For today’s Monday Classic, I was super intrigued by a modern variation of the Manhattan cocktail found in Philip Greene’s book by the same name. I loved the idea that it followed the traditional recipe of two parts base spirit (in this case Jamaican Rum) to one part sweet vermouth, but it also included lime, orgeat, and pimento bitters. It made me think of an island version of a Manhattan, and I liked the idea of that, especially after my venture into the Tiki world with last Monday’s Sidewinder’s Fang. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was Pimento bitters, but I substituted St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram (which is a pimento based spirit) and Jack rudy aromatic bitters instead.
Cocktail names are so important to me, so I was excited to see that Greene provided the reasons behind his choice for this drink. During the war of 1812, the US Navy was not yet a powerful enough force to hold off the British fleet, so there were many private ships that helped out. The Lion of Baltimore was one of these American vessels. After the British burned the White House and plundered the Capitol, they headed for Baltimore under the command of General Robert Ross. The Lion was waiting for them in Bodkin Creek and met the British naval squadron that was sent up the bay. The British burned the Lion, but never captured Baltimore, and Ross was later killed by Maryland sharpshooters. His body was preserved in a cask of Jamaican rum and taken to Nova Scotia for burial. Greene and his father kept a sloop at Bodkin Creek, and he created this cocktail in the summer of 2013 after sailing the Chesapeake with him.
I kept the Jamaican rum for this cocktail because it was so vital to its identity, but you can be sure we’ll be experimenting with our own rums behind the bar at the distillery to come up with our own variation. The drink is exactly what Greene intended it to be: a Manhattan at heart, but with the spirit of an island cocktail that conjures up thoughts of “fair winds and following seas.”
Lion of Baltimore
Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Greene’s recipe calls for it to be served in a cocktail glass, but I chose this one in honor of him and his father. No garnish. Enjoy!