Monte Carlo Cocktail

By Robert Hess

It seems like these days everybody is trying to come up with “variations” on some particular cocktail, Pomegranate Martinis, Raspberri Manhattans, Strawberry Mojitos… you get the point. If a drink is a Manhattan, call it a Manhattan, if it isn’t don’t. Case in point, the “Monte Carlo”. This drink is essentially a Manhattan in which you have simply switched out the sweet vermouth, for something a little sweeter, and a little more complex, Benedictine. If you like Manhattans, you’ll probably like this drink as well.

Recipe

Ingredients

2 oz rye whiskey

1/2 oz Benedictine

2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Instructions

Stir with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Comments
mdoudoroff 1 Jun 2009
7:19 am

This drink seems like a direct interpolation between the Manhattan and the Vieux Carre.

Tony Harion - Mixing Bar - Brazil 1 Jun 2009
8:21 am

That

Kimberly Patton-Bragg 1 Jun 2009
8:29 am

Sounds simply delicious! Will make one tonight after I come home from a seminar with Angus Winchester. I think us Bartender/mixologists are still very much like the pharmacists of yore and today ( dear god, I used yore? - too much BBC ) in which the learning is constant and necessary. I suspect our trade is a lot more fun though - and tastier.

Garretto 1 Jun 2009
10:55 am

Very similar to the “Derby” cocktail—- just a 1/4 oz of Benedictine and a spicy Rye away.
And of course, I’ll try this too.

Robert Hess 1 Jun 2009
11:31 am

“Back in the day” it appears as though folks would make very slight changes to a grand cocktail (such as the Manhattan), and then call it by a different name. Compare that to today, when people make WILD changes to a popular cocktail (like that Martini) and try to ride it’s coat-tails by borrowing its name.

Look through any cocktail book from the early 1900’s, and you will find lots of cocktails which are essentially a Martini in recipe, but not in name.

As for the Monte Carlo… it is indeed extremely similar to the Derby but Benedictine being such a robust ingredient, the proportion difference here is going to result in something noteably different. And also appears to show some level of “shared genes” between the Manhattan and the Vieux Carre.

U-Place Mike 1 Jun 2009
8:13 pm

This is a delicious cocktail!  I love Manhattans so this was a no brainer.  I had all of the ingredients ready to go so when my wife got home from work so we could enjoy a Monte Carlo.  We liked the “spiciness” the Benedictine added to the Bourbon (no rye in the house).  Some would say that this is more of a winter time drink but I am a seasonally inclusive imbiber so it is no big deal.  Drink what you like when you like.  Thanks Robert!

Michael "Michaelogist" Kelley 22 Jun 2009
10:17 am

Robert,

I already own a bottle of B&B.  In general, would that be an acceptable substitute for Benedictine?

Robert Hess 22 Jun 2009
11:26 am

B&B is a mixture of half brandy and half Benedictine. It has the general character of Benedictine, but not quite at the same “volume”. So it will work in a pinch, but if you like the results, then I’d suggest looking for a bottle of Benedictine and picking that up. After all, with Benedictine you can make a B&B (just add brandy) as well as any cocktail that calls for Benedictine. But with B&B you can essentially just make… well… B&B. :->

Suh 14 Jan 2014
1:55 pm

Hello! Does anybody know the origins of this cocktail? Google and I are at a loss!

christians 28 Jan 2014
2:36 pm

I found this 1903 recipe:

MONTE CARLO PUNCH.
Juice of one whole orange.
1 spoonful of sugar.
1 pony glass of brandy.
1 or 2 dashes of benedictine.

This punch was originally prepared at Monte Carlo, the world-renowned gambling resort, and immediately became popular with the habitues, and the formula was brought to the United States by an American gentleman, and it has since become extremely popular with the members of the most exclusive clubs in the country.

This could be a precursor, given that brandy was subbed with rye in a few recipes around this time due to the lack of brandy.

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