Model T · backbar

By Eric Twardzik · 04/10/2020

As Boston’s bars and restaurants remain closed amid the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve asked some of our favorite industry figures to share classic, easy-to-make cocktails you can replicate at home. In return, we hope you’ll consider some of the ways that you can support the industry during this trying time; for instance, purchasing merch from Backbar’s online store, which is contributing 75 percent of its sales to out-of-work staff.

Backbar may be temporarily closed, but owner Sam Treadway is still stirring and shaking—via YouTube. On his channel, Treadway posts videos almost every day, teaching home bartenders how to make Backbar classics like the Model-T.

That drink—named in honor of a Ford dealership that once occupied the 99-year-old Union Square building Backbar calls home—appeared on the bar’s fist cocktail menu in 2011 as its signature Manhattan. While it has the familiar bones of a Manhattan—whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters—it’s kicked up by herbaceous Yellow Chartreuse and a rinse with a custom-made clove and oak spray.

To stand up to the clove, the drink relies on Jim Beam Black, which undergoes two different barrel maturations for a bigger, bolder flavor with more oak. It also utilizes rich, more fully flavored Carpano Antica vermouth.

As an alternative to Backbar’s spray, you can make your own clove-infused rum at home to rinse the glass with. Treadway suggests that a 30-day infusion with rum is ideal, but five days should do the trick (if anything, we’ve all got time on our hands). But for an even easier route, Treadway suggests skipping the rinse altogether and adding another dash of Angostura Bitters for an additional spice kick.

1¾ ounces Jim Beam Black Bourbon
¾ ounce Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
½ ounce Yellow Chartreuse
2 dashes Angostura Bitters (or 3 dashes, as an alternative to the rinse)
Clove-infused rum*, for rinse
Luxardo cherry, for garnish

Add all ingredients except cherry and clove-infused rum to a stirring glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled Manhattan glass rinsed with clove-infused rum and garnish with cherry.

*Clove-Infused Rum
8 ounces rum
20 cloves, crushed

Add crushed cloves to rum and allow mixture to infuse for 5 to 30 days before straining out cloves. Keeps indefinitely.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up for our weekly newsletters for curated guides, can't-miss dishes, restaurant recommendations, and more.

Enter Email