By Eric Twardzik
When I set out to create a signature cocktail for Paolo Martorano Bespoke, I knew it would have to be a Manhattan. After all, New York City is deeply enshrined in the label’s DNA. It’s where Paolo’s grandfather and grandmother immigrated to work as a tailor and trouser maker, respectively; where Paolo began his own tailoring journey working under Alan Flusser and then at Paul Stuart; and where the artisans who make every Paolo Martorano Bespoke garment reside.
Rye whiskey, fortified wine and aromatic bitters: the elements that make up the Paolo are not revolutionary, and the proportions are classic. But like its namesake, The Paolo is concerned with the best possible ingredients, combined for the benefit of the harmonious whole.
For its base spirit I selected WhistlePig Rye, a 10-year-old, 100-proof rye whiskey bursting with full-bore oak spice and vanilla. And for bitters I opted for Bogart’s Bitters, a wonderful product from Germany’s Bitter Truth that replicates the chocolatey, darkly spiced bitters that would have been used by famed New York bartender Jerry Thomas in the mid-1800s.
But its most crucial differentiating factor may be the use of Barolo Chinato in place of sweet vermouth. Barolo Chinato is also a fortified wine but made exclusively from Barolo DOCG (a personal favorite of Paolo’s) infused with a rich assortment of herbs and spices. Any Barolo Chinato should do the trick, but I’ve long favored the iteration produced by Marolo thanks to its use of cinnamon, clove, and other warming spices that shine with rye whiskey.
As for the garnish, you may notice that it’s a humble Luxardo cherry—no more, no less. All I can say is that some things are a classic for good reason.
2 ounces WhistlePig Rye Whiskey
1 ounce Marolo Barolo Chinato
2 dashes Bogart’s Bitters
Luxardo cherry, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a stirring glass filled with ice. Stir until well-chilled, about 20-30 seconds, and strain into a chilled coupe or Manhattan glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherry and serve.