The Charleston

The Lee Brothers | Charleston, SC

While it may seem heretical to use fine madeira in punches and cocktails, the Lee Brothers find it worth the splurge—the more character and flavor in the wine, the better the punch or cocktail. According to esteemed cocktail historian and writer David Wondrich, madeira was common in cobblers—simple cocktails common in the early 19th century composed of crushed ice, fortified wine, and citrus peel—shaken vigorously and garnished with fruit. Madeira (and its fortified cousins) are excellent in cocktails because, says Wondrich, “it has the flavor intensity of brandy, but not the proof. So you can dilute it, and ice it, and still have a pleasant drink.” In some senses, this drink mimics a Manhattan with its bourbon base, fortified wine partner and a dash of bitters to bring them together.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon (preferably of the Kentuckian variety)
  • 1 1/2 ounces madeira, sercial or verdelho
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters

Garnish: orange peel

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and stir until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a 1-inch length of orange peel.