Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Flavio's Special

As long as this drink was going to take a deep dive into orange flavors, I felt it was appropriate to complete the journey--by substituting MurLarkey's orange whiskey for the regular blended stuff. Flavio's Special already has orange liqueur and bitters, and I was correct that the taste from the whiskey, particularly the vanilla notes, could be enhanced by this local Virginia whiskey steeped in orange peels and vanilla.

Now the only question is who is Flavio? There are several restaurants and even a food critic and chef who share the same name, but I'm not sure that the title can be traced back to any one individual person or place. Names like these are lost to time, a particular bartender, guest or owner of an establishment who comes up with a Manhattan Variation that is a hit for a short while. What is more likely is that the name is intended to evoke an Italian theme that fits a restaurant, and the orange flavor is an echo of common Italian aperitifs. We may never know the full story, but we don't have to. Make this drink with orange whiskey or a mild blended whiskey and enjoy the spice and orange flavors rolling around your tongue.

One other thing of note: the recipe calls for Grand Marnier (which is French) but I made an equally acceptable substitute of Royal Combier, a competing orange cognac liqueur. With all of these substitutions, I have come a long way from the original recipe, but I think it is an improvement on a recipe that otherwise hews too closely to a standard Manhattan. 
  • 1 1/2 oz. blended whiskey (MurLarkey orange whisky used)
  • 1/2 oz. sweet vermouth (Cocchi Dopo Teatro used)
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier (Royal Combier used)
  • dash orange bitters (Hella used)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

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