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Thread: The Manhattan

  1. #1
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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
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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

    Gary that's a good question.

    I think the Manhattan is one of the most abused recipes of all time (not to mention the Martini) which has allowed for a wide variety of choice/opinions. Most recipes I've seen tend to lower percentages of whiskey (eg. 2:1 or 3:1), but Whisk(e)y connoisseurs generally prefer a higher percentage (eg, 4:1). Some recent recipes even omit the red vermouth (sacrilegious). In Canada and possibly many US bars, the Manhattan is poured from a "well" Rye which in fact contains very little rye thus very little flavour, thus needing more vermouth and bitters.

    I personally prefer my Manhattan WITHOUT a cherry, now how's that for sacrilegious! I can't get ahold of a good cherry that's not a maraschino.

  4. #4
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    Re: The Manhattan

    The thing with martinis especially has become ridiculous. It seems that the only requirement for calling something a martini is that it be served in a martini glass. Of course, I'm so old school I question the legitimacy of the vodka martini.

  5. #5
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    Re: The Manhattan

    vodka martini
    How about a "Gin & Tonic" made with vodka (ie. no gin???)

    (sorry about the hijack. I won't do it again)

  6. #6
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    Re: The Manhattan

    My perfect Manhattan uses rye: it's a 4:1 mixture of VWFR Rye 13yo + Martini & Rossi red vermouth with two hefty shakes of Angostura bitters. One maraschino cherry is optional but recommended.

    Interestingly enough, as much as I love a straight rye Manhattan, the high-rye bourbons (like OGD 114) don't seem to taste as good to me as the more finesse ones. My theory is that the vermouth takes the edge off the rye notes, so what you're tasting is whatever's left. (ie. rye bourbon without the rye!?)

    My experience has been that the stuff that's left is

  7. #7
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    Re: The Manhattan

    vodka martini
    How about a "Gin & Tonic" made with vodka (ie. no gin???)

    (sorry about the hijack. I won't do it again)


    for reals, i was at a bar and they served "vodka-tonics" i was puzzled because, with a vodka and tonic, where would the flavor come from?whats the point? oh well, my college peers loved it.(girls)

  8. #8
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    Re: The Manhattan

    (I hope this isn't a hijack!)

    Speaking of Manhattans (& martinis), how do you guys feel about the whole "bruising the gin" or "bruising the spirits" thing? Personally, I shake the bejeezus out of anything that goes in the shaker. The output isn't as pretty (you get a cloudy drink), but it seems better blended. Is there any merit to the whole "bruising" thing?

  9. #9
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    Re: The Manhattan

    (sorry about the hijack. I won't do it again)



    DaveM getting thrashed in public for his recalcitrance.

  10. #10
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    Re: The Manhattan

    OUCH!

 

 

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