In my previous post I revealed my untutored astonishment that there are so many versions, or personalities, of the Trilby cocktail, and focused on the vermouth version. I was prepping a Manhattan the other evening, and it seemed the obvious opportunity to check out Trilby’s bourbon alter ego.

Bourbon Trilby Cocktail

The Bourbon Trilby

  • 2 oz. Bourbon (Bulleit)
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange.

This is, of course, a Manhattan with orange bitters instead of Angostura. As noted in the previous post, Jamie Boudreau traced this version back to the 1935 Old Mr. Boston’s Official Bartenders Guide. Compared to the standard Manhattan, the bitters substitution makes it seem lighter and sweeter, and much less earthy. The Trilby is an acceptable bourbon cocktail, but I missed the complexity and spiciness that Angostura brings to the party in a proper Manhattan; with that in mind, the Bulleit seemed to be just the whiskey for this drink, with its extra bit of rye-ish spiciness.