The Preakness Cocktail

Sure, the Derby has come and gone, juleps and all, but there is still a serious season of pony racing to come this summer. Having grown up near Saratoga, I'm well adept at picking out a winning horse when I see one — and I look at Manhattans the same way. Sitting down for a drink recently at Tribeca's Silver Lining, I was reminded of one of my favorites, the Preakness, which could look like any other Manhattan at first glance, save for it's secret weapon: Benedictine.

Benedictine liqueur is something that is shrouded in mystery itself; it is purported to have been created by a monk in the 15th Century and somehow the recipe was lost until a Frenchman rediscovered it in his art collection after the French Revolution. However, some say this story could be a complete fabrication, implemented as a brilliant marketing tool by the inventor when he created it in the mid-1800s.

Either way, the secret recipe of this cognac-based liqueur, with it's 27 botanicals and spices, has been highly guarded. But, thankfully, we can find it easy available today, though I doubt many would think to include it as an important facet of their home cocktail bar.

When combining Antica vermouth, Templeton's gorgeous rye whiskey, and Benedictine, the Preakness (for my money) is one of the most regal Manhattan's as you could ask for. The quality of a drink also speaks for itself when you consider that each of these ingredients could stand alone as solidly as they work together. While it can seem pricey, a quarter ounce of Bene goes a long way and you will know it's worth once you add it's delicious secrets to your Singapore Sling's, Vieux Carre's, and now, Preakness.

The Preakness Cocktail
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  • 2 ounces Templeton Rye Whiskey
  • 3/4 ounces Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 ounces Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  1. Combine ingredients in a chilled mixing glass and stir with ice for 15 seconds.
  2. Strain stirred ingredients into chilled coupe and serve. Garnish with a brandied cherry
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