Duck Hunting photo

For a couple hours last Thursday afternoon, the entire 9th floor of our office building transformed into the biggest bar on Park Avenue when the various departments and magazine staffs here held a friendly competition–the Cocktail Challenge.

The rules were simple: Each team had a $50 budget and was tasked with making or creating a cocktail for the employees in the company to drink and judge. After tasting all of the cocktails, employees were asked to vote for their one favorite. The team with the most vote wins. (In case you’re wondering, the sample sizes were all very small to ensure we could still walk at the end of the tasting. We are “professionals,” after all.)

There were some killer drinks. Serving Grasshoppers garnished with homemade thin mints, the team from Saveur magazine quickly ran through all of their samples. And the Popular Science staff inventively chilled their cocktail with liquid nitrogen. As for your friends at Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, we stuck to what we know, and love, best:


Inspired by David’s recent blog post on “fat-washing” booze, we infused a bottle of Wild Turkey with duck fat. (We followed this recipe, substituting the bacon fat with duck fat.) The duck fat gave the whiskey a rich, almost buttery, flavor. It really was delicious. We mixed the infused booze with sweet vermouth and a couple dashes of homemade apple bitters–and the Mallard Manhattan was born.

Our fellow tasters all enjoyed the drink–though, it was a bit too strong for some. In the end, we tied for second place, and Saveur took home the first-place prize: an engraved cocktail shaker.

Next time, we’re garnishing our drink with venison jerky.

The Mallard Manhattan
2 oz. duck fat-infused bourbon
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
Two dashes apple bitters*

Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, and stir until frost coats the outside of the shaker. Strain the drink into a chilled coup or martini glass. Enjoy.

*Either Angostura or orange bitters would be a fine substitution