Black Manhattan: A Twist On a Classic

Classic Cocktail Twist: Manhattan

The Black Manhattan is one of my new favourite drinks.  If you are a cocktail person, you are most likely familiar with a classic Manhattan.  If you are not a cocktail person a classic Manhattan is Rye, Sweet Vermouth & Bitters.  It’s a very boozy drink, but absolutely delicious.  I love a classic Manhattan, but I have to say, lately I’ve definitely been preferring a Black Manhattan.

Black Manhattan Vs Classic Manhattan

So what’s the difference between a regular classic Manhattan & the Black Manhattan?

Manhattan Cocktail Black Manhattan Cocktail

As you can see, the only difference is swapping the vermouth for Averna.  As far as ingredients go, these drinks are VERY similar.  That said, don’t let it fool you, the flavour profile is completely different.  Aside from the dark complexion, the Averna gives the drink a more herbal/medicinal feel – but in a good way.  I like to make mine with a hint of sweetness ( I add a spoonful of Maraschino syrup).


2 oz Rye Whiskey (You can substitute with Bourbon but traditionally a Rye).

1 oz Averna Amaro

2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1 barspoon Luxardo Cherry Maraschino Syrup

*Garnish with 3 Luxardo Cherries.



Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.  Stir for 20 seconds.  Strain into coupe glass.  Garnish with 3 cherries.  Enjoy.

This drink will go down fast and smooth.  Don’t let that fool you. It is a boozy one.  Take your time, enjoy it.  That said, if it goes down too fast – no worries, make yourself another one…after all it’s only a few ingredients!



Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Review

Spoiler Alert – I decided to write this review because I was craving a sip of Blanton’s bourbon, but I didn’t have an open bottle.  As a general rule I only open a new bottle once I finish one of my open bottles.  I had about 1.5 ounces left of Jefferson’s, noticed I hadn’t reviewed it yet, and needed to clear some space on the bar shelf…so here it goes.

This is a bottle my sister got me for Christmas 2 years ago.  I had never had it previously, and I’ve been nursing this bottle for a while. Jefferson’s seems to sell for quite a premium here in Manitoba (i’m not sure why).  The bottle retails for $97.00 Canadian at the Manitoba Liquor Mart.

Jefferson’s Reserve

Date Reviewed: April 07, 2020

Atmosphere: In a Glencairn glass, neat at home during the covid 19 pandemic

Distillery: McLain & Kyne

Mash:  Unknown

Age: No Age Statement

Type: Bourbon

ABV%: 45.1%

Price I Paid: Zero – but it retails for $97.00 Canadian

Appearance:  Classic Amber colour, but more watered down than most.

Nose:  I found this bourbon to be extremely muted. It lacks the typical sweet vanilla/brown sugar scents that most are accustomed to with a bourbon.  The only thing that stands out is some oak/wood but even that is pretty tame.  After a few swirls, some VERY subtle hints of cherry cola come out, but again very faint.  This might be the least expressive nose of a bourbon on any bottle I’ve had over $20.

Palate:  The taste follows the nose.  The oak from the barrels is the dominant flavour profile.  It is very smooth, with no burn, but leaves a lot to be desired.  The second sip is a little better, some sweeter notes slightly poke through, but it’s not enough to capture my interest.

Finish: The smooth finish is definitely the best part of this bourbon.  No heat, no burn, just a nice easy finish.

Conclusions:  It’s a tame, easy to drink bourbon, but it lacks any real depth.  If this was a $40 bourbon, I’d say keep a bottle for the finish alone – but at almost $100 it’s a hard pass for me.  When you can get Bookers or Blanton’s for the same price it’s a no brainer.  That said I’ve heard some of the other Jefferson’s expressions are real good (Oceans for example) which I will definitely try.

Overall Score:  73/100


5 Things I Hope We Learn From Covid 19

Covid 19: Pandemic Lessons To Learn

Well, it’s Thursday night, I’m sipping on some Wild Turkey 101, I Just polished off some mini eggs, and I got to thinking about the future – post Covid19 (assuming there is a future after this mess).
Come on now – let’s keep this positive!

I started thinking the other night – perhaps this pandemic will change the way we as humans think about life, how we live, how we treat each other, and what we value.  The pessimist in me – tells me nothing will change – but I hope I’m wrong!  With that said, here are my top 5 things I HOPE, we as a society decide to change when this is all over!

Corona Virus: Positive Changes Moving Forward

 Universal Basic Income

This is usually a hot topic whenever it is brought up.  Most conservatives, older folk, and even myself when I was younger would argue that a UBI will reduce productivity, create a generation of lazy video game playing bums, and cost WAY too much.  As I’ve gotten older my opinion on a Universal Basic Income has definitely shifted.  First of all – who cares if “productivity” takes a dip.  The human race is more productive than at any time in history, life is short – we should spend it doing what we enjoy, helping people, not trying to spend every possible minute earning and hoarding as much cash as possible.  So we may not produce as many useless items we no longer need – but perhaps we now spend time doing things that are truly beneficial to society.  I can only speak for myself, but if I had a “safety net” or UBI to fall back on, and no worry about making mortgage payments, I would 100% take a paycut to switch careers and do something that I truly feel good about.  Perhaps I’d be a financial planner (who doesn’t make money selling his clients high cost mutual funds), or work for a non profit, a homeless shelter, etc.

