I have always been a fan of how simply and successfully The Manhattan can be varied. Swap the Rye for Rum and you'll still have success. The vermouth can be substituted for almost any other fortified wine or it can be split with nearly any amari with wonderful results. Phil Ward's Manhattan Transfer (Rye, Ramazotti, Dry Vermouth and Orange Bitters) is a shining example of this fact. While experimenting in the lab earlier today I found myself using the Manhattan Transfer as a jumping off point. After a few variations I landed on what I am calling The New Jersey Transit. This cocktail has none of the classic manhattan ingredients but it couldn't be described as anything other than a variation on the classic. Here's what you need to make one:

  • 2 Ounces Laird's Bonded Applejack
  • 1 Ounce Dry Vermouth (I like Dolin)
  • .75 Ounces Zucca Rabarbaro
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters (I like Angostura)
  • Some Ice
  • A Mixing Glass
  • A Barspoon
  • A Julep Strainer
  • Jiggers (1oz./2oz. and .5oz/.75oz)
  • A Chilled Cocktail Coupe
  • An Orange Twist

Combine the Applejack, Zucca, Dry Vermouth and Orange Bitters in the mixing glass. Top the mixing glass up with ice and stir to chill and dilute. Using your Julep Strainer, pour the cocktail into the chilled Coupe. Grab your orange twist and express the oils over the top of the cocktail then discard the twist. There you have it. A simple variation on a variation of a classic.