When I first started drinking hard drinks, I had no idea what the classics were. I owe a lot of thanks to my boyfriend and his family for giving me a basic education in what a cocktail should be, and I would like to share some of what I’ve learned with everyone.
I personally believe that a cocktail should be strong, worrying less about volume and more about flavor and a manhattan is a perfect example of that philosophy. What I’ve also learned is that you should always stay clear of exceptionally inexpensive, i.e. low quality, or exceptionally high quality and expensive liquors. With a low quality alcohol it will ruin the flavor and with higher quality the flavor is probably best enjoyed on its own. That said, higher quality liquor is easier to justify for particular drinks where you can taste the difference, so it’s flexible on the high end.
A manhattan is a whiskey drink and comes in many varieties. Rye and Bourbon are both kinds of whiskey popular for these drinks, and the difference is flavor based on the ingredients used to make it. Either will work, so feel free to experiment and figure out which you like most. A caveat at this step: whiskey at the lower end of the price range is often blended with vodka. Canadian whiskey must contain at least 40% pure whiskey by law, and American produced whiskey has no such requirement. Seagrams brand sells both an import and American made version, and you really want to get the import so check the label before you buy!
Of course more expensive whiskey is not blended, and more delicious for that reason. Even Seagrams, imported, is more than tasty enough for this cocktail. The red vermouth, from Martini brand, the bitters, and the maraschino cherries are less flexible, at least for this recipe. There are certainly variations of the manhattan with changes there, but this is long enough already. Without further ado, a Classic Manhattan:
1 shot whiskey
1/2 shot red vermouth
2 squirts Angostura bitters
Ice and a chilled glass
1 maraschino cherry
Pour the whiskey and red vermouth into a cocktail shaker. Add the bitters, drop 2-3 ice cubes in and swirl or stir for a few seconds. Strain into the chilled glass and garnish with the cherry and enjoy!