds a hint of richness to classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Negroni.
Gullo’s third ingredient is Averna, a Sicilian amaro that plays the role usually assumed by Angostura bitters. Averna is bittersweet, earthy and herbaceous, with notes of candied orange peel and caramel. It’s a common sidekick to whiskey (sub Averna for vermouth and keep the bitters for a Black Manhattan) that adds viscosity and weight to this cocktail. Gullo uses a full half ounce of the liqueur rather than the typical two or three dashes of bitters you find in most Manhattans.
Finally, she enlists a flamed orange peel, which adds a bit of flair, as well as a burned citrus finish, to the Longshoreman. Follow her lead and impress your friends with some zesty pyrotechnics.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1/2 ounce Averna amaro
- 1/2 ounce Punt e Mes
- Garnish: flamed orange peel
Add the rye whiskey, Averna and Punt e Mes into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled coupe.
Strike a match and hold it near the drink’s surface. With the skin side toward the flame, press the orange peel to express and ignite the oils.
Rub the peel over the rim of the glass and drop it in the drink.