Cold rain outside, dark gray skies, I needed something warm and rich and mellow to ease me into a good night. And I thought of this cocktail recipe from Greg Best called Rhythm and Soul, a drink that’s as smooth as Otis Redding, as rapturous as Al Green, as… OK, I hate the forced metaphors, too… it’s just a damn great cocktail. He calls it halfway between a Sazerac and a Manhattan, which captures the taste pretty well.
Best’s version calls for French absinthe, rye whiskey, Averna, and Carpano Antica. My retread this night went with Herbsaint instead of the absinthe, Sazerac rye, Amaro CioCiaro instead of the Averna, and Coccchi Vermouth di Torino instead of the Carpano Antica. It’s amazing either way.
First you get the anise/fennel punch in the nose, then a rich, deep, cinnamon and clove whiskey base note, then a bright herbal high note that goes on and on like Whitney Houston digging in hard on the national anthem. It’s rich, complex, multi-layered, all those things that make you sit back and just say… damn that’s good. Like Booker T & the MGs laying down Green Onion, with Al Green and Otis Redding clapping time and crooning along in the background. Whitney’s just taking it in, smiling and nodding. That’s some rhythm and soul.
Rhythm & Soul, Redux
Inspired by Greg Best’s Rhythm & Soul (as in, basically this is the same recipe, with the closest ingredients I had on hand!)
1 bar spoon Herbsaint (or absinthe, or pastis if you must)
2oz rye whiskey
1/2oz Amaro CiaCiaro (or Averna, or similar)
1/2oz Italian sweet vermouth (Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Carpano Antica or similar)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon peel for garnish
1. Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice. Let it chill for a bit, then pour in the Herbsaint and roll around to fully coat.
2. In a separate mixing glass with ice cubes, stir the rye, amaro, vermouth, and bitters to mix and chill. Discard Herbsaint and ice from rocks glass, then strain the mixing glass contents into the chilled rocks glass. Twist the lemon peel over the drink to release the lemon oil. Discard lemon peel and enjoy, or toss it in the glass if you’re feeling it.