Manhattan State of Mind

In the last few years, Barrel Proof managing partner Liam Deegan has watched Manhattan variations named for different New York neighborhoods emerge. He wanted to create one for his bar, and thus was born the “Lower Garden.” Liam appreciates that Barrel Proof is both “a whiskey destination for whiskey nerds” and “a neighborhood bar with lots of familiar faces.” During COVID, the staff really missed that neighborhood vibe. When they first re-opened, they could only offer table service and Liam remembers, “It seemed stuffy.” In particular, he missed something common in New Orleans: strangers sitting next to each other on a bar stool, and not leaving as strangers anymore. “The first few times after we reopened and people sat next to each other at the bar, it was pretty important.” This month, join Liam on a stool at Barrel Proof, have a drink, and meet a stranger. 


  1. If you are drinking low proof for January, you can swap the ratios of the rye and vermouth for a less boozy drink.
  2. The quality of each is  important to the final result. The brands given are ideal for the cocktail. If you can’t find Amaro CioCiaro, Montenegro is a good substitute. Whatever you do, don’t swap out the Tempus Fugit. It’s a really nice imported Creme de cacao and much better than other options.
  3. For a slightly different drink, add .75 oz of lemon juice, and about a .25 oz more of creme de cacao, making it a Scofflaw variation. This is a great colder weather drink when you still want some bright citrus.

Lower Garden

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2 ounces Bonded Rye

1 ounce Dry Vermouth, (ideally Dolin dry)

½ ounce Amaro CioCiaro

½ ounce Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

Stir in a mixing glass with ice, and strain into a chilled coupe, with an expressed lemon peel, discarded.