Cocktails of the Week
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Cocktail of the week no.7: the Manhattan

For this week’s cocktail, I’m going for a real classic – the Manhattan. It’s a super simple cocktail along the lines of a Martini – mainly just spirit and vermouth. Here it’s whisky (preferably rye) and sweet vermouth, with some Angostura bitters thrown in.

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There’s no great certainty about where or when the Manhattan originated, but it seems safe to say that it was in New York in the latter half of the 19th century. I’m amazed at the amount of variation possible with a Manhattan – make it with all sweet vermouth, or half sweet and half dry vermouth (a Perfect Manhattan), make a brandy Manhattan, a Cuban Manhattan (with dark rum), a Tijuana Manhattan (with tequila), a Rob Roy (with Scotch instead of rye). I made mine with a ratio of 2:1 whiskey to vermouth, but the recipe in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks suggests a 5:1 ratio (yikes). For some variations right here on WordPress, Cocktail Monologue has begun a series of really interesting-looking ‘Manhattan Mondays.’

I’ve stuck to my beloved Serious Eats for the recipe, as follows:

2 oz rye whiskey (I used Rittenhouse)
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Mix all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Verdict? Delightful. I love the way the vermouth complements the whisky, taking the edge off but somehow also bringing its spicy flavour to the fore. Sweet, but with a serious kick. I feel like a moderately sophisticated grandma.

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