A year after Jay-Z, Coldplay, and Jennifer Lopez celebrated the opening of The Cosmopolitan with a blowout bash, its CEO, John Unwin, will proudly toast its first anniversary with a wintery concoction of whiskey and cinnamon: Vesper Bar’s The Mayan, a modern interpretation of the Manhattan. The cocktail is classic and eminent, a blend of quality Michter’s Whiskey Rye and spices, including a pinch of cayenne pepper, freshly grated cinnamon, fig, and chocolate.
“The addition of cayenne and a hint of cinnamon and chocolate amps it up a bit and makes me feel warm,” Unwin says. “I really didn’t want to try it at first, but Vesper’s master mixologist [and general manager] Andrew Pollard turned me on to it right after we opened. He said he had a feeling I’d like it. Boy, was he right.”
Unwin and his wife, Leslie, love to throw house parties, but the power couple has yet to bring this recipe home. “They have the best ingredients and great mixologists at Vesper Bar—I wouldn’t do it justice,” he says. “We love to entertain, though, and cocktails are an important part of a social gathering. We have a beautiful bar at home that is very well stocked.”
Unwin says he usually enjoys The Mayan to kick off the night. So how many will he have during the first anniversary party? “Great question,” he says. “Call me at cocktail hour on December 15!”
Vesper Bar’s the Mayan
1 1⁄2 oz. Michter’s Rye
1 oz. Amaro Meletti
1⁄2 oz. cinnamon-fig sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters
Pinch cayenne pepper
Vesper’s version uses 20 ingredients. For this at-home version, stir the above in a mixing glass with no ice for 20 seconds and strain into an 8-ounce cocktail glass. Garnish with an Aztec Chocolate-spiced cherry.