Something about the last week in August always brings a bit of the blues. Labor Day lurks just around the corner, signaling the traditional, if not official, end of summer. The days get noticeably shorter, especially when leaving the office after work to find the sky already darkening. Parents rush to the downtown stores for the last of back to school shopping. The lazy mid-summer baseball season starts heating up in expectation of October playoff races. Vacations wind-down and the next period for extended time off isn’t until the winter holidays. Thoughts turn inward to the meditative and softly melancholy.
Appropriately for this change of seasons, Lush Life Productions, the host this month for Mixology Monday, has chosen “Brown, Bitter & Stirred” for its theme. While some folks in Gotham City might disagree, drinks like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned never struck me as year-round drinks. When the days are warm and long, I find myself reaching first for refreshing tall drinks like collins, swizzles and slings, as well as concoctions involving seasonal farmer’s market fare for modern twists. Yet, as the season – and mood – turns, cocktails involving brown liquors, bitters and more brown liquors are just about what I need today. However, as I am not quite ready to completely let go of summer just yet, I’ve taken the traditional Manhattan for a trip to the outer banks of Long Island for the upcoming Labor Day weekend through an infusion of end of summer strawberries and a complementary dash of rhubarb.
2 oz. strawberry-infused Rittenhouse 100*
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes rhubarb bitters
Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass.
* Hull and slice one pint of organic strawberries – its important to use sweet, ripe strawberries, otherwise the infusion flavor will fall flat. Infuse in high proof rye for approximately one week. Strain through fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth, then bottle.
Recipe courtesy of Barman Cometh.