Don’t remember your history? The Maine was a battleship that exploded and sank in the harbor of Havana, Cuba in 1898, after which the U.S. — goaded by yellow journalism — at last entered into war with Spain. Decades later the true cause of the explosion would be revealed — “self-inflicted” — all of which you can think about as you sip this cocktail, designed in the 1930s and reprinted in The Canon Cocktail Book.
It’s an easy and delightful cocktail, and if you don’t have Heering on hand, maraschino works just fine, as I discovered this evening. And, pro tip: As always, the better the sweet vermouth you use, the better the drink will be. I’d argue that it’s more important than the rye even. (I used Rittenhouse.)
For some variations, you could try bourbon instead of rye, of course, or a different fruit liqueur such as Chambord or creme de cassis. I might try tossing in some chocolate bitters for the next go-round. Which, based on its reception here, seems inevitable.
Remember the Maine
1/4 oz absinthe
1 1/2 oz rye
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/8 oz cherry Heering liqueur
Rinse or atomize glass with the absinthe. Stir remaining ingredients in a vessel with lots of ice until cold. Strain into a coupe. Garnish with cocktail cherries — the more the better.