Cocktail Hour: Baltimore's Lucky Charm
Cocktail Hour: Baltimore's Lucky CharmFebruary 1, 2013
The Baltimore Ravens have already packed their pads and made their way down to New Orleans, where they will face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in Super Bowl 47. It seemed only fitting to send them off with a cocktail, so I turned to Doug Atwell, the bar manager at Rye, a revivalist cocktail bar in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood.
Fells Point is down on the water, just east of the Inner Harbor. It’s still a beer-and-a-shot-of-whiskey kind of place, but Rye has found itself a home along the cobblestone streets near the Broadway Market. One imbiber at a time, it is reintroducing classics like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds as well as a new array of craft cocktails.
Atwell wanted to enlist a classic Baltimore recipe for the occasion. So, he created the Diamondback No. 5, which, perhaps not coincidentally, bears the same number as the jersey of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
A variant of the Diamondback, a historic Baltimore cocktail named after the long-departed Diamondback Lounge at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, the original formula, as published in Ted Saucier’s Bottoms Up (1951), calls for Old Schenley rye whiskey blended with applejack and yellow chartreuse.
Atwell swapped out the Old Schenley in favor of Pikesville Rye, which has a deeper local connection. Long a favorite of those beer-and-a-belt drinkers in Fells Point’s dive bars, Pikesville was the last rye whiskey to be distilled in the state of Maryland. The final barrel from the old Majestic Distillery was rolled into the warehouse back in 1972, but the brand is still on the market today--distilled way off in Kentucky but consumed almost exclusively in Baltimore.
For a nod to the Super Bowl’s host city, Atwell borrowed elements from the Sazerac, New Orleans’ signature rye cocktail. Rather than using the Sazerac’s traditional absinthe and Peychaud bitters, Atwell looked to more local Baltimore influence. “I opted to rinse the glass with Art in the Age's Root liqueur, the flavor profile of which resembles a recreated recipe for Abbott's Bitters.” (Abbott’s was a popular brand of bitters manufactured in Baltimore from the late nineteenth century through the 1950s.)
Perhaps taking a nip of this Baltimore-inspired cocktail during the big game will be just the good luck the Ravens fans need to bring the Lombardi Trophy home to Charm City.
Diamondback No. 5
1 oz. Pikesville rye whiskey
3/4 oz. Laird's bonded apple brandy
3/4 oz. yellow Chartreuse
Rinse of Root liqueur
Combine rye, brandy, and Chartreuse in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Rinse a chilled rocks glass with Root liqueur, discarding excess. Place sugarcube in glass with a splash of water and muddle. Strain liquor into rocks glass and garnish with a large swath of lemon peel.