The Dewey D. Cocktail: Right in Front of Me

Dewey D Cocktail

Okay. I’ll admit to an idiosyncrasy that this Dewey D. Cocktail illustrates perfectly. Maybe you do this too. Sometimes when I’m looking for inspiration I’ll flip through a beloved cookbook. The kind of cookbook that you’re just sure you’ve wrung dry like a sponge. Still, you love the book and it’s a pleasure to thumb through it. So you do.

Then, somehow, you come across a recipe you’ve never seen before. After countless reads over several years, this wonderful book provides an untested treat.

Coincidentally you have all the ingredients on hand. All of them. Here’s the idiosyncratic part– there’s just no way to stop me from making that recipe. No way.

Dewey D. Cocktail

This Dewey D. Cocktail is exactly all that (and more). It comes from perhaps my favorite cocktail book ever: The PDT Cocktail Book. It’s a riff on a Manhattan. A fact that taken by itself doesn’t make this drink particularly groundbreaking. There are are thousands of recipes for basic Manhattans on the web and possibly even more riffs. The premise for a Manhattan (as well as riffs like this Dewey D. Cocktail) is simple: 2 parts of whiskey, 1 part of sweet (vermouth) 2 or 3 good strong dashes of bitter (Angostura bitters) and of course ice. Ice is the much ignored but vital final element in a Manhattan and all its riffs.

However, the Dewey D. Cocktail takes this basic premise and adds an extra dash of sophistication in the form of a special sherry. The end result has all the hard-edged spice from the rye and bitters combination, as well as a sophisticated sherry “nut crunch”. It finishes most satisfyingly with the bright ping of citrus.

Here’s another idiosyncrasy– sometimes brands matter. The Dewey D. Cocktail is one of those times. The Lustau East India Sherry (a cream sherry with that nutty crunch I mentioned) has a deep, sweet, complex flavor that adds a bit of raisin to the drink and should not be substituted. Aperol, of course, is unique in its aperitivo/amari category and has no substitute. I’ll let you choose whatever rye you like (I used Rittenhouse 100). GREG

Dewey D. Cocktail

Dewey D Cocktail 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1Source Adapted from The PDT Cocktail BookPublished
Dewey D Cocktail


  • 2 ounce rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce Lustau East India sherry
  • ½ ounce Aperol
  • 2 dash Angostura bitters
  • medium ice cubes (as needed)
  • 1 orange twist (as garnish)


Combine the rye, sherry, Aperol, and Angostura in mixing glass half filled with medium ice cubes. Stir gently about 20 seconds. Julep strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist; its oil expressed onto the surface and rubbed onto the rim.