The horse-drawn tram (horsecar) was an early form of public rail transport that became the name of a drink. We do not know it’s origins, but that it appeared in the 1956 edition of the Esquire Drink Book. The Ben Milam Horsecar is a variation on the unknown cocktail.
At this point, we are making a variation of a variation since the Horsecar is a variation of the Manhattan. Which we have a delectable version that tastes like chocolate-covered cherries. The original Horsecar calls for equal parts rye, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, and Angostura bitters. That version is sweet with a dry finish hiding the rye. So to highlight the rye whiskey we decrease the amount of vermouth’s and use orange bitters.
We attempted this cocktail a variety of ways with a variety of ryes. From these attempts, we can tell you it is an acquired taste, much like a Negroni is.
We use Ben Milam Small Batch Straight Rye Whiskey. This award-winning rye won gold at the 2018 Texas Whiskey Festival and silver at the 2019 festival. The current offering is distilled in Indiana then blended and bottled in Blanco, TX. The 90.4 proof rye has the traditional black pepper spice with hints of green grass, with a spot of mint layered with cane sugar, honey, nutmeg, and oak.
The pepper spice and proof hold up to the vermouth’s while the sugar and honey aid in the sweetness of the drink.
Ben Milam Horsecar
- 1.5 oz Ben Milam Rye
- .75 oz Sweet Vermouth
- .75 oz Dry Vermouth
- A few dashes of Orange Bitters
How to Make
Stir together rye, vermouths, and bitters in an ice-filled mixing glass or mixing tin until very chilled; strain into a martini glass.