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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    The Perfect Manhattan

    The (new?) Van Winkle 13 year old Rye Whiskey and about 15% red vermouth, poured on heavy rocks (not shaved ice), and two maraschino cherries. I doubt any other recipe could improve on this one but would be interested to hear theories/experiences.

    Speaking of theories, the compound above made me think that winy vermouth was added to rye (and later bourbon) not to offer a new cocktail flavour as such but to duplicate the taste of aged bourbon or rye. A well-aged, well-made straight whiskey should taste concentrated, rich, sweetish, and fruity. This is how a Manhattan, even made with inferior liquor, tastes.

    In other words I think the intention originally was to improve unaged or cheap bourbon or rye, to make them taste like much better whiskey in a word.

    Thus, adding VW 13 year old to red vermouth might amount to gilding the lily but the result was extremely good.

  2. #2
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    Re: The Perfect Manhattan

    Hmmmm.
    I'm inclined to agree with your "guilding the lily" comment. You say yourself that (perhaps) winey vermouth was added to (inferior) rye or bourbon to approximate the taste of a (superior) aged product. This may be true, but it seems that using (excellent) Van Winkle, to approximate a drink that was devised to "hide" inferior whiskey, would be akin to putting ketchup, mustard and relish on a New York striploin steak to approximate the taste of a Quarter Pounder.
    Shouldn't one use an "lesser" whiskey?
    Alan.

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: The Perfect Manhattan

    I think you meant to say, putting red vermouth in VW 13 year old is like putting ketchup, mustard and HP on a sirloin steak to approximate a ... sirloin steak. Ie. it doesn't make sense, and the vermouth may in fact hurt the very superior VW 13. In theory, maybe.

    In practice, this was a dynamite drink!

  4. #4
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    Re: The Perfect Manhattan

    Maybe you're right
    My point was that, as I understand it, vermouth was originally added to inferior whisky to make it more palatable. This, of course, is not necessary with VW. Like using vintage Bordeaux to make Sangria, it make in fact be "worse" using a better whisky.
    Alan.

 

 

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