German-born Hugo Ensslin was the head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in Times Square, a neighborhood that was, at the dawn of the twentieth century, the cultural heartbeat of New York City. His book Recipes for Mixed Drinks, published in 1916, is the last snapshot of New York bartending before Prohibition, documenting well—via a wealth of new ingredients like Dubonnet, crème de menthe, and Bacardi—just how fancy the cocktail had become. While the book is perhaps best known for containing the first-known printed recipe for the Aviation (in all of its crème de violette glory), it’s also home to a number of interesting drinks—many of them originals—like this fairly simple concoction.
Manhattanesque in both composition and deliciousness, it welcomes swapping in bourbon if you prefer your whiskey a little sweeter, or swapping in oloroso for amontillado if you fancy a bit more viscosity. I prefer sticking with the original stipulation of rye whiskey and using a fuller-bodied amontillado like Lustau’s Los Arcos or the slightly leaner Hidalgo–La Gitana Amontillado Napoleon.
Reprinted with permission from Sherry by Talia Baiocchi, copyright © 2014. Photo by Ed Anderson © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.