Monday, October 19, 2015

Cocktail: White Manhattan

White Manhattan

While you can drink Manhattans year-round (we certainly do), as a dark-spirit drink, it seems best-suited for fall and winter. So what to do during the summer if you're really craving a Manhattan but not in the mood for the dark, caramel notes of whiskey? You can try a White Manhattan.

This variation is made from clear ingredients, rather than the typical brown ones. Hence it's a "white" Manhattan.

For the whiskey, you'll need a white whiskey, also known sometimes as "white dog," which hasn't been aged in a barrel and therefore hasn't taken on the brown color that comes from barrel-aging. There are a number of choices on the market, both for white bourbons and white ryes. I went with Wasmund's rye spirit, which is made in Sperryville, Virginia, from 2/3 rye and 1/3 malted barley. At 124 proof, this is strong stuff. It has a nice smoky nose to it, almost like a mezcal.

For the vermouth, you'll want white vermouth, also known as bianco or blanc. Although dry vermouth is clear, it's not very sweet. White vermouth is sweet like sweet (i.e. red) vermouth, so it's perfect for a White Manhattan. Dolin makes a nice version. Unfortunately, they don't sell their blanc vermouth in the smaller-size bottles like they do their dry and sweet vermouths, so you'll probably want to find other cocktails to use up that bottle before it goes bad (give the Silence Is Golden a try).

Below, I offer two variations on the White Manhattan. The first is a recipe The Washington Post ran in 2010 by Neyah White, former bar manager of Nopa in San Francisco. His recipe adds a touch of herbal Benedictine liqueur. This is a delicious drink, although the Benedictine actually makes it yellow instead of white. Wanting a truly clear Manhattan, I instead used Cointreau and maraschino liqueur in "My White Manhattan" (pictured above).

White Manhattan

White Manhattan
Adapted from a recipe by Neyah White of Nopa in San Francisco

1 1/2 oz. white rye whiskey
1/2 oz. Dolin blanc vermouth
1/2 oz. Benedictine liqueur
3 dashes orange bitters

Combine whiskey, vermouth, liqueur and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass with ice. Stir until very cold, at least 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. No garnish.

My White Manhattan

2 oz. white rye whiskey
3/4 oz. Dolin white vermouth
1/2 oz. Combier orange liqueur
1/4 oz. Luxardo maraschino liqueur
2 dashes Regan orange bitters
Orange peel garnish

Combine whiskey, vermouth, liqueurs and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass with ice. Stir until very cold, at least 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

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