A fun trend in the craft cocktail renaissance of the last two decades has been to merge different styles of “classic” cocktails. Sometimes these styles seem pretty incompatible, like the Left Hand cocktail, created by Sam Ross, co-owner of New York’s Attaboy. It’s essentially a mashup of a Negroni and a Manhattan, named for the Italian-American character Lefty in the movie Donnie Brasco (according to the PDT Cocktail Book).
Thankfully, this one skews more Manhattan than Negroni, with bourbon being the base spirit. There are recipes out there that amazingly find ways to mix gin and whiskey, but count me as skeptical on that front. Anyway, Campari is another critical component of this concoction (hence the Negroni influence), along with the decadent Carpano Antica, a sweet vermouth that our editor dubbed “the first lady of aromatic wines.” Add to the mix some chocolate bitters (Mr. Ross uses Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters), and you’ve got a surprisingly rounded and fruit-forward drink that replaces some of the herbal bitterness of your typical Negroni with the mellow baking spice and vermouth-tinged sweetness of a Manhattan. I’ll admit I was unsure of this one at first, but damn if I can’t stop making them. Thanks, Sam.
1.5 oz. bourbon
.75 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
.75 oz. Campari
2 dashes chocolate bitters
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a brandied cherry.