The Royalton's Albert Pero Extols the Virtues of the Rye Manhattan
Today's call comes by way of Albert "Albie" Pero of The Royalton (44 West 44th Street; 212-869-4400).
What's your call drink?
I try to order something appropriate to the place I am in, and because I get out of work fairly late, I see more pubs than anything else. Knowing where you are when you order is of the utmost importance -- you wouldn't order spaghetti and meatballs in a Mexican joint, would you?! So that being said, I am a Guinness after work kinda guy first and foremost. My call in a cocktail bar is usually a rye Manhattan, especially if there is Carpano Antica vermouth in the house.
What is it about this drink that you like so much?
I first fell in love with Guinness while working in an Irish pub here in the city. I was a little wet behind the ears at the time and didn't know the proper six steps of pouring that bitter treat. An old Irish gentleman just happened to be sitting at my bar one night and he ran me through the proper steps and some of the history of the product and really got me thinking about it. I did a bit of research on my own and then started really paying attention to which bartenders did it correctly. I eventually found three bars where I can get a great pint. It has a delicious chocolatey-coffee type flavor and the perfect body. The bitter finish is what separates that beer from all others in my opinion. Somebody really got it right when they darkened that barley during the kilning process.
If I am going out for a cocktail, my order is completely different. I am a whiskey cocktail lover right now -- all types of whiskey, but especially bourbon or rye cocktails. The spice of the rye blended masterfully with the vanilla and earthiness of the Carpano with just a touch of a bitter finish emphasizing the wood in the whiskey is just a great way to spend 30 minutes sipping and chatting. I really fell in love with the Manhattan recently after teaching a class about whiskey. The simplicity and beauty of this classic really gets mangled by those who don't know how to do it right. We complicate our lives so much, getting something simply stirred to perfection is a delicious, relaxing treat.
Would you give us your rye Manhattan recipe?
There's a great way to remember how to make an amazing Manhattan...the area code in Manhattan is the secret: 212. Start with two ounces of your favorite rye whiskey, add one ounce of your favorite sweet vermouth, and two dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir those ingredients with ice as to not agitate but only to chill. Strain into a coupe or pour it on the rocks (or one giant rock if you are so inclined) and garnish with a cherry or a twist -- I'm a twist guy as the lemon oil is one of my favorite smells in the world. Enjoy!