Considering The Man O’ War

Clarke Conde
2 min read
Man O’ War
Don’t let the name fool you. The Man O’ War is a lover, not a fighter. (Clarke Condé)
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There are many drinks named after animals such as the juvenile “Grasshopper”, the previously discussed Mule variations (see the Aug. 13 edition of the Weekly Alibi) and the another-day-thrown-in-the-trash Hair of the Dog. The name “cocktail” itself is obviously named after an animal, or at least part of one. Drinks that are named after a specific animal are far rarer. Man O’ War, the greatest racehorse of all time, is an exception.

We all know what war is good for, but Bourbon is an entirely different subject. With the addition of Cointreau and sweet vermouth, this cocktail is a sunrise during a pandemic while a forest fire rages in a neighboring state. Sweet, yes, but balanced with lemon and plenty of ice, let’s consider this a smooth alternative to other horseracing-related beverages like the Mint Julip.

Four parts Bourbon

Two parts Cointreau

One part sweet (red) vermouth

One part fresh lemon juice

Lemon peel for garnish


Begin by removing your fancy Kentucky Derby hat and washing your hands. Next, combine ingredients, shake and strain via a cocktail shaker. Always use fresh lemons. Always use plenty of ice. Garnish with a slice of lemon simply because its appearance will help balance the sweetness in your mind, if not in the glass. While not a complicated drink, it is a cocktail meant for more genteel times than these. Approach it as such. As we make our way through a global pandemic, it is important to be kind to yourself. Pair this drink with a comfortable outdoor chair, a deep breath and a big swig.
Man O’ War

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