full monte cocktail on the Rocks with a Cherry Garnish
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Full Monte Cocktail

The Full Monte is a twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail, substituting the sweet vermouth for Amaro Montenegro and flipping the ratio on its head. Keep reading to find out more about the cocktail, and how you can make it yourself at home. 

Full Monte Background

One of the staple classics of any bartender’s repertoire, the Manhattan cocktail is a legend of epic proportions. Few other drinks can touch the pedestal on which it rests, and rightly so. The perfect ratio of rye whiskey to vermouth stimulates the senses and excites the palette, begging you to order one more. 

But what happens when you flip that ratio on its head? The traditional 2:1 rye to sweet vermouth is something that you shouldn’t mess with, right? Wrong. The Reverse Manhattan has become a legend in its own right, flaunting the aromatic, mouth-tingling sensation of the vermouth in the forefront.

But when someone in Nashville decided to substitute the sweet vermouth for Amaro Montenegro, the Full Monte was born. 

Amaro Montenegro might be a spirit you haven’t heard of, but you should definitely invest in a bottle of it. On its own, the slightly bitter Italian drink has a strong aroma of orange peels and vanilla. It’s blended with over 40 different botanicals, the combination of which is a closely guarded secret by the manufacturer. 

When mixed with a spicy and zesty Rye whiskey and a dash of Angostura Bitters, Amaro Montenegro really has a chance to shine. The flavors combine perfectly, melding into a bittersweet explosion that you can drink well into the night. 

While most Full Montes cocktails are made with rye whiskey, the traditional whiskey used for a Manhattan, many bartenders prefer using bourbon whiskey. Bourbon tempers the bitterness of the Amaro in ways that a rye simply cannot, due to it being much sweeter rather than spicy.

If you aren’t a fan of bitterness, then it could be that this combination is better suited to your palette. 

No matter which version of the Full Monte you prefer, the Angostura Bitters are an absolute must. Just like in a Manhattan, bitters add some complexity to an otherwise simple drink.

When they’re used with Amaro Montenegro as the base spirit, bitters help to bring out the otherwise hard to notice botanical flavors that the drink has to offer. 

Full Monte Ingredients

Again, if you prefer something a little sweeter, substitute the rye whiskey for bourbon. Also, experiment with your preferred amount of bitters as well. Every palette is different, and some like a bitters-forward cocktail more than others. 

  • Amaro Montenegro – 2 ounces (60ml)
  • Rye Whiskey (or Bourbon) – 1 ounce (30ml)
  • Angostura Bitters – 1 dash
  • Orange Peel
  • Garnish – Luxardo Maraschino Cherry/bourbon-soaked cherry

How to Make the Full Monte

  1. Add all liquid ingredients to a mixing glass over cracked ice. Stir until visibly chilled or dilution is apparent. 
  2. Single strain into a rocks glass over ice.
  3. Express the oil from the orange peel over the glass and line the rim, then discard.
  4. Skewer your cherry of choice and use it as a garnish. 
  5. Enjoy!

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