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Making a Perfect Manhattan


porcupine
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In case anyone is interested, I believe I've perfected a recipe for a Manhattan. Well, at least to my taste...

"Almost Perfect" Manhattan

Get some good quality tart dried cherries, put 'em in a small bottle, and cover with Vya extra dry vermouth. Let soak for at least a week. Keeps for many weeks in the fridge.

2 1/2 oz of your favorite rye (eg, Sazerac)

3/4 oz Carpano Antica Formula vermouth [at the risk of sounding like JoeH - no other! :) ]

~ 1/2 t cherry liquid

2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 dash Fee Bros. orange bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a few of the cherries.

As Graham Chapman once said, "buttocks up!"

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For my taste, I have always found that a Manhattan made with rye was the only way to go.

I'll be the first (and Jake will be the second :o to suggest that the scandalously-inexpensive and first-rate Rittenhouse bottled-in-bond rye is the only way to go here.

I'm just guessing here, but I'll bet that Manhattans were traditionally made with Canadian whiskey. Think about it - right after prohibition, the Canadian distilleries were able to capitalize on the U.S. situation immediately. I'm sure that Canadian whiskey flowed into New York City like a raging river soon after.

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And there's basically no all-rye Canadian whiskey left.

And to echo Dr. Riley...if I had to bunker away a 20-year supply of one whiskey for when the apocalypse comes, it probably would be Rittenhouse bond. Especially if cost is a consideration.

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I'm just guessing here, but I'll bet that Manhattans were traditionally made with Canadian whiskey. Think about it - right after prohibition, the Canadian distilleries were able to capitalize on the U.S. situation immediately. I'm sure that Canadian whiskey flowed into New York City like a raging river soon after.
According to a number of sources I have read (Mark Kurlansky describes this party in the Big Oyster), the first evidence of what we know today as the Manhattan Cocktail was in the early 1870's at a party at the Manhattan Club hosted by Winston Churchill's mother for Samuel Tilden. With passions still running high after the Civil War, I believe that a such a cocktail being made in New York would have included whisky from a border state, or a free state, therefore most likely rye from Maryland or Pennsylvania.

I do need to give Rittenhouse a try.

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Are we talking about a Perfect Manhattan or a perfect Manhattan. I'm confused.

Either way vermouth is just as important as which Rye you use. Especially since one third of your drink should be vermouth, right?

Carpano Antica Formula. Yeah, and bitters too! Good ol' Angostura. I'm now on a Chinato kick thanks to Mr. Slater's trip to Milan. Try using Chinato, no bitters. (The quinine in the Chinato is bitter enough.)

Derek

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Stop by Citronelle for a Manhattan made with either Thomas Handy 22 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey or Old Portrero "Hotalings" 11 Year Old Rye Whiskey, couple that with some delicious Vya Sweet Vermouth Aperitif. Maraschino cherry optional.

Excellent. Hey, waitaminnit...what Thomas Handy 22 Year Old Rye? I thought there was only the one Handy released so far?

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All this restaurant/bar talk and NO recipes!

Try this one, courtesy of Jake:

3 parts Rye

1/2 part sweet vermouth

1/2 part dry vermouth

Dash of Angostura bitters.

Joe and Jake: You forgot the cherry! I've got a batch of sour cherries I macerated in brandy, kirsch and sugar last July, and they're mighty tasty in the Manhattans we've been making. Palena makes their Manhattans with macerated dried cherries. Both are a great improvement over maraschinos.

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I agree with Derek.

Carpano Antica fans, no worry. Your best bet is the Julia Child-esque Reverse Manhattan...2oz. Carpano Antica, dash orange bitter, dash aromatic bitter of your choice, on a few cubes, then float some rye (Thomas H. Handy is particularly yummy).

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Nice. My wind-down drink for the night just happens to be a Manhattan. CAF, and using Wild Turkey Rye since I've got very little experience with it. 1:1, with dashes of whiskey barrel bitters and a dash of orange bitters as well. Not sure the double-edged bitters approach works, or maybe it's something in the Turkey, but I'm not super happy with this one. It's good, but could be better.

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A Dolin manhattan emphasizes the whiskey, with the vermouth rounding out the edges and adding a bit of subliminal complexity. A Carpano Antica manhattan has so much more spice from the vermouth that the whiskey is subsumed. It's not necessarily a worse drink, but it's a very different drink.
Never ahving had the Dolin, this is not a comment ont he comparison, but a manhattan with Carpano can emphasize the whiskey easily by using the right amount for the whiskey involved. If I am making (or much more likely have one made) a Manhattan with Willets, the proper level of Antica Formula is vastly different than if I am having one with Maker's Mark.

I would love to taste the Dolin, but in my experience there has been no drink needing sweet vermouth that has not been enhanced by using Antica Formula over any of the vermouths I have tried so far.

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I'm surprised that I didn't read anything about Chris's perfect (though pricey) Manhattan that was offered at Dino. I'm not sure if it's still available at Dino (or now available at Enology, where Chris is now), but it was truly the best in the city.

My house Manhattan, which I love, is my own combination of Makers, Vya sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters (though I love a more cinnamony bitter). I go lighter on the vermouth, because I use Makers, a sweeter bourbon.

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