How To Make A Right Hand
We don’t endorse double-fisting drinks, but know that the Right Hand is the official counterpart to Sam Ross’s Left Hand cocktail, both of which feature Campari, sweet vermouth, and chocolate bitters coupled with a rotating plug-and-play base spirit and garnish. In this case, aged rum steps up to the plate and an orange twist enhances the citrus qualities of both the spirit and the Campari. When joined by the sweet vermouth-chocolate bitters power couple, the finished product oozes notes of chocolate-covered oranges, tropical fruits, and clove.
While there are many dynamic duos in the bartending industry, few are as well-known as Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy, who worked behind the stick together at NYC’s now-shuttered Milk & Honey before opening their joint operation Attaboy in the same space in 2012. Therefore, it seems rather poetic that Ross created the Left Hand and McIlroy invented the Right Hand alongside one another in 2007.
According to Robert Simonson’s article on the “Hand” cocktails, Ross claims that it felt as though “me and Michael are holding hands!” Albeit, the true catalyst for the creation of the Left and Right Hands was the 2007 debut of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, which brand co-founder Avery Glasser dropped off at Milk & Honey a few months prior. Both cocktails have been dubbed Negroni riffs, and while the Left Hand bears more parallels to a Boulevardier, the Right Hand is most akin to a Kingston Negroni — a fellow modern classic created by Joaqiun Simó at Death and Co in 2009. The Right Hand may not carry as much clout as Ross’s entry, but the cocktail has nonetheless appeared on menus as far away as Barcelona.
Given the versatility of the “Hand” template, this cocktail provides fertile ground for aged rum exploration. Depending on which way one sets the stage, the Right Hand can be tropical or decadent, spicy or sweet, and even reminiscent of umami and fresh-cut grass. McIlroy originally employed Cruzan Single Barrel in his spec; we've found that the slightly boozier, hogo-rich Smith & Cross brand works wonders in this drink as well.