Bottoms Up – The Manhattan

A Helluva a City… and a Helluva Cocktail

So one of the things I am afforded in my job is the opportunity to visit and explore some amazing cities. And of them all, one of my favorite recurring visits is to New York City. They don’t call it the greatest city in the world for nothing, ‘ya know? I’m always asked, before I go: “What are you going to do? Visit the Empire State Building? A Broadway show? Hit the museums?”

No, no and nope. I never need a plan. I could spend a week just walking the streets. The sights, sounds, and hustle and bustle ensure that you never get bored. This is particularly true during the fall months, when the perfect weather combined with the boundless energy of th e city just make you feel alive. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that there is also an endless list of great cocktail bars and restaurants, where you can stop in to whet your whistle and enjoy the local culture. It should be no surprise then that this issue’s truly great classic cocktail shares the city’s name; the Manhattan.

Said to have been created in the late 1800’s at the Manhattan Club, this classic combines spice, bite and sweet in a harmonious blend that just echoes history and images of gangsters and days of prohibition with every sip. A popular story says it was created at the club for Winston Churchill’s mother, who was a regular there. This has been widely disputed though, as she was supposedly back in England giving birth to young Winston when this claim was made. Who knows? Maybe the Manhattan was the anesthesia of choice for births back then. I’m sure views on drinking and pregnancy were different back in the day. Anyway, I digress. Let’s get to the drink!

The Manhattan

  • 2 oz Rye (you can use different whiskeys and even bourbon but Rye is the original call and it adds a great spice to the drink)
  • 1 oz sweet red vermouth
  • 3 or 4 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • Stir these ingredients over ice until well chilled and strain into a chilled lowball glass.
  • Toss in a Maraschino cherry and you are done!

Yes it’s just that simple. Now many purists argue that this is one of the greatest cocktails of all time (it is) and smirk at the idea of changing it up at all. But, in the spirit of this fall issue, we are going to do just that. Try this little variation I like to call;

The Big Apple

  • 2 oz Rye
  • 1 oz apple juice syrup
    (combine 1 cup good apple cider – I used Simply Apple™ – with 5 tablespoons Demerara sugar crystals in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, continue to simmer and reduce on low for about 15 minutes)
  • 3 or 4 dashes of Maple Bitters
    (if you can’t find them, angostura will do just fine but a quick google search will lead to all kinds of different bitters you can play with)

Prepare the same way as the classic but hold the cherry. Throw in a cinnamon stick you can use as a stirrer to complete the seasonal theme and you are ready to sit back, relax and watch the leaves change color with some football on the tube. Makes for a great day! Cocktailius