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Thread: The Manhattan

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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    The Manhattan

    There have been threads (I checked) that have touched on aspects of the Manhattan cocktail. E.g., what is the Perfect Manhattan, whether rye or Bourbon should be used, whether old whiskey goes well in Manhattans and other such tangents. None of these simply asked people, how do you make your Manhattan and why do you like it? So I propose this question now.

    Here is my own reply: I like a Manhattan made with almost any kind of U.S. or Canadian whiskey, preferably a rye whiskey or rye-oriented bourbon, but any good whiskey will do. I use red vermouth only, any kind will do except the imitations made in Canada by some wineries. Bitters are essential, any kind. Cherry is essential, red only (recently I was served a Manhattan cocktail with a green cherry lurid in the bottom; did this explain the light headache the next day A.M.? ). I like both rocks and straight-up Manhattans. Proportions: a strict 3:1 whiskey to vermouth. I like Manhattans because the herbs in the vermouth and sweetness meld into the whiskey giving a complex taste, one (too) that seems old-fashioned, an old-time compound from when people did not abjure strong tastes. The Manhattan is flexible but only up to a point. Although I don't use white vermouth or mixtures of red and white, I can see why the Eastern Establishment were fussy about the correct type and amount to use. Small changes to the drink can affect the taste noticeably - mixology requires exactitude and good ingredients, and the right touch - and good company.

    How do you make your Manhattan if you like one? What are its merits in ypur view?

    Gary

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: The Manhattan

    I think you can use any American or Canadian whiskey, but the better the whiskey the better the drink. Even American blended whiskey makes a pretty good Manhattan. I think the vermouth does make a difference. Martini & Rossi is very acceptable and has the advantage of being widely available in 375 ml bottles. Noilly Pratt is better, but hard to find and usually only available in 750 ml bottles, one of which will last me about 20 years. I do like a dash of bitters. Cherry is a must. Ratio of whiskey to vermouth I probably prefer 4:1 but 3:1 is okay and I frequently just free pour and guess. I don't drink Manhattans often but I do like them. Most suplime Manhattan experience was a Manhattan made with Blanton's at the Ritz-Carlton's bar in, well, Manhattan.

  3. #3
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    Re: The Manhattan

    I like a Maraschino Cherry Infused Bourbon, a cherry and the bitters. I make the infusion with drained maraschino's and soak them with WT 101 or OGD BIB. The extra proof is needed with the pomegranate taste of the maraschinos.
    I love them shakin' till little shards of ice will be strained into the chilled glass.
    BTW: I discard all the juice from the cherries. You can tell when the bourbon is ready because the cherries get "Bleached" to a pale brick red.


    Aside: Are grenadine, maraschino cherry juice and sweetened pomegranate juice essentially the same???

  4. #4
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    Re: The Manhattan

    I love them shakin' till little shards of ice will be strained into the chilled glass.
    Okay, there's one vote for "bruising" is okay.

    Since nobody else has voiced their opinions, I did a Google search and it looks like there are mixed opinions about it. If you're into martinis there are some good webpages in that list.


  5. #5
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    Re: The Manhattan

    Grenadine is supposed to be based on pomegranate juice. Not the same as maraschino at all. A common misconconception is that grenadine is cherry flavored.

  6. #6
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    Re: The Manhattan

    Up to this point, the only manhattan I had ever tried was the Apple Manhattan concoction MM had at the Sampler this year and I wasn't overly impressed with that expression.

    Well, I finally broke down to try a Manhattan using the formulation most seem to agree on here. I actually found a 350ml bottle of Noilly Pratt Sweet Vermouth, mixed it in the three to one ratio with my favorite rye VWFRR 13, added a dash of bitters and a cherry. Now comes the question. Do Angostura Bitters go bad or is this drink supposed to taste like licking an ash tray? That's the taste I got and really had to push myself to finish the drink. Bad bitters is the only explanation I can come up with for this. I've had the bottle for as long as I can remember but had never opened it prior to this occasion.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2003 and Super Moderator
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    Re: The Manhattan

    Do Angostura Bitters go bad
    I guess anything can happen but the proofage is so high on those I imagine that a bottle should conceivably last indefinately. I tasted a drop of them and cannot label the flavor with any ashtray attributes.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: The Manhattan

    Bitters can't go bad. I think the burned taste may have come from using extra-aged whiskey. Try it again, Dane, with a younger bourbon or blended whiskey. You can't go wrong, the way you made it (whiskey choice apart) sounds faultless.

    Gary

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: The Manhattan

    Don't know what "dash" means to you, but literally one drop of bitters is enough. Sounds like too much bitters to me.

    I also agree with Gary. Use a more moderate whiskey. It's worth another try.

  10. #10
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    Re: The Manhattan

    When I said dash, I did mean drops, two of them and I guess that must have been too much as you say. I may have to experiment in the morning (after working all night of course) and try again. And as Gary has suggested, will use a little younger whiskey. I'll review notes to see if there are any younger recommendations.

 

 

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