Ed Asner's character in "Studio 60," the Chairman of the fictional NBS network, plans to get in on a deal with a consortium of companies and turn Macao (or "Macau" if you prefer, as Wikipedia seems to) into a fantastical destination. Already noted for gambling and tourism, I guess they would've installed a Universal Studios park and a Hard Rock Café and declared victory or something, I dunno. But…it got me thinking…
I wondered what a Manhattan would be like with a slew of disparate influences on it. I mean, Macao was a Portuguese colony in Chinese territory, a port for any number of exotic cargos…what would that have done to, or how would that translate to, a whiskey and vermouth based drink? And so, after jotting down some notes, I came up with this:
Macao CocktailSo first thing to note is that this is going to start off sweet. The syrups and the ginger liqueur will guarantee that. Which is why I brought some things in to counter that: the acid phosphate for one. Made and sold by Darcy O'Neil from The Art of Drink, this brings sourness without any citrus juice. (I was going for a non-cloudy drink here.) Secondly, Bittermens new Burlesque bitters is a blend of açai berry (sweet), hibiscus (tart), and long pepper (long. I mean, 'hot') which further complicates things. Plus you've got the other bitters, the vanilla and allspice notes from Don's Spices #2, the almond of the orgeat, the grapefruit and cinnamon from Donn's Tinc, and the little bit of heat from the ginger liqueur.
2 oz blended whiskey (I used Canadian Club)
3/8 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz Trader Tiki's Orgeat Syrup
1/8 oz Trader Tiki's Don's Spices #2
1 barspoon ginger liqueur
2 dashes Acid Phosphate
Dash of Donn's Tinc
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Dash of Bittermens Burlesque Bitters
Stir all ingredients smartly with ice, strain into cocktail glass, and garnish with a brandied cherry and a flamed orange zest.
It's a complicated drink. It's polyglot. It's multicultural. But it's sophisticated. And nuanced. And I think it's a fairly good invention.