An easy way to mix a variation on the Manhattan cocktail is to swap the whiskey. The simple two-to-one formula combines spirit with sweet, Italian vermouth and a dash of Angostura bitters. Traditionally made with American straight rye and often with bourbon, the same basic recipe made with Scotch whisky is called a Rob Roy. But if you use Irish, we call it the Emerald, and instead of Ango, the Emerald calls for orange bitters.
As much as we enjoy the smooth flavor of Irish whiskey, it simply doesn’t come up very often in cocktail recipes. There are notable exceptions like Irish Coffee, and we definitely enjoy the Gangs of New York cocktail, but whiskey classics usually call for a flavorful rye which stands up to other ingredients. In the case of a drink like this, we are highlighting the base spirit, and with a nice vermouth to compliment the whiskey, the bitters will bring the two together. Since Irish whiskey is lighter and smoother than other styles, so too is the cocktail.
2 oz Irish whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Stir with cracked ice to chill and strain into a cold cocktail glass.
Think of this drink as a lighter, and in some ways more interesting version of the Manhattan. We dashed Regans Orange bitters over Teeling Irish Whiskey and Carpano Antica Formula vermouth. Whenever we use the Carpano Antica we are always reminded why we like it so much. Here, it adds depth and character reminiscent of chocolate, and although the spotlight is supposed to be on the whiskey in simple drinks like this, the lighter flavor of an Irish is easily upstaged by a fantastic vermouth. With more and more sweet vermouth options becoming available from producers—and even some local distilleries—this can be a nice way to showcase a good modifier or to compare a brand new bottle with something older. We know the whiskey is good, so with a decent vermouth, this cocktail really shines, and the lighter base makes it an appealing option even on warmer summer days.