Published on March 27th, 2015 | by Gavin


American Whisky: Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Next to rum, bourbon is my spirit of choice. Whether neat or in an Old Fashioned, I can’t get enough of the smoky vanilla flavour associated with the American whisky. Within this extremely varied segment of the market, I have three firm favourites: Blanton’s Reserve, Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve.

My passion for cocktails, the Prohibition, and Woodford Reserve led me to enter a competition where the winner would have their very own cocktail on the bar menu of the luxury South Place Hotel in the City. In order to do this, we were given the brief to concoct up one of the classic American cocktails (i.e. Old Fashioned, Whisky Sour, Manhattan, or Julep) with our own unique twist. For such a monumental prize I’ve looked through the history books, done my research, and gone into the laboratory and come up with what I believe to be perfection (or the closest thing). Without further ado I present to you… the Manhattan Noir.

So why the Manhattan Noir?  Well I love the classic Manhattan as it doesn’t detract too much from the base spirit, and wanted to showcase what Woodford Reserve is all about. However, unlike the classic Manhattan, I’ve shook the establishment to the core by blending bourbon with another powerhouse, cognac. Don’t panic though, I’ve not gone completely bonkers, because quite frankly Woodford Reserve mixed with Remy Martin would ruin both beautifully crafted spirits. In fact I’ve used one of the newest and finest liqueurs on the shelf- Cointreau Noir, a blend of the world’s most famous triple sec and Remy Martin cognac. I experimented with using the original Cointreau, but I wanted to come up with a drink that is representative of the South Place Hotel- exclusive, on trend, and stylish.

My main issue with cocktail making at home is that there’s always at least one ingredient that 99 out of 100 ‘common folk’ wouldn’t be able to create (black tea infused vodka anyone?); so inevitably requires a trip to a good bar- a lot of effort just for a drink. Although this cocktail competition is for the drink to feature on the menu of a prestigious bar where sourcing unusual ingredients is an occupational hazard, I’ve designed the Manhattan Noir to be made with common ingredients so fans can enjoy replicating at home, so here’s the recipe:

Tropical Manhattan

Manhattan Noir


50ml Woodford Reserve, 40ml Cointreau Noir, four dashes of Angostura Bitters, orange peel.


Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes and stir for 90 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail goblet and garnish with the orange peel.

Happy Sipping!


PS: You may not hold a bottle of Angostura Bitters (RRP £10 /100ml) in your house, but I assure you it’s well worth owning a bottle as it can be used in so many drinks and even in dishes such as fresh scallops, cheese fondue, and banana cake.

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About the Author

Born and raised in Croydon, South London, Gavin is a lover of cocktails, a passionate foodie, and a self-proclaimed ‘dancing god’. A (relatively) normal guy that decided to start blogging about his experiences around the city he loves.

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