January 3 – Manhattan

The Rat Pack enjoy a drink and a laugh together.

The Rat Pack enjoy a drink and a laugh together. Not a rare sight.

The Manhattan is one of my favourite cocktails. It makes me think about the glory days of The Rat Pack – it was among their preferred drink of choice, after all – and the sort of Golden Age they lived through. Back when you had to have some level of talent to be a star, instead of a boob job, hit YouTube video or trashy reality show. A time of fedora hats, pin-striped suits and crazy, yet mysteriously classy parties. I love the stories of Frank, Dean, Sammy and the gang working long hours filming their movies and partying through the night before heading back to work the next day. These guys oozed swagger and machismo and made it look easy. If these originators of cool loved the Manhattan, that’s good enough for me.

Near the top on my growing bucket list, liquor edition, is have a Manhattan, while in Manhattan. If I happen to be donning a fedora and be decked out in a pin-striped suit, that would be the icing on the cake. Not that I’m saying that I own a fedora and pin-striped suit (but I do). I like to think that I’d be making the boys proud.

The Manhattan recipe is fairly simple, but one of the beauties of it is the interchangeable parts. I like trying different whiskies and bourbons to achieve a different taste. Some of my preferred alcohols to use include Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon (suggested to me by an instructor at Fine Art Bartending), Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey (suggested by me to that very same instructor) and for the Canadian in all of us, Crown Royal. The Sweet Vermouth can also be subbed out for a variety of different results. Dry Vermouth can be used instead, as can other liqueurs like Maraschino Cherry flavoured, Grand Marnier and many other options. Be playful with your own recipe and see what you come up with.

There are two ways that I like to present the Manhattan. The first is in a martini glass (the traditional way) and the second is on ice in a rocks glass. Both drinks use the same proportions, with the only difference being that for the Manhattan martini, you stir (don’t shake) all the ingredients with ice and strain from a mixer. Both drinks I’ve garnished with a Maraschino cherry, although the cherry in the martini glass just sunk to the bottom to make nice bourbon-soaked treat waiting for you at the finish line!

Drink #3: The Manhattan

Manhattan Cocktail

  • 3 oz Whiskey or Bourbon of your choice (I used Jim Beam Black Cherry Bourbon)
  • 2 oz Sweet Vemouth
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Let me know if you have any whiskey suggestions or any other tweaks to the Manhattan recipe. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I love Manhattans so much that I made two different versions! I’ve always been more of an ‘on the rocks’ type guy, but the Martini version of the cocktail was good, too. I have to give a super thumbs up to my decision to use Black Cherry Bourbon in these recipes and suggest you do, as well.

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