Monday, October 19, 2015

Manhattan Cocktails: 2 Classic Variations

As I explain in my Manhattan Construction post today, the simplest way to vary a Manhattan is through its ingredients and their ratio in the drink, that is the proportion of whiskey to vermouth.

Below are recipes for two classic variations on the Manhattan. They both call for whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters--nothing fancy. But the subtle variation in ingredients and the ratio will result in a slightly different drink.

The first version is what I was making for most of the year. It employs a 3:1 ratio of whiskey to vermouth, making for a slightly stronger Manhattan than you get from the typical 2:1 ratio. The drink is dry but just sweet enough.

Part of the reason I changed the ratio in version 1 is that I was using a 90 proof rye, rather than a 100 proof. For version 2, made with 100 proof Rittenhouse rye, I found the traditional 2:1 ratio works better, as the 3:1 Manhattan when made with Rittenhouse was too assertive.

You'll notice I also recommend a different sweet vermouth. I recently discovered Carpano Antica, and it's fantastic. The one drawback of this vermouth is that it only comes in a large bottle, so you gotta really use it, since sweet vermouth starts to go bad after a month or two in the fridge (and for the love of all things cocktails, do not store opened sweet vermouth at room temperature--it's a wine).

Lastly, the garnish is different here as well, but that's just for fun, as it really makes no difference in taste. I think the darker look of a bing cherry looks cool in a Manhattan, but maraschino cherries are a fine choice too.

Cocktail: Classic Manhattan (version 1)

2 1/4 oz. Bulleit rye whiskey
3/4 oz. Dolin sweet vermouth
1 dash Regan's orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Maraschino cherry garnish

Cocktail: Classic Manhattan (version 2)

2 oz. Rittenhouse rye whiskey
1 oz. Carpano Antica formula sweet vermouth
1 dash Regan's orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Bing cherry garnish

Combine whiskey, vermouth and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass with ice. Stir until very cold, about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with cherry.

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