A classic Manhattan is a fine drink. In a crazed--and inspired--move, Larry Tressler, the executive chef of Holland House Bar and Refuge in Nashville, Tennessee, transforms the cocktail into a meal, simmering mussels in rye whiskey, vermouth and bitters. Although most of the alcohol evaporates during cooking, boozy remnants of a Manhattan linger in every bite. The mussels are great by themselves, but better still served alongside their namesake cocktail.
Recipe adapted from Larry Tressler, Holland House Bar and Refuge, Nashville, TN
Yield: 2 appetizer-size servings
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ pound mussels, beards removed
¼ cup rye whiskey (such as Jim Beam)
2 tablespoons dry Italian vermouth (such as Noilly Prat)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
½ cup vegetable stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
1 small baguette, sliced in half lengthwise and toasted
1. In a medium skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and mussels. Quickly and carefully add the whiskey, vermouth and bitters; be careful pouring in case the mixture flames up. Stir in the vegetable stock and butter. Season with salt and simmer until the mussels have opened, about 4 to 6 minutes.
2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the cheese and basil and serve immediately with the toasted baguette.