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Gathering Branch

by Warren Bobrow, Wild Table editor, food writer and cocktail whisperer


What is branch? Well for one thing, it’s the basis of cocktail history in a glass. A specific kind of hand-held history, as fresh as the driven snow, as sprightly as the first tips of mint protruding from the ground. As sweet as the bourbon, always rye, that a small amount will kiss. The delicate swish of the finger to the glass to mix.

Branch is essential to the fabrication of the perfect cocktail. Is there really any other way to mix a drink?

Evidently yes. I just created a new drink. It’s called a Three Penny Opera. Based on the classic Manhattan cocktail, the “TPO” has the addition of Michter’s Single Barrel Rye Whiskey, Luxardo Cherries and Liqueur Fabriquee Par les Peres Chartreux (a really old Chartreuse-diffusion from France). The composition is as follows:

Three Penny Opera

I’m living proof of its potency … Bertoldt Brecht never had it so good.

  • 2 (or more shots) of rye whiskey (my rye of choice is Tuthilltown)
  • 1 shot Chartreuse VEP* 108 proof (Hooofa!!!)
  • 1 shot sweet vermouth (such as Vya from Andrew Quady in California)
  • Freshly cracked ice
  • 3 Luxardo cherries with juice — just a splash
  1. Combine ingredients, except for cherries, in a cocktail shaker. Strain into fresh ice-filled crystal glass. Add three Luxardo cherries (essential or make your own) and the splash of juice from the cherries.
  2. Toast your friends by offering them a glass first. Then make yourself one.

Garnish with brandied fresh cherries or Luxardo's gourmet variety. If the ingredients in your jar of maraschinos include Red 40, put it down. Cherries shouldn't be dyed red.