This cocktaill is an ode to an epic girls trip with my friends, Delilah and Nicole of Dear Handmade Life. While partying in Park City, they introduced me to the drink and it was our liquid courage, making it that much easier to break the ice and toast the numerous new friends we made. But this cocktail way precedes our trip. The Man of War is a cocktail named after one of the greatest horses in horse racing history. And, because the Kentucky Derby is one of the great races, well, this cocktail is usually made with Kentucky bourbon. It's all fine and dandy with bourbon but I also like it with a high-quality whiskey or rye so try it each way and decide your personal preference.
or your favorite rye whiskey
Wrap a few handfuls of ice cubes in a clean towel and, using a rolling pin or muddler, tap on it until all the ice is broken up and crushed. Divide ice among rocks glasses and set aside.
This drink is traditionally served up in a cocktail glass but I prefer it over ice because it's too strong for me when served straight!
Fill a cocktail shaker 1/3 full with ice then add the rye or whiskey, Cointreau, sweet vermouth, and lemon juice. Close and shake until it is thoroughly chilled (almost too cold to touch), at least 20 seconds. Taste and add more lime if you want it more tart or more Cointreau if you want it sweeter.
This cocktail is traditionally made with bourbon but I prefer it with a less sweet rye or whiskey.
Strain the cocktail into the ice-filled glasses, spear a few brandied cherries and a few bits of lemon peel onto a few skewers and garnish each glass. Serve.