With special thanks to http://www.bevx.com
The Manhattan (recipe) is a classic cocktail invented in a bar of the same name in 1874. The original calls for just three ingredients: 2 ounces of Rye Whiskey, 1 ounce of Italian Sweet Vermouth, and a couple dashes of bitters. Stir with ice, don’t shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (erroneously called a martini glass in some circles).
The above paragraph likely seems harmless enough to most folks but I have already started a screaming fit somewhere. The first order of contention is the Whiskey. Some are insistent that it must be Rye while others are happy to make theirs with Bourbon. What’s the difference? In most cases Bourbon is sweeter than Rye so the resulting drink is sweeter as well. The second area of disagreement is the age-old argument of shaken versus stirred. I’ve had them both ways and I like them both ways with the shaken being a bit colder with small flecks of ice and a bit more diluted, which isn’t a bad thing.
Knowing how to make a Manhattan is as easy as reading. Practice will make it better and allow you to explore the subtle variations. It also builds the comfort required to make a few tweaks. Substitute the Rye with Irish or Canadian Whiskey and you have a new drink. Swap the Italian Vermouth for French and another variation is born. Swap the bitters for Absinthe, Amaro, or Fernet and yet another set of variations are born. The possibilities are endless. Then of course there is the last old argument concerning the garnish. Do you finish the drink with a Maraschino cherry or a lemon or both? I like mine with a twist.