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spinningrecords
01-13-2012, 22:33
I'm struggling to make a good manhattan at home. I tried different bourbons and ryes. I've tried Martini & Rossi red and white. I've tried Antica Formula. I've got Reagan's orange bitters. I've tried a variety of cherries. I've got a nice shaker from C&B.

My guess is that either the vermouth or the bitters is damaging the taste. I'm mindful to just put a drop of bitters in the drink now. Maybe my vermouth is bad or the red simply spoils the taste regardless of condition. Maybe any vermouth is a killer at this point and just some whiskey and water better fits the bill.

Anyone out there having similar problems or have a worthy approach to making one?

moose
01-13-2012, 23:03
I too have been searching for a great Manhattan recipe, I have been experimenting quite a bit myself, but I'll just share with you what has been my favorite recipe thus far.

2.5oz Bulleit Bourbon
.75oz Martini & Rossi Rosso (Sweet Vermouth)
.75oz Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth
3 Dashes Fee Brothers Orange bitters
1 Star Maraschino Cherry

Pour all the Bourbon and Vermouth(s) over ice in a metal cocktail shaker.
Stir for 15-30 seconds (making sure not to cause any bubbles or too much agitation).
Strain into chilled cocktail glass
Add bitters and cherry, stir once more very briefly.

That's been my favorite thus far, I added the drier vermouth as the sweet vermouth left the drink too sweet for my liking.

Good luck to you, its always fun just trying new recipes until you find one you like.

-Also remember, vermouth DOES go bad, I keep mine in the fridge, and just purchase the 375ml bottles as I don't go through much at all.

yountvillewjs
01-13-2012, 23:08
Angostora Bitters & Dolan Vermouth (red) makes me (and my Manhattans) very happy.

bad_scientist
01-13-2012, 23:19
My wife cannot abide by hard liquor, but she loves this:

4 parts Rittenhouse Rye BIB
1 part Noilly Prat Red
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 Maraschino cherry

I just mix the bitters and vermouth in a chilled glass and add pre-chilled rye to it, stir for a bit and add the cherry. It's strong as $@*$ but it tastes so deliciously smooth with highly approachable herbs and spices. I have seen people say and do crazy stuff after a couple of these...

That said, I think the suggestion of mixing half sweet and half dry vermouth might be better than just the sweet stuff. I, too, think Manhattans in general are too sweet.

JayMonster
01-14-2012, 07:10
Some important steps.

1. Use filtered water (at least) for ice.
2. Keep baking soda in the freezer so ice doesn't acquire any additional tastes.
3. Get some Noilly Prat (sweet) and/or Boissiere (for dry) Vermouth.

Recipes and percentages can vary, though I am partial to a "perfect" Manhattan (1/2 sweet and 1/2 dry vermouth), but you can't make a great Manhattan with bad ice or mediocre (or poor), vermouth.

In short, put as much thought into your other ingredients as you do into what Bourbon you choose.

sailor22
01-14-2012, 07:33
The Vermouth is more important than the Rye or Bourbon. If the history I have seen is correct this was a drink originally created to showcase the Vermouth and the Rye or Bourbon was in the background.

Try experimenting with different brands of Vermouth - the Party Source has some interesting ones available with good descriptions on line if your local selection sucks as much as mine does.

Also remember that Vermouth goes bad very quickly once it's opened and must be kept refrigerated to slow the spoilage.

Tony
01-14-2012, 09:36
Anybody try this vermouth? http://www.imbuecellars.com/

I was thinking of trying some and would like your thoughts.

Best regards, tony

bad_scientist
01-14-2012, 09:51
The Vermouth is more important than the Rye or Bourbon. If the history I have seen is correct this was a drink originally created to showcase the Vermouth and the Rye or Bourbon was in the background.

My guess is that the choice of rye matters more than a little. Different ryes can have astoundingly different flavor profiles.


Also remember that Vermouth goes bad very quickly once it's opened and must be kept refrigerated to slow the spoilage.

I didn't know that - I just made some vermouth ice cubes that hopefully will slow that down even more.

Bourbon Boiler
01-14-2012, 18:34
2 oz Blantons
1 oz homemade apple brandy
.5 oz Vermouth (much less than most)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 large ice cube

Like the OP, I struggled with the vermouth until I made it only a seventh of the overall drink. Any more ruins it for me.

bad_scientist
01-14-2012, 19:24
2 oz Blantons
1 oz homemade apple brandy
.5 oz Vermouth (much less than most)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 large ice cube

Like the OP, I struggled with the vermouth until I made it only a seventh of the overall drink. Any more ruins it for me.

Now where in the heck can we get homemade apple brandy? If you can ship, I can accept PMs :)

SDpappy
01-14-2012, 22:50
Sucks when my local spirits stores only have Gallo and Martini Vermouth.

Bourbon Boiler
01-15-2012, 05:50
Now where in the heck can we get homemade apple brandy? If you can ship, I can accept PMs :)

I'm sure a commercial apple brandy will work as well. While I've made some brandy in the past, this one really should have read "home aged". I took a cheap, store bought brandy, filtered through used BT char, and then aged it in a small barrel for a few months (with more BT char). By itself, it has a clean, sweet brandy nose and initial taste, but a bouron finish. Not bad by itself, but excellent in a Manhattan.

bad_scientist
01-28-2012, 06:57
Set up a blind tasting session for my wife with the following in Manhattans:

ORVW 10/107 from 2010
RR 6 year rye
TPS 4R OBSK
Ritt BIB

Amazingly to me, she thought the ORVW was the best for Manhattans! 2nd place was the Ritt, and close behind was the OBSK. She took a sip of the RR Manhattan and pushed it away, saying it had a great nose but tasted like crap.

coltcannon
01-28-2012, 07:10
I rarely have anything but Punt e Mes at the house. While at work my Manhattan's go like this:
2oz bourbon or rye (i always prefer something high proof)
0.5oz Noilly Prat Sweet
not a dash but turn the bottle over slowly to let it drip of angostura

chill cocktail glass, pint glass full of ice, stir for a good 45-60 seconds, strain
house brandied cherries for garnish

As people have said treat vermouth like you would wine. Buy small bottles, keep in the fridge, use for other things if old. Chilling all the glassware makes a difference for me also. I also make a cherry-vanilla bitters which makes a good manhattan amazing.

CADMixes
01-28-2012, 08:16
I keep it very, very simple:

2 oz. 100 proof or greater rye
1 oz. vermouth (usually Dolin rouge)
2 solid dashes Angostura

Stir and strain, no garnish.

As everyone has been saying, fresh vermouth will make or break the drink. Keep it in the fridge, use a vacuvin, throw it out after a couple weeks. Martini, Cinzano, Noilly Prat, are all good but Dolin is my favorite. Punt e Mes and Carpano Antica are wonderful products but they're very assertive, be prepared to mess with your recipe a little bit. In general I think 2:1 with a standard sweet vermouth and 100-110 proof whiskey is going to balance pretty well.

Good cracked ice, proper stirring, and chilled glassware should complete the picture. The o.p. mentioned using a shaker--if you've been shaking your Manahattans exclusively I highly encourage you to give stirring a try.

yountvillewjs
01-28-2012, 09:42
Agree w/ CAD on Dolan. For me, it dusts the more expensive Carpico Antica.

I've been experimenting with a 50/50 THH & Saby Saz with pretty tremendous results. Expensive, sure -- but for a treat, very worth it. Ritt BiB does pretty well for a daily.

StraightNoChaser
01-28-2012, 15:43
Handy is my go-to rye for Manhattans. You haven't lived until...

proof and age
01-28-2012, 15:58
Naked Manhattan
Developed as a tribute to the Singing Cowboy in Times Square

Bourbon (90 proof or above)
Ice (If you have some)

Use a glass (optional)

StraightNoChaser
01-28-2012, 16:00
Naked Manhattan
Developed as a tribute to the Singing Cowboy in Times Square

Bourbon (90 proof or above)
Ice (If you have some)

Use a glass (optional)
Wait a second, that sounds just like the recipe I use for my world famous eggnog

CADMixes
01-28-2012, 17:05
Handy is my go-to rye for Manhattans. You haven't lived until...

I'm cracking my first bottle of Handy in the next couple days. What's your recipe? Trying to figure out if I need to adjust for the proof.

tommyboy38
01-28-2012, 20:50
This reminds me of.........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB2aVzmPxxM

SeaninSD
01-30-2012, 18:28
Lately I've been doing:

3 oz Blanton's or Weller 12
1 oz sweet noilly pratt sweet vermouth
2 cherries (organic in cane sugar)
stirred
no bitters (sometimes with bitters, but I feel it takes away from the bourbon)

SeaninSD
01-30-2012, 18:29
P.S. - Anyone feel strongly about shaken vs. stirred?

Does bourbon really "bruise?" I guess I need to try both as a taste test, but don't currently own a cocktail shaker.

yountvillewjs
01-30-2012, 18:34
I don't feel strongly, but I always stir.

ILLfarmboy
01-30-2012, 18:42
P.S. - Anyone feel strongly about shaken vs. stirred?

Does bourbon really "bruise?" I guess I need to try both as a taste test, but don't currently own a cocktail shaker.

I had a couple Makers' Mark Manhattans at a Red Lobster last night. I didn't see them make 'em but I know darn well they were shaken; they had ice chips in them and they were somewhat dilute.

I"m not worried about "bruising" the whiskey but I don't like ice chips in a straight-up Manhattan and I don't like it diluted much.

I like them stirred.

coltcannon
01-31-2012, 00:40
For me shaking adds too much air and water, plus it will be cloudy. The more viscous mouthfeel from stirring is part of a delicious manhattan to me.

Re: Shit bartenders say, I know everyone involved in making it and they actually wanted me to star but I was in Mexico. Hilarious stuff :slappin:

scratchline
01-31-2012, 06:46
The rule is that cocktails which call for only liquors (martinis, manhattans) be stirred and ones that incorporate juices (sours) be shaken. Of course, even shaking is variable. A good bloody mary is rolled in the shaker so that the tomato juice isn't messed up.

And rules are made to be broken.

-Mike

CADMixes
01-31-2012, 12:40
"Bruising" spirits is a totally made-up thing. Anyone who warns you about it has no idea what they're talking about.

Shaking - Aeration, cloudy appearance, a thin layer of ice on the drink (unless you double-strain)

Stirring - No aeration, more liquor-like mouthfeel, clear appearance.

One thing I'll say in favor of shaking is that it's much easier to achieve consistent results (chill and dilution in the shaker stabilize after about 15 seconds pretty much no matter what you do). But there's an elegant quality to stirred drinks that I wouldn't want to give up.

MonsterMashBill
01-31-2012, 16:08
I've consumed many manhattans. The best manhattan I ever had was this:
4 parts OGD 114
1 part sweet vermouth
dash angostura
1 cherry

Combine all ingredients with ice. Stir. Strain into a martini glass.

BTW, does anyone else find drinking from martini glasses (pardon the pun) dispiriting? What I mean is, when your drink level gets about halfway down, you actually only have like a quarter of it left.

ILLfarmboy
01-31-2012, 18:37
BTW, does anyone else find drinking from martini glasses (pardon the pun) dispiriting? What I mean is, when your drink level gets about halfway down, you actually only have like a quarter of it left.

No, but I find them a little clumsy.

CADMixes
01-31-2012, 19:20
I've consumed many manhattans. The best manhattan I ever had was this:
4 parts OGD 114
1 part sweet vermouth
dash angostura
1 cherry

Combine all ingredients with ice. Stir. Strain into a martini glass.

BTW, does anyone else find drinking from martini glasses (pardon the pun) dispiriting? What I mean is, when your drink level gets about halfway down, you actually only have like a quarter of it left.

Use a champagne coupe and solve this problem while remaining classy!

Kalessin
02-01-2012, 11:42
I like martini glasses for gin or whiskey martinis, but if the glass was made at too wide an angle, then they're awkward to drink from.

If I don't feel like dealing with a proper martini glass, I'll use a six-ounce rocks glass. Same drink, easier washing up.

humchan2k
02-01-2012, 22:03
Here's the deal. I am, if you check my other posts about the Old Fashioned, a complete cocktail snob, to the point that I have sphere ice cube trays from Japan and make my own simple syrup....and love to flame orange peel into my drinks.....so when it comes to the Manhattan, I take it pretty seriously. I have 2 major go-to recipes for the Manhattan, depending upon my mood and whether or not I want to work for it, here we go:

The "Perfect" Manhattan:

2oz Baby Saz - I love Baby Saz more than Ritt for Manhattans
0.75oz Carpano Antica - by FAR the best vermouth, but spendy
3 healthy splashes of Angostura
2-3 griotte cherries, cured in kirsch brandy, on a toothpick
1 bar spoon of griotte cherry kirsch liquid from the jar

You can find these amazing griotte cherries in most fine food stores, but if that's a hassle, get the Luxardo cured cherries, they're amazing.

Stir, don't shake, and MOST IMPORTANTLY - strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass...a cold glass goes a LONG way to preserving flavor!

The "Lazy" Manhattan:

3oz pour of High West 36th Amendment Barreled Manhattan
2-3 griotte cherries, no liquid

This is about as perfect a Manhattan as you can find, and all the work is done for you by Mr. Perkins...if you don't know about this, go to the store and get some IMMEDIATELY. Oh, and again, chilled glass, please!

Enjoy!

spinningrecords
04-22-2012, 23:36
I've concluded that vermouth goes bad pretty fast even when stored in the refrigerator. My latest round of manhattans were made with a fresh bottle of Antica Carpano and were very tasty regardless of the rye or bourbon used. A month later I finished of the last of the vermouth and the manhattans were just plain bad.

mrviognier
04-23-2012, 06:09
The "Lazy" Manhattan:

3oz pour of High West 36th Amendment Barreled Manhattan
2-3 griotte cherries, no liquid

This is about as perfect a Manhattan as you can find, and all the work is done for you by Mr. Perkins...if you don't know about this, go to the store and get some IMMEDIATELY. Oh, and again, chilled glass, please!

Enjoy!

Thanks for the plug! FYI...we call this one "The 36th Vote". We barrel this down four times a year, which results in bottling four times a year. We never seem to bottle enough to meet demand.