The Star Cocktail was a drink that was fairly popular in the 1890s and was mentioned in a number of publications at that time, including the New York Sun, the “Leading Barkeeper’s Report” in the Evansville Courier, and the Cincinnati Post. As with so many classic cocktails, many bar owners, bartenders, and bar manual writers claimed ownership of this drink and published their unique versions of the recipe. Apple brandy and sweet vermouth seemed to remain consistent throughout all the permutations, which makes it easy to see why this cocktail can be considered a riff on the classic Manhattan. The recipe that I read for the Star Cocktail was from Philip Green’s book, The Manhattan, and was based on a list of ingredients originally found in the New York Sun article. It contained Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy, Martini sweet vermouth, Cherry Heering, yellow Chartreuse, and Peychaud’s bitters, which have a slightly anise flavor to them. I kept the Laird’s, but substituted a 50/50 blend of Dolin Rouge and Carpano Antica for the Martini because I wanted to create some deeper flavors at the base of the drink. The Licor 43 is a new ingredient for me that has a vanilla, spicy, and slightly herbal flavor profile that is unlike anything that I’ve ever had before. It’s perfect for fall and I’m so excited to try it in more things! Because the Licor 43 brought in so much sweetness, I substituted Woodford Reserve’s spiced cherry bitters for the Cherry Heering, and used Scrappy’s Orleans bitters for the Peychaud’s. The end result was a truly delightful cocktail that was warm and spicy and a great celebration of all things fall. And it has just enough of a kick to warm us up and remind us that winter is right around the corner. Cheers, everyone!
Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with a bourbon-soaked cherry. Enjoy!