Visiting Butcher & Singer in Philadelphia is like taking a step back in time. This is more than just a bar and restaurant, it's a boozed-up time machine. Decorated like a Forties-era steakhouse,  the restaurant serves New York strips, filet mignon, and Trout Amandine to a cast of characters dressed like they're about to walk the red carpet at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the late 1940s.

The place draws in its good-looking crowd with muscular mid-century cocktails. There are Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, but the best of the lot is the oft-overlooked Deshler, a bourbon vermouth cocktail that has faded into obscurity for no discernable reason. This cocktail is a WWI era Manhattan variation originally created by Hugo Ensslin and published in his book Recipes for Mixed Drinks in 1917. The cocktail was named for Dave Deshler, a turn-of-the-century American lightweight boxer.

"Our approach to this cocktail was to stay thematically appropriate with Butcher & Singer's 1940s, post-prohibition style steakhouse," says General Manager David McCabe. "We specifically looked out for Manhattan variations from the 1940s – in particular this was from the Official Mixers Manual of 1934 – which we adapted into our own version."

Because of the spicy notes in the Knob Creek bourbon and hint of star anise from the Peychaud's bitters, this cocktail pairs nicely with the nuttiness of a dry aged porterhouse, but is a suitable companion for any grilled meat.

The Deshler

  • 1 ½ oz Knob Creek Bourbon
  • 1 oz Boisiere Sweet Vermouth
  • ¼ oz Cointreau
  • 2 Dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
  • 1 Cherry

Preparation
Combine the bourbon, sweet vermouth, cointreau, and peychard bitters. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.