Man O’ War Cocktail with bonded bourbon stings in the best way

Man o' War CocktailBoozist heads to the sunny shores of Florida tonight to discover exactly what the land of criminal mischief has to offer the world of alcohol. It only made sense to make a Floridian cocktail for Wet Wednesday, and the Man O’ War eventually came to mind.

The Man O’ War wasn’t the first cocktail I thought of because it’s named after a race horse, Seabiscuit’s grandhorsey, not the jellyfish-like terror of the ocean. Plus orange juice would be the logical choice (besides bath salts) when talking about Florida. After running through a few OJ options my hankering for bourbon got the best of me thanks to a new bottle of Jim Beam Bonded taunting me from the shelf. That’s when it clicked – orange liqueur.

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Swapping out OJ in favor of orange liqueur opened up a world of cocktails, and this just felt fitting. I was stung by a Japanese Man O’ War while celebrating my birthday back when I was just a wee young Boozist. Some birthday present, right? So while the Man O’ War cocktail is very much Kentucky, the name will always invoke Florida for me.

Man O’ War Cocktail Recipe

Add all ingredients to shaker, fill with ice, and shake, flailing your arms as aggressively as you would if you’d been stung by a Man O’ War. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with small lemon peel and maraschino cherry. I used crushed ice & an umbrella for the Floridian vibe, but normally it would be served without ice.

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I like my cocktails a little on the boozy side, and two ounces of 100-proof Jim Beam Bonded accomplishes that goal perfectly. If you’re looking for a little less sting from your Man O’ War you can swap the Bonded for Jim Beam Black, which is 86-proof, or drop the measure down to one and a half ounces.

For the uninitiated, “Bonded” is a holdover from the Bottled In Bond Act at turn of the 20th century, which was meant to ensure you were actually getting the whiskey for which you paid. Now it’s having a resurgence in part because it’s a good marketing story but also because more distilleries are sourcing and/or blending whiskey and brands are eliminating age statements.

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In order to use the term “bonded,” the spirit much come from a single distillery (the one on the label) and all be distilled in the same calendar year. It must then be aged at least 4 years in a federally bonded warehouse and bottled at a minimum of 100-proof. None of that necessarily makes the whiskey better, but at least you know exactly what you’re getting. And in Jim Beam Bonded’s case, you’re getting a bottle of happiness.

Colin Joliat
About Colin Joliat 347 Articles
Colin Joliat is the brains behind this rinky-dink operation. He covers the alcohol industry with two parts information, one part comedy, and one part WTF is wrong with this guy. He's written for Brobible, Guyism, Thrillist, CoolMaterial, Craft, and more.