A Manhattan-off

My Cocktail Book author said, “sometimes you just have to sit down and do the taste test to find out if you are a Bourbon whisky Manhattan person or a rye whisky Manhattan person.”  A. and I accepted his challenge and did just that.  The result?  We are both Bourbon whisky Manhattan people. But we think maybe with lemon garnish instead of cherries, we might enjoy rye whisky Manhattans.  Further tests will ensue.

5 thoughts on “A Manhattan-off”

  1. More please. Do you try different vermouths as well? Which ryes and bourbons did you sample? What cherries are you using? Your readers must know!

  2. My dad is a Manhattan guy! Funny that Shawn is too. THey are not my cup of tea, too strong and not sweet enough. I essentially always want to be drinking an alcoholic form of kool-aid! 🙂

  3. Ah the detailed questions. First off, the book. The Cocktail Primer by Eben Klemm. The recipe he gives for a Manhattan is 2 oz American whisky, 1 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes angostura or orange bitