Bourbon And Chocolate Bitters Collide To Make The Left Hand Cocktail

If you've seen the movie Donnie Brasco, you may recall the character Lefty Ruggiero played by Al Pacino. The American mobster was the inspiration for the left hand cocktail, a spinoff of a classic Negroni and a Manhattan that offers smooth sips of bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth with a few dashes of chocolate bitters. Served strained and cold in a coupe glass and garnished with brandied cherries, this imaginative rich sipper perhaps honors the fact that those of us who are left-handed have a tendency towards being more creative. Of course, in reality, it doesn't matter which hand you drink it with, this is a delicious intoxicating mix in its own right.

We have New York City bartender Sam Ross to thank for this spruced-up Boulevardier cocktail. His smart inclusion of chocolate bitters helps build a drink that pushes the more decadent flavors of the recipe to the front and center of the show. Cocoa bitters build layers of flavor and texture by inviting dark, rich notes of cacao and spices to the boozy concoction. Even a splash can warm up recipes, and as is the case with the left hand cocktail, can buff out some of the harder edges of punchier spirits.

Left has never tasted so right

When mixing the drink recipe for yourself at home, experiment with the kinds of bourbon you use to make the left hand cocktail. Different bourbons can offer varying flavor profiles, some leaning heavier in the spice category, with others giving softer notes of vanilla, fruit, and sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Wheated bourbons can pour left hand cocktails that deliver a sweeter palate, or if you'd prefer a drink with a bit more edge, reach for a woodsy or nutty-tasting bourbon made from malted barley to complement the spicy accents tucked into those chocolatey cocoa bitters.

The drink is really enhanced by being topped off with the juicy bites of chocolate-covered cherries. If this sounds appealing, then the left hand cocktail could be your next drink to try, regardless of which hand you use to pick up a pen. Enjoy your bourbon-based cocktail paired with a square of cherry chocolate and make a toast to Al Pacino's acting career as you sip.