This is my first Father’s Day as a dad, and my parents just came out to visit from Vermont to meet the baby and spend some time with me in San Francisco.
Along with sound advice on parenting and relationships, my father dropped some cocktail wisdom on me when I took my folks out to Trick Dog for drinks.
I usually assess the cocktailing potential of a new bar by ordering a Blood and Sand (equal parts Scotch, sweet vermouth, OJ and Cherry Heering). Any hesitation or confusion from the bartender, and I would know not to order another cocktail. The tragic flaw is that I am rarely in the mood for such a sweet drink. When this came up in conversation, my old man started to smirk.
My dad, he does it one better. He orders a Perfect Manhattan (“perfect” denotes replacing half of the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth), and if the bartender says something like, “Oh, all the drinks here are excellent,” he says, “You know, I’ve changed my mind. I’ll have a beer.”
An engineer by education, and a craftsman by avocation, I’m really unsurprised that he would devise such an efficient and elegant approach.
(Dad usually calls for Jameson, technically making this a perfect “Emerald”, a much smoother alternative to the traditional rye)
two ounces whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
a dash of orange bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.