The Dewey D cocktail is a delicious twist on a classic Manhattan.
It was created by Don Lee as a drink with heavy Sherry influence for chef Wylie Dufresne’s father (Dewey) who was a big proponent of sherry in cocktails since before it caught on.
Don is somewhat of a renaissance man/cocktail genius who is a big deal behind the scenes in the New York City bar world, and this drink is a little taste of his imagination.
It is quite parallel to a Manhattan in its’ general flavor, but it has a good bit of nuttiness and golden raisin notes that are added by the Sherry.
The Aperol doesn’t come through all that much but it works to add some layers as well as bring back in a touch of the sweetness lost from booting out the vermouth.
I came to know this drink in the PDT cocktail book* which is a really great book to learn the classics as well as some fairly straight forward modern drinks.
The Dewey D is a “Mr. Potato Head” type of variation on a classic where you keep all the basic elements and proportions of a drink, and then substitute an ingredient or two. In the case of this drink, the sweet vermouth that is typically used is subbed out for Sherry and Aperol to give complexity replace the sweetness.
Rye whiskey for the Dewey D.
A Rye Manhattan is the first cocktail that I learned to make and remains in my rotation of go-tos, so naturally I have a little soft spot for anything with this type Manhattan-like vibes.
It also happens that one of my FAVORITE WHISKIES TO MAKE A MANHATTAN with is Old Overholt which this recipe calls for specifically, so I figured I would like it even before stirring it up.
I have mentioned Old Overholt so many times in the short life of this blog that it seems like they should probably sponsor it…
But in all seriousness, the flavors that go on in their rye are quite unique and nutty, and although it is not the most complex or challenging rye on the market, it makes for some tasty cocktails.
*This post has an affiliate link, see the disclosure page for more.
The other Dewey D ingredients.
As for the remaining ingredients, Aperol is like the little less bitter version of Campari that you should certainly be investing in for your home bar setup.
It has sweet and bitter orange flavors that make it fun to experiment with (like in the Peony) and mix up in classics like the Aperol Spritz.
Then on to the one that nobody (including me) knows a lot about…
Most people have heard of sherry but don’t know the different styles, what they taste like or how to use them, and I get it! The classifications of different spirits, wine, aromatize wine and all that other good stuff is often pretty confusing and takes a bit of effort to understand.
Eventually there will be posts on this blog going more in depth on things like Sherry, but for now, go by these quick tips.
Use a dry style, don’t break the bank (but don’t buy bottles that are priced too good to be true), and if you already have a somewhat dry one use it!
If you do need to buy a bottle, Lustau offers great options at reasonable price points so if you can scoop a bottle of their East India Sherry (which is the style that the original recipe calls for).
The final choice for the Dewey D is how you serve it.
The recipe calls for an orange peel garnish which you can use (or not) depending how you feel. It would also be nice to drop in a good quality cherry if you have one. Then much like a regular Manhattan, think about if you want it up or on the rocks.
Now go mix one up.
Dewey D Recipe
- 2 Oz. Old Overholt Rye
- 3/4 Oz. Sherry - (ideally East India)
- 1/4 Oz. Aperol
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 5 drops 20% Saline
- Add all the ingredients to your mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir until desired chill and dilution is reached.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or a rocks glass with ice.