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Smoked Maple Manhattan with Garbage Can Bitters

Serves: 1 cocktail and about 2 pints bitters

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Ingredients:

  • Garbage Can Bitters:
  • ¼ cup whole coffee beans (or spent, dried coffee grounds or spent, dried tea leaves)
  • Handful whole spices (allspice, cloves, star anise, fennel, etc.)
  • Handful of citrus peels
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cups 101-proof bourbon

  • For each cocktail:
  • Spoonful of Garbage Can Bitters
  • Spoonful of maple syrup
  • 2 parts bourbon
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes store-bought gravy enhancer or leftover Thanksgiving turkey pan scrapings (optional)


Procedures:

Make bitters: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, remove from heat and keep warm.

Toast spices: In a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat, add coffee (or tea), spices and citrus peels. Toast, tossing frequently, until fragrant. Carefully light ingredients with a blow torch or a match until just smoking (do not stir). When smoke dies down, put ingredients in a large glass jar. Add maple syrup and liquor.

Put jar in saucepan of warm water (don’t close the jar). Allow to steep until water bath is cool (a few hours). Strain before using.

Make the cocktail: In a mixing glass with ice, stir the bitters, maple syrup, bourbon, vermouth and gravy enhancer (if using). Strain over a glass with ice.

Notes from mixologist/mad scientist Aaron Wisniewski of Alice & the Magician:
Get creative with what you have in your pantry for these “garbage can” bitters. Nuts (even burned ones!), herb stems, old citrus peels, expired spices, fresh ginger, cranberries, rhubarb, lavender, dandelion root and burnt wood/firewood all add their own special flavor to your concoction.

This accelerated-infusion method of making bitters will be ready to use after a couple hours of steeping. Once covered, they last for about 1 year if stored in a cool, dark place. The flavors will intensify with time.

The gravy enhancer (or your own pan scrapings from Thanksgiving dinner!) add a unique umami note to the cocktail.

Recipe courtesy of Scraps

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