Manhattan variations: Dique Scott and Smoky Robinson on

When Woodford Reserve Bourbon sponsored the Portland stop on the national Woodford Manhattan Experience competition, fourteen creative bartenders showed up with some impressive variations on the cocktail theme.

Some stayed faithful to the classic theme of the Manhattan; some soared away in different directions. When Dique Scott, Blue Hourbartender, stepped up behind the bar, he made it clear that his intention was to stay close to the classic idea of a Manhattan—whiskey, vermouth, bitters—but he had an idea that he could merge that with another classic variation, the Blood and Sand.

Since a Blood and Sand is a Scotch whisky-based cocktail from the 1920s, the judges were a little puzzled how this merger might be conducted, but Dique was quick to explain he wasn’t pursuing the Scotch angle, but the cherry angle! (Blood and Sand is a combination of Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy or Cherry Heering, and orange juice.)

Dique’s Smoky Robinson Manhattan stays with a simple formula (and have you noticed most of the classics are rather simple, with few but choice ingredients?) of Woodford Reserve Bourbon as the core of the cocktail,Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth, and Cherry Heering. Stirred, of course.

Cherry Heering, created by Peter Heering in the early 1800s, and the key ingredient in such cocktails as theSingapore Sling and Blood and Sand, was an inspired choice. It added a natural, not artificial, black cherry flavor and color to the cocktail, plumped up the richness and spiciness, and married well with the whiskey.

The liqueur is favored by bartenders for its naturally intense flavors, but also for its texture and added spiciness. It is created by macerating black cherries in pure spirits, adding some tangy spices, then maturing the liqueur in oak casks for five years.

With its cask-induced smokiness, the Cherry Heering added the Smoky to the Smoky Robinson, and Dique’s merger was complete: a Manhattan, a clear and definite whiskey-driven Manhattan that was enhanced, not masked, by the smoky, fruity richness of the Blood and Sand component of Cherry Heering.

The Blue Hour is a great place for either dinner, or simply for hobnobbing at one of the best cocktail bars in town. Or both. Stop by, ask for Dique (even if you pronounce it “DK” he’ll respond), and maybe he’ll mix up a Smoky Robinson Manhattan for you.

Legal Notice   |   Log in to graphic guideline