New Cocktail Obsession: Remember the Maine!

First of all, you are hereby sworn by the law of all blogging gods to never just say “Remember the Maine”.

You must instead exclaim emphatically, “Remember the Maine!!”

Second of all, this is a fancy drink. Somewhat obscure. Probably unknown to most people. That is not what makes it awesome (I will tell you what makes it awesome later) and you should be polite when or if you order this drink at a bar. Don’t order it when you’re in a run of the mill drinking establishment. Don’t order it when the bar is super busy. When you get to a fancy drinking establishment with serious craft bartenders, then by god it’s time to order. Even still, you should do so with a slight air of apology and acknowledgment that you are kind of being a little know-it-all snot.

Enough with the caveats.

Where I Had It

Beaker and Flask – Portland, Oregon. This little place is known for great drinks and skilled bartenders. After trying something off the menu I asked “Tim” to make me “something with bourbon or bourbon-like facsimile – something challenging.”

He came back 5 minutes later with Remember the Maine!

(I had the drink a few weeks later at a bar in Seattle called Barrio. Again, outstanding. Note: the bartender at Barrio knew the drink but did have to look it up. He was stoked to do it.)

Why I Love It

It’s a relative of the manhattan, which is a great place to start. Hello, delicious golden drink of the gods!

The combination of absinthe and cherry liquor creates a mysterious, chocolately overtone that is completely unexpected and utterly delightful. Smooth! So smooth. But no overly sweet.

It was – exactly as I’d requested – challenging, but in a really approachable way.

How to Make It

I learned long ago from Sal’s crazy Sicilian mother (Rose, if you’re reading this tell Fina I wrote “awesome Sicilian mother” ; ) that one should never settle for eating or drinking amazing things at restaurant. Instead, return home immediately and reverse engineer said amazing food. Serve it to your family and yell at them until they declare that it is better than the restaurant version.

Whereas Fina uses her masterful culinary skills to reverse engineer masterpieces, I use Google (after first not finding it in my Great American Bartender’s handbook which, apparently, isn’t so great).

I checked out recipes here, here, and here and settled on this version:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 teaspoons Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 teaspoon absinthe or absinthe substitute
  • Brandied cherry for garnish

Combine ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir briskly for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

Special Considerations

I soon discovered that the brand of absinthe is a big factor. My version of Remember the Maine, though delicious, was different that Tim’s at Beaker and Flask.  (I still made Sal declare mine superior, however.) My recommendation would be to use what you got (or what you can put your hands on) and experiment from there. Something tells me that you won’t mind the research involved.

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  1. When is this cheese and wine (now read: cocktail) hour happening? I need it more than ever!!!

  2. Have you read Eric Felten’s “How’s Your Drink?” It has some interesting stories and old schoo’ recipies!

    • Ooh Sierra – thanks for the tip! I’ll check it out!
      Tyler – I’ve always wondered about those. I saw it at Teardrop. I’ll take the plunge next time.

  3. corpse reviver #2 is another good one to try.

  4. Heidi, you need to make me one of those.. like yesterday. ;)

  5. Heidi… I luv it!! I will for sure say awesome Sicilian mother!! Can you imagine what she will do to me if I say crazy. She may only be 4’9″ but she has a strong back hand!! heheheh.

  6. You had me at Cocktail. I do very similar things in this house. I love a cocktail. And the fact that you need to have instant gratification/adoration from your loved ones makes me love you, too!
    Keep the shaker close,

  7. Had my first Remember the Maine a month ago. Tried several variations changing the rye. A Repasodo Tequila was interesting as were bourbon variants. I found though that the important ingredient was the Vermouth. We used Vya which worked really well with the rye. Subsequent R-t-M using same recipie but Dolin vermouth not the same.

  8. Love absinthe cocktails. Corpse Reviver #2 is good. The Tuxedo is great. Try them both. Try them all. Just not on the same night. Or you may need a corpse reviver. ;-)

    Thanks for the recipe – sounds lovely.

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