Instead of hitting the Black Friday sales today (and let’s face it, it’s slim picking at this point since they all started on Monday anyways), let’s hit the home bar and think ahead towards the next several weeks. It’s going to be busy… you should have some cocktails ready.
Now, I named this spin on a Black Manhattan “Black Christmas” because it’s mostly a Black Manhattan with a touch of Allspice Liqueur, which is pretty much Christmas in a bottle. I did not name it to coincide with the remake of Black Christmas that is being released in a few weeks. If anything, I may have had the original Black Christmas movie in my head when naming it, not a remake, let’s be clear on this.
And this drink really is the brooding, moody sister to your classic Manhattan, except in a holiday sweater. The baking spices from the allspice liqueur provide a warm finish to the drink, which is a bit spicy from the rye at the start. The bittersweet Averna lends a nice balance to that spiciness (If you can’t find Averna near you, choose an amaro that leans a little on the sweeter side and not too vegetal. Ramazzotti would also work here.) Those baking spices give this inky drink an unexpected extra layer as well, which I appreciate. If you remember to add a brandied cherry then you’re really in for a treat.
And the best part of all this? It’s bottled with a water dilution so it just needs to chill and it’s ready to serve. No ice needed! No stirring! No fuss! Just what you need around the holidays to give you a few extra minutes of peace.
One thing to note: if you can wait a few weeks, age it all in the fridge. Letting it sit for about 4 weeks really allows the flavors to intermingle and I found the mouthfeel to be extra velvety. However, if you can’t wait, it’s great the same day as well. Just make sure it’s chilled well first.
Black Christmas Bottled Cocktail
8 ounces Rye
4 ounces Averna
2 ounces Allspice Liqueur (can’t find it where you are? MAKE IT!)
4 dashes Angostura bitters, or another aromatic bitters
4 dashes orange bitters
2 ounces water
brandied cherry garnish, optional
Combine all the ingredients in a large, spouted mixing glass, like Pyrex, that can accommodate at least 16 ounces, stir to combine, and then funnel into a swing top bottle. Store refrigerated until ready to serve. For one cocktail, portion out ~3.25 ounces into a cocktail coupe. Optionally top with a brandied cherry.