Recipe: Downhill Daring

Recipe: Downhill Daring

While a cocktail like the Full Monte can be considered a form of the “Reverse Manhattan”, purists will argue that a true Reverse Manhattan is one in which vermouth (and not some other modifier like amaro) forms the backbone of the cocktail. While I’m always happy to kick up the amaro or liqueur (within reason) in a tipple, doubling the vermouth often seems a bit heavy-handed, even with my beloved Carpano Antica Formula. A single vermouth can become a pretty overbearing flavor at one ounce, let alone double that. The solution? A drink like this one, the Downhill Daring.

Brian Nixon, of well-known Washington, D.C. watering holes McClellan’s Retreat and Truxton Inn, takes credit for creating this reverse Manhattan. He based it on the classic Brooklyn cocktail using two different types of wine-based modifiers in different proportions to add layers of flavor and complexity. The primary ingredient here is Punt e Mes, which honestly toes the line between amaro and vermouth, anyway. The other wine-based component in this rather elaborate recipe is Cocchi Americano, an aperitivo that adds needed dryness and a slight floral character to balance the intense cocoa and cola notes of the Punt e Mes. A bit of Benedictine contributes a kiss of herbaceous sweetness, while the timeless orange and Angostura bitters combination amplifies the baking spice and citrus component. It’s an elaborate and elegant drink with plenty to offer a drinker looking for something like a Manhattan. But not.

Downhill Daring
1 ½ oz. Punt e Mes
1 oz. bourbon
½ oz. Cocchi Americano aperitivo
¼ oz. Benedictine
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with an expressed orange peel.

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