And just like that, autumn is here. Having moved to the "sunnier side of the Bay" in June, aka the East Bay, I thought I would have a summer filled with heatwaves, pool parties, and barbecues. The fog and gloomy microclimates of San Francisco would be behind me forever - hello, SUNSHINE!
But alas, El Cerrito, just north of Berkeley where I live now, is a cold fog trap. It's always at least five to 10 degrees colder than Oakland, just 10 miles south. Our tomatoes never flourished; I didn't once take out my bathing suit.
My years in New York taught me a few important rules for autumn: you can't wear white after Labor Day, and it is time to dust off your mixing glasses for darker, boozier drinks like the Manhattan or a Sazerac. The days of imbibing Margaritas in white linen pants will need to wait until next Memorial Day. Winter is coming.
Given that summer never really came for me this year, I decided to create a dark, boozy drink before Labor Day. This is my riff off of a Manhattan cocktail, using sake as the main ingredient and rye for the supporting spirit. My sake of choice for this is the Kenbishi Mizuho, which is a yamahai junmai that has been aged for two years. It has an oxidized flavor profile that reminds me of sherry. If you can't get your hands on this sake, I would recommend an aged sake or a yamahai or kimoto sake. These sakes cultivate lactid acid naturally to create a robust and earthy sake, that suits this cocktail well.
For rye, I usually love Michter's or Willet but you don't have to go so fancy for this cocktail. I really liked the budget-friendly Old Overholt for this, which has been my go-to rye for years. I used Sazarac rye as well, pictured here, which is a bit spicier than Old Overholt so I needed to dilute it a bit longer.
The Barrel-Aged Forbidden Bitters really brings this cocktail together - taking Miracle Mile's Forbidden Bitters (a take on Angostura) and amplifying it by aging it in rye whisky barrels. The long finish of this cocktail is thanks to these bitters.
I hope you enjoy this cozy cocktail!
2 oz Kenbishi Mizuho sake
1 oz rye whisky (I recommend Old Overholt)
0.5 oz sweet vermouth (I used Dolin)
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Barrel-Aged Forbidden Bitters (can also use Forbidden Bitters or Angostura)
Sori Yanagi sake glass
1. Measure out all your ingredients and pour into your mixing glass.
2. Dash in bitters.
3. Add ice into the mixing glass.
4. Stir for 15 seconds with a barspoon.
This cocktail is ruined if you overdilute it. Check the drink with a straw every 10 seconds to make sure it's diluting at an even pace.
5. Strain the cocktail.
6. Garnish with a lemon twist.
I hope you all have a lovely Labor Day and enjoy the last days of summer.