Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Monte Carlo Cocktail

Monte Carlo Cocktail

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.

Ingredients
  • 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)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a mixing glass half filled with ice. Stir briskly until well chilled – about 30 seconds.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add garnish, if desired, and serve.
Monte Carlo Cocktail

Notes
  • 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.
Monte Carlo Cocktail

Vroom, Vroom

“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.

Racy.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Manhattan Cocktail
Vieux Carré Cocktail
Tip Top Cocktail
Bijou Cocktail
Brainstorm Cocktail
Derby Cocktail
Or check out the index for more

58 comments:

  1. I like a Manhattan so, this fall, I will whip one of these up instead. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Hi Anne, the Manhattan is one of our favorites. So of course this is, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. That gorgeous color! Thanks for the whiskey based drink - always a favorite of mine ;)

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    1. Hi Tricia, fall is whiskey weather! And this is a good one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I love Manhatten's and not so big on sweet drinks, but want to give the Monte Carlo a go. Will have to go buy some Bénédictine soon, haven't used that in a long while. When I think of Monte Carlo, I think of Grace Kelly, now I will be thinking of this cocktail too. :-) Thanks for sharing, John!

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    1. Hi Pam, I think a lot of us learned about Monte Carlo when Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier. Way back when. :-) This is a good drink -- bet you'll like it. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I love Monte Carlos, and i agree: over ice in a rocks glass is the best way to sip this one. beautiful (vintage?) glass in those photos, btw, and beautiful photos, period.

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    1. Hi Shannon, rocks glass is the way to go with this drink! That IS a vintage glass, BTW -- over 100 years old. Thanks for the very kind comment.

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  5. it looks amazinf and has fall colors....but no sing of fall here yet with an ongoing heatwave. But it will knock at the door real soon. I just got rye from a distillery in Maine and love Bénédictine, gonne try this one.

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    1. Hi Evelyne, hot here, too, but it's supposed to cool off pretty soon. Thanks goodness for that! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. I've never had a Monte Carlo but I do enjoy Manhattans. I'll have to try this!

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    1. Hi Kelsie, it's well worth getting acquainted with this drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Blecch!!! sorry - another cocktail that does not appeal to me in the least! I'd rather just go to the Riviera and be perky!!! Is autumn really fast approaching where you live? I'm envious!

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    1. Hi Mimi, rye can be a tough sell for many people. We love it! And it's hot right now, but in a couple of days we're getting some major cool weather moving in. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. my dad is headed to Monte Carlo VERY soon. Perhaps I need to send him this recipe to get him excited! ;)

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    1. Hi GiGi, you dad totally needs this recipe! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Almost looks like fall/autumn in a glass with all of those beautiful amber colors. Warming and delicious and the perfect night cap.

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    1. Hi Bobbi, kinda tastes like fall in a glass, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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    2. What a beautiful drink with a classy name.

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    3. Hi Denise, it's really pretty, isn't it? Delish, too! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. This drink is for me! The first legal drink I ever had was a Manhattan, and it's been my go-to order for my lift since then. It's a little dry for me, though, so I always ask to have a bit of cherry juice tipped into it. So, I think I'd really like this slightly sweeter version. Can't wait to try it!

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    1. Hi Jeff, it sounds like this might be ideal for you. Worth a try. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Gosh...what stunning shots! The very last one is my absolute favourite. Bet it tastes amazing too.

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    1. Hi Angie, the last shot was fun! Fun drink to make and sip on, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. I love a good Manhattan so will give this a whirl! (Or should I say spin keeping with the F1 theme?)

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    1. Hi Debra, probably spin. Just don't spin out. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. John, I've never had rye. Should try it sometime, it was my grandfather's favorite. Your photo is simply the best!

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    1. Hi Jean, rye is good stuff -- nice assertive flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Before I forget to say so, John, these are beautiful photos in this post (okay all your posts...)! And the drink sounds perfect... now, if we would only get some autumn weathe in Tucson!

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    1. Hi David, you'll have to wait for a bit for cooler weather in Tucson! Not to much longer, one hopes. :-) Thanks for that very kind comment.

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  15. Oh yum! This one sounds tasty.

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    1. Hi Pam, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. My dad's boss (who has become my friend) loves rye, so I will have to tell her about this. Also, I want to try benedictine. It sounds similar to chartreuse which is my favorite.

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    1. Hi Laura, rye is good stuff -- bet your dad's boss will love this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I love the colour of this, it's almost glowing.

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    1. Hi Caroline, makes you glow inside, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Autumn is rapidly approaching in our part of the world too - Another great cocktail John. Pinning.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, it's going to be rainy and gloomy part of this weekend, with much cooler temperatures. Fall weather! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Bénédictine is one I don't get to pull out all that often. Thanks for the inspiration. Now all I need is autumn to come to Los Angeles... GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, you might have to wait a bit for autumn in LA. Maybe turn the AC down? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I'm learning so much about cocktails here. And in the food world, that's my weak spot -- I just don't know much when it comes to mixing drinks. So, thank you for the constant education, which happens to come in an entertaining form. Your photos are always fantastic, but that last shot on this post is particularly stunning!

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    1. Hi Valentina, glad you're finding this interesting! And that last picture was fun to take. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Oh, very slinky! A Noel Coward kind of cocktail.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Hi Amalia, very definitely a Noel Coward type cocktail. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. This does sound like a swanky cocktail. In fact, I feel positively more sophisticated just looking at it. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, yup, instant sophistication. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Love the color of this cocktail. Can you believe it I have never had a taste of rye? I am sure that this would be a great cocktail for the fall. As always I love your pictures.

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    1. Hi Dawn, rye isn't as sweet as bourbon, and is has a bit more spice to it. It's good! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I don't think I've ever tasted Benedictine--loved learning the origin story of it! I need to do some liquor store shopping and give this a try.

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    1. Hi Lisa, always fun to buy new things to try at the liquor store! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. There a subtle signs of fall here in Northern California. I am going to order this drink the next time I am in a bar. Prost!

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, you definitely should give this a try -- very nice drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Whiskey is my liquor of choice, so this drink would be perfect for me! Looks terrific.

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    1. Hi Amy, whiskey has such nice flavor! Rye, in particular. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. All the colors of autumn in a glass! A mighty fine way to welcome the new season.

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    1. Hi Deb, looks great, tastes better. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. this seems like a very manly drink. :=)

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    1. Hi Sherry, actually a nice family drink. Well, family of adults! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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