Espresso Manhattan – Eagle Rare Bourbon

A few months ago I sampled a great bourbon from the Buffalo Trace Distillery. However, at least here in Germany the E.H. Taylor Small Batch is quite an expensive tipple. So, I thought I give the Eagle Rare Bourbon a try. It also comes from Buffalo Trace and on top of that even from the same mash bill as the E.H. Taylor. Apart from that, I also wanted to us the Cold Dripper I got for Christmas. I just had to put those two things together!

The bourbon we are going to sample today comes from Buffalo Trace’s number one mash bill. This mash bill is low on rye, about 10 %, and high on corn. This is also the first thing you will notice when tasting the E.H. Taylor. However, in contrast to the Small Batch, which is a no-age-statement whisky, the Eagle Rare has a minimum age of ten years. I suppose the main difference, besides the age is the selection of barrels used for the whiskey. On top of that, until a few years ago the Eagle Rare carried the tag “Single Barrel” which is now gone. This means the content of each bottle now comes from a blend of different casks.

Corn and vanilla

Basically, the headline sums up the taste of the Eagle Rare Bourbon quite well. The whiskey is a typical bourbon with just a hint of glue notes in the nose and taste. After an initial burst of menthol, the sip is quite smooth and some dried fruit and spice flavours come to light. I would not hesitate to call the Eagle Rare a “sipping bourbon”. In comparison, the E.H. Taylor has more corn and dried fruit flavours. Yet, it is also more spirit-forward with noticeable menthol notes. All in all, I enjoyed the Eagle Rare very much! I also would reckon that it would make an excellent Old-Fashioned. However, I had something slightly different in mind!

Vanilla and coffee

As mentioned in the headline, I wanted to use a cold drip espresso in a cocktail. The first drink that came to mind was the Espresso Martini. However, to stay true to the original Manhattan I just added the espresso to a regular Manhattan recipe. Of course, if you do this, you have to adjust the balance of the drink. Therefore, I added a little bit more rye and a splash of Giffard Gomme Syrup.

Espresso Manhattan:
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6 cl Eagle Rare Bourbon
3 cl Vanilla Infused Sweet Vermouth
3 cl Cold Drip Espresso
1 cl Giffard Gomme Syrup
2 Dashes Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel Bitters
Stir – strain – chilled Old-Fashioned glass over ice cubes;
Garnish: Brandied Cherry;
Song: Sylvan Esso – Coffee;


The astonishing thing about the Espresso Manhattan is its taste of chocolate, which I reckon comes from the combination of coffee, vanilla and bourbon. The drink is quite spirit-forward and really benefits from a little bit of ice. Ideally, the flavours of each ingredient is noticeable without overpowering the others. In my opinion, this is a great drink to introduce people to stronger drinks and to whiskey cocktails.

*The fact that I received a product reviewed in this article for free, did not – in any way – influence the rating of said product.

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