MxMo: Bourbon — Purosangue Cocktail

by Stevi on June 16, 2008

in Bitters,Mixology Monday,Original,Vermouth,Whisky

MxMo Logo It’s time for Bourbon this Mixology Monday, thanks to the fellers at Scofflaw’s Den. This was one MxMo that Bryan, my chief taste-tester, was very eagerly awaiting.

As always, I used MxMo as a justification to buy a nice bottle. This time it was Ridgemont Reserve 1792. This is a very smooth bourbon, a definite rival to Woodford Reserve, which is currently my favorite mixing Bourbon. Named after the year of Kentucky statehood, this is an 8 year Bourbon that comes in at a hearty 93.7 proof.

My initial plan was to experiment with my tried and true Manhattan recipe to see how different vermouths and bitters worked with the Bourbon. I use a 2 : 1 Bourbon to vermouth ratio, with two dashes of bitters.

My house sweet vermouth is Cinzano. Paired with Angostura bitters, this is a solid, reliable Manhattan – I wouldn’t send it back, that’s for sure. But it’s not spectacular.

Purosangue Cocktail I then tried the 1792 and Cinzano with Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Aged bitters. On initial taste, this didn’t really work. The bitters seem a bit confused. But as the drink warmed a bit, the tasted really began to blend nicely into quite a nice cocktail.

I then switched to Vya vermouth. At $25 a bottle, it’s nearly five times the cost of the Cinzano, so I don’t splurge on it that often. And in this case, it doesn’t seem worth the expense with the 1792 and Angostura bitters. Bryan thought he actually preferred the Cinzano and Angostura over the Vya version.

But this is where we found how big a difference bitters can make. Switching to whiskey barrel aged bitters made this a stellar cocktail. This was far and away our favorite Manhattan…

…until I tried a variation I’ve played with before. Instead of the vermouth and bitters, I use Amaro Ramazzotti. This tonic liqueur includes anise, orange peel, gentian root, rhubarb and cinnamon. I’ve tried this before with Woodford Reserve, and we really enjoyed it. It really shone with the Ridgemont Reserve. This was the hands down winner for the evening, and may even replace the Manhattan as a favorite go-to drink.

When I initially came up with this mix, we were going to call it the Little Italy, until I read Keith Waldbauer’s post about an existing cocktail with the name. Instead, I’m chosing to call this the Purosangue. Italian for Thoroughbred, the name marries the Kentucky Bourbon and Italian Amaro.

Purosangue Cocktail
2 oz bourbon (Ridgemont Reserve 1792)
1 oz Amaro Ramazzotti

stir in mixing tin with ice
strain into cocktail glass
garnish with Bourbon-soaked cherry

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

ikkyu2 June 16, 2008 at 7:13 pm

The Bob-Tailed Nag. I don’t know why I didn’t send this to you sooner. It’s fantastic and I pretty much guarantee you’ll like it. The Barolo Chinato is hard to find, but the place you’re getting all this other stuff probably stocks it.

I eventually decided I do not like Angostura bitters. Don’t like the overpowering gentian taste. I use Fee Bros orange bitters in both my Manhattans and my Martinis, which is rather more canonical than I knew when I started doing it.

When I make a Manhattan I like a twist, and I split the vermouth evenly between Noilly Prat and Cinzano. Cinzano is all bitter almond and anise; the Noilly Prat has bright cinnamon and clove notes that aren’t in the CZ.


frederic June 17, 2008 at 7:33 am

The Purosangue is very similar to the Black Manhattan (2 oz rye, 1 oz amaro, 1 d Angostura, cherry garnish) which was my go-to after work drink for a while.


Rick January 20, 2009 at 7:04 pm

This is so simple and so wonderfully complex. The amaro and bourbon bring out each others’ best qualities. Almost making a new flavor entirely. Yum.

Frederic, yours sounds wonderful too.


Michael May 26, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I had a wonderful drink from the bartender at Nopa in S.F. Recently. You should give it a try.

Equal parts
Scotch (experiment with whiskies)
Sweet vermouth (Boissiere)

Then hold a lit match up the the drink and squeeze the essence from a large shaving of orange rind into the glass. This will give a delicate toasted orange flavor.

Really quite good. My new fav.


Stevi May 27, 2009 at 9:53 am

Michael, That definitely sounds worth giving a try! Thanks for stopping by.


Dan Chadwick January 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I came across this looking for amaro-based cocktails. The trio of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari is known as a Boulevardier when made with bourbon (or perhaps rye).

I had not thought to try it with scotch, but I think it has great promise. I could imagine either a blended scotch or a nice single malt — Balvenie maybe? Even an Islay would be possible, and very intriguing.

I also make Manhattan variations with various amari. I haven’t had Ramazzotti for a while and shall try the Purosangue Cocktail. Thanks for the inspiration.


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