Chauncey Olcott – Recipe from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’

1 part Italian Vermouth

1 part Dry Sherry 

6 parts Irish Whisky


Chauncey Olcott was a famous singer, songwriter and actor of Irish descent. He made a name for himself in the 1890’s through until the middle of prohibition in the US, when he was plucked from London and put in a popular stage show on Broadway in New York. He was famous for his Irish American roles, and even had a movie made about him in the late 1940’s.

Knowing all of this its no surprise that Irish Whisky makes an appearance in this drink.

I’ve always found Irish to be fairly similar to Bourbon in flavour, being a little sweeter and smoother than scotch, with none of those big peaty flavours.

Times are a changing. 100 years ago Irish whisky was the biggest style in the UK, far surpassing Scotch in volume, however their only real overseas market was the US, and when prohibition hit in 1919 it almost wiped out Irish whisky entirely. A few of the bigger brands joined forces, slimmed down their operations and managed to weather the storm, its only been recently however that Ireland as a producer is properly starting to grow, and in 2016 it was the fastest growing spirit in the world, with more than one distillery experiencing double digit growth every year for the last ten years.

I really enjoyed this drink, the sherry really lifts the drink, making it almost light an airy, with a nice bite from the whisky tempered with just enough sweetness from the vermouth and oloroso sherry I used, the sherry lingers through the whole drink and leaves a nice taste to balance the length given by the whisky. This is a very interesting take on a Manhattan, and well worth trying.