Described first by spirits writer Charles H. Baker in his 1939 classic, the Gentleman’s Companion, or Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask, this rye-based drink has an ingredient list that’s part Sazerac, part Manhattan and has a grandiose backstory to boot. The Maine, a U.S. naval ship, was sitting off the coast of Havana in 1898 in a bout of saber-rattling with Spain, which controlled Cuba at the time. When it mysteriously exploded and sank (some blame a coal fire), warmongering journalists used the phrase “Remember the Maine, to Hell with Spain” as a rallying cry that would jumpstart the Spanish-American war, leading to Cuban independence. Baker, however, wrote about the drink in context of the 1933 Cuban Revolution, which overthrew the dictator Machado. He happened to be in Havana during “the unpleasantness…when each swallow was punctuated with bombs going off on the Prado or the sound of…shells being fired at the Hotel Nacional.”
- 2 ounces rye
- 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 teaspoons Cherry Heering
- 1 dash absinthe
Garnish: brandied cherry (preferably Luxardo)
- In a chilled coupe or cocktail glass, add a dash of absinthe. Roll around to coat and discard excess.
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir well.
- Strain into prepared coupe or cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a brandied cherry.
Luxardo cherries are a luxury, but if you can find them, plop one in.