Will everyone become a lazy video game playing slob?  Obviously not.  Sure some people may take advantage of the system, but that happens now.  Who cares.  A universal basic income would also reduce stress levels across the board, saving our health care and police services a TON of money.  Poverty rates would plummet, crime would go down, and most importantly we’d get to spend the very limited amount of time we have on this planet doing something we are truly passionate about, without having to worry about a roof over our heads, or feeding our kids.

The cost would be high.  Yea…it would. Nobody is denying that.  It’s not about a lack of money though, it’s about priorities.  We could cut military costs (the USA especially), healthcare budgets could come way down, less poverty, less stress, less strain on the system.  Police budgets are already way too high – less poverty/crime would be an easy argument to reduce these.  With a UBI, you could scrap: EI, OAS, CPP, Welfare and a myriad of other programs, plus all the administration costs associated with these programs.  At the very least we need to test a UBI on a large enough sample, for a long enough period of time and measure the results. Come on!

Permanent Increase In Working From Home

Hopefully a lot of companies realise that employees are more than capable and mature enough to work from home.  Working from home has a ton of benefits for both employee and employer:

  • Less office space needed/lower costs for employer
  • Breaks can be used to get stuff done around the house, more free time in evenings to spend with friends and family
  • Less people commuting – better for the environment.  To me, this is by far the biggest benefit.  Imagine 20-30+% of the workforce all of a sudden starts working from home.  What would that look like in every major city in the world. 30% less cars on the road, twice a day, five days a week.
  • The crazy thing is, a LOT of companies could easily allow employees to work from home – with zero change in productivity (in fact, employees may be happier, work harder and have less turnover), yet for no reason other than tradition, they continue to force employees to drive into an office every day.
Universal Healthcare

I’m Canadian, most of my readers are as well…but if Covid 19 teaches the world ONE thing for the future, I hope it’s that illness, viruses, cancer, etc are NOT YOUR FAULT.  You should never have to stress about paying for something like this, and NOBODY should ever go broke for getting sick.  Covid 19 is showing the world just how ridiculous it is having health insurance tied to employment.


Online Voting

I saw some people posting about how senators may be able to vote on bills remotely due to Covid 19.  Here is an idea…how about give EVERYONE the option to vote online in elections.  Voter turnout in North America is pathetic (partly due to certain parties making it difficult for certain people to vote).  That said, it’s 2020, you can seriously do EVERYTHING online.  Just let us fuckin vote online*.
*Regular voting would still be open, for those without access to internet, computers, etc.

Wash Your Fuckin’ Hands

I cannot believe this made the list…but hopefully this whole washing your hands thing catches on. I cannot believe how many people didn’t do this before (people in the washroom at Jets games I’m looking at you).  Hopefully everyone now realizes that washing your hands is actually super easy, and kills those pesky germs!


Lastly, hopefully we learn electing a senile, narcissistic, petty reality TV star which controls the world’s largest economy, military, and has the biggest global influence is a terrible fuckin’ idea.  Unfortunately, based on the fact Joe Fuckin’ Biden is going to be the person running against Trump….i’d say we are fucked regardless.


On that positive note – I’m going to pour myself one more bourbon, jump in a vanilla scented bubble bath and get some sleep.




Weller 12 Year Bourbon Review

Just a reminder: Each review will follow the same template, and include a score.  Please enjoy responsibly 🙂

For those unaware, Weller 12 bourbon has become extremely hard to find, sells at a huge premium to MSRP on the secondary market, and gives all the bourbon bro’s boners if they ever find a bottle.  I had never tried it, and a year ago, I was lucky enough to score some at MSRP (so I picked up 3 bottles for 59.00 each).  I bought into the hype, I had to see if it really was “Poor a poor man’s Pappy” as they say….

Weller 12 Bourbon Review

Weller 12 Year

Date Reviewed: February 26, 2020

Atmosphere: In a Glencairn glass, neat at home.

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Mash:  Unspecified – but same Mash & Ageing as Van Winkle Lot B

Age: 12 years

Type: Bourbon

ABV%: 45%

Price I Paid: $59.00 Canadian

Appearance:  Amber, Burnt Honey

Nose:  No dominant, or overpowering scents.  Slight brown sugar and oak. A hint of dried orange peel – all very muted.  This particular bottle has been open about a year.

Palate:  Oak and a general dry woodiness is what stands out.  Thick and oily mouthfeel – it coats the roof of the mouth and makes you feel like you need to chug a glass of water.  Second sip is softer and sweeter. Vanilla and brown sugar poke through.

Finish: Long and thick. Quickly goes from woody and dry to soft and sweet.

Conclusions:  Each sip is better then the last.  The problem with this bourbon is the hype.  Overall it’s a good – even a great bourbon, but you typically can’t just go buy it – and if you can -usually you are paying 2-4 x MSRP.  If you can find it for $60 buy it, and you will enjoy it – but don’t buy into the hype and spend $200 on it.  There are much better bottles in the $60-100 range.

I would buy this again at MSRP,  hell I’d even buy a couple just to trade.  I originally bought 3 (before I had even tried it), and ended up trading 2 of them for much more than MSRP.  The hype is real…

Overall Score:  83/100*

*If it was readily available for 59.00, I’d probably rate it around 85-86.  The scarcity, and the fact it is so overrated brings it down a few points for me.