An Evening at Copa d’Oro, Part 2: The Newark

Continued from Part 1

After the lovely Decadence & Elegance, in the section of the menu called “The Boys from Out of Town,” featuring drinks by bartender friends from around the world, I spied one that made me go “Ooh!” It’s yet another Manhattan variation, but man … there’s something about Manhattan variations that I just can’t get enough of. Simple tweaking of the bitter component, or a small addition of another flavor, can transform it into such a new and wonderful drink. (The Manhattan itself might just end up being my favorite drink, period … it regularly gets into a shoving match with the Sazerac for that position.)

I really like the bartender who came up with this one — great guy, and a monstrous talent. I hope I finally get my procrastinatory behind to his city and into his bar sometime soon. You can use any good sweet vermouth for this, but Carpano Antica is specified (as it’s the best). Use Laird’s 100 proof bonded apple brandy for this, too. I think they had run out the other night and were using Laird’s applejack, and the former is far superior. I decided to kick this up a notch and used Laird’s 12 Year Old Apple Brandy the other night, as I was feeling extravagant. Hoo-boy …

(by Jim Meehan, PDT, New York)

2 ounces Laird’s bonded apple brandy.
1 ounce Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce Maraschino liqueur.
2 barspoons Fernet Branca.

Combine with ice and stir for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

This drink is wonderful. The alchemy created brings notes that are chocolatey with even a hint of mint from the Fernet, the medicinality of which fades far into the background with the combined efforts of that beautiful, bright apple flavor and the deep, rich spiciness of the Carpano. Bravo, Jim! (And thanks to Roberto for making it for me, and for taking such good care of us last Wednesday night, and thanks to Joel for confirming the proportions for me.)