FCH: The Palmetto

Happy Friday, all! Yes, it’s been another week and I’m back with a simple but little discussed, eminently worthy cocktail. As I’ve noted before regarding the Gimlet and the Daiquiri, the Negroni and Boulevardier, with most of the classic, classic cocktails changing the spirit can transform that cocktail into a unique cocktail all its own.

A different spirit requires a different name. We don’t call it a scotch Manhattan, we call it a Rob Roy. We don’t call it a rum Gimlet, we call it a Daiquiri. And we don’t call it a vodka Martini, because, as everyone knows, there’s no such thing as a vodka martini. We call that one a Kangaroo.

And a Manhattan made with rum is called … a Palmetto. It’s a lovely variation on the 2 parts spirit, 1 part sweet vermouth template, and with some aromatic (or orange or cherry bitters) it’s an engaging and complex drink, which I highly recommend. Note: while I prefer the traditional Manhattan ratio, the esteemed cocktail journalist Robert Simonson recommends equal parts rum and vermouth. You may, too. Taste and see for yourself.

I chose the Palmetto because our wonderful videographer and editor, Katherine Guanche, and her partner, director and sound engineer Sam Hood Adrain (I urge you follow his theater company What Will the Neighbors Say?), are leaving our idyll to return to their home in Bushwick, which happens to be on Palmetto Street. Thus this week’s choice.

After this complex, startling and in so many ways deeply sad week, I recommend, no I encourage, a second cocktail, followed by a home-cooked meal.

Here’s the video along with a reading of a poem by Major Jackson.

Here’s the video:

The Palmetto

A Manhattan made with rum is an excellent cocktail.
Prep Time 2 mins
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1


  • 2 ounces barrel aged rum
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • bitters to taste
  • orange zest


  • Combine the rum, vermouth, and bitters in a glass and chill with ice. Strain into a chilled coup or into a rocks glass with ice.
  • Garnish with the orange zest


Of course you could make this with Bacardi white rum, but it’s not worth the vermouth. Choose a rum grown dark from a barrel and this will be an excellent drink.
Note: the esteemed cocktail journalist Robert Simonson recommends equal parts rum and vermouth. You may too. Taste and see for yourself.
Keyword Manhattan, rum, sweet vermouth