Elegant as its Riviera namesake
The Monte Carlo is super smooth. Fitting, that.
It’s a rye-based sipper, which makes it nice and warming. That’s perfect for autumn (which is rapidly approaching in our part of the world).
This drink will perk you up on a chilly night. And you want to be perky, don’t you?
Recipe: The Monte Carlo Cocktail
This drink is a dressed-up version of the Manhattan Cocktail. Both drinks are made with whiskey (preferably rye) and bitters. But the Manhattan also features vermouth, while the Monte Carlo substitutes Bénédictine liqueur.
So the Monte Carlo is just a touch sweeter than the Manhattan, with slightly more complex flavor. It somewhat resembles the Vieux Carré Cocktail.
Traditionally, The Monte Carlo is served “up” in a cocktail glass. We like it that way, but think it’s even better over ice in a rocks (Old-Fashioned) glass, so that’s how we recommend making it.
This recipes takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves one.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey (see Notes)
- ½ ounce Bénédictine
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters (or 1 dash Angostura and 1 dash Peychaud’s bitters)
- lemon twist for garnish (optional)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir briskly until well chilled – about 30 seconds.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add garnish, if desired, and serve.
- Prefer to serve this up? In Step 2, just strain into a chilled cocktail glass instead of a rocks glass.
- Why stir this drink rather than shake? Because all the ingredients are clear. Stirring prevents air bubbles from forming (bubbles cloud the drink). When a drink is made with opaque ingredients (like citrus juice), you won’t notice the air bubbles, so shaking is the favored approach.
- But we often shake this drink anyway. Because that’s who we are.
- The classic garnish for this cocktail is a narrow strip of lemon peel that’s formed into a twist. But we prefer to cut a wider swath of peel and drop it into the drink.
- We suppose you could make this cocktail with bourbon if you don’t have rye on hand. We wouldn’t recommend it, though. Bourbon is probably too sweet for this drink.
- For mixing cocktails, our favorite rye is Rittenhouse 100 proof. But that’s not always easy to find.
- One rye you can always find is Old Overholt, which has a somewhat spicy flavor. We haven’t tried this in a Monte Carlo, but think it would work. If in doubt, ask the friendly folks at your local liquor store for a recommendation.
- BTW, our usual reminder: We’re noncommercial and aren’t compensated for naming brands. We suggest only what we like and buy with our own money.
- Bénédictine is an aromatic herbal liqueur with just a bit of sweetness. Based on its name, you might assume it’s produced by monks. In fact, it was invented in 1863 by Alexandre Le Grand, a French wine merchant and industrialist. Le Grand was an enterprising guy, so of course he falsely claimed that the drink was made by monks at a Benedictine abbey in Normandy. That helped boost sales (and created decades of confusion).
- This drink is traditionally made with Angostura bitters, but we like to add a dash of Peychaud’s. Try it both ways and see which you prefer.
- So what’s the history of this cocktail? We have no idea – its origins are a mystery. Our best guess: Some anonymous bartender got tired of making Manhattans and decided to try this variation as an experiment. A successful experiment, we’d say.
- The drink is named after Monte Carlo, the residential and administrative section of the Principality of Monaco, a small city-state on the French Riviera.
- Monte Carlo is home to a swanky casino. It also hosts the Formula One Grand Prix auto race.
“This is my idea of Formula One,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.
“Yup, this should win the Grand Prix of cocktails,” I said.
“Black-tie flavor, as befits the name,” said Mrs K R.
“Maybe we should drive it over to the casino,” I said. “And break the bank.”
“I’ll just slip into my speed gear,” said Mrs K R.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Vieux Carré Cocktail
Tip Top Cocktail
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