It was 7pm on a rainy Sunday night in April (2017) when I got a text from my friend Anthony saying that he didn’t even leave his house yet. We were planning on grabbing dinner at one of our favorite beer spots, and then make our way to the East Village for a little “research” at what was to become our favorite cocktail spot, Death & Co.
After receiving the text, I began to realize that a 9pm arrival at Death & Co. looked more like an 11pm arrival. If we were to follow through with the plan, I’d surely hate myself when I woke up for my office job in the morning with a headache. I tried to bail, but with a few kind, well-chosen words, Ant convinced me otherwise.
By the time we arrived- mind you- we were already a few bourbons in. We got to the door and expressed that we purchased their book, and made the trip to learn from their cocktail program.
We were escorted to a couple of seats at their dimly-lit bar and began to sort through their massive cocktail list. 2 or 3 drinks became 4 or 5, and before we knew it, we were lost outside somewhere in the East Village.
We called an Uber.
On the way home, we recounted our steps by making a list of everything we observed- from the environment, to bar equipment, and our favorite cocktails. There was one that stood out.
“What was in that Manhattan spin-off again?” I asked.
“Um… Rye. Rye and Bourbon… And Sweet Vermouth.” Ant answered.
“But it wasn’t a normal Manhattan, was it? What made it so different?”
We were so clueless that we began to argue what was in it. We knew that it was sweet, layered, and balanced with an extended yet eventually clean, distinct finish. We mindlessly began to shout out ingredients.
“Crème de Cacao!”
We left the Uber with a long list of ideas, and promised that we would try to incorporate as many as we could in the weeks to come.
Remembering the Cocktail
We walked into work on the following Friday and attempted to create our interpretation of our favorite cocktail with Dad’s Hat Vermouth Finish Rye whiskey, Clyde Mays Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, Tawney Port, a dash of Campari, a dash Crème de Cacao, and a couple dashes of Angostura (only if the guest especially fancies bitters).
“What Shall we name it?” I asked.
In typical ‘Ant-fashion,’ he answered, “Death’s Remedy.”
About The Ingredients:
Rye- We chose Dad’s Hat Vermouth Finish Rye Whiskey because it provides the bite that you expect from a Rye, but also has a distinct, full-bodied characteristic from the Vermouth finish (perfect for Manhattans).
Bourbon- Clyde Mays Straight Bourbon is a classic bourbon. Slightly sweet, but not overwhelming. We didn’t want to feature a sweeter bourbon because we wanted the Rye to lead, and the cordials to supply the sweetness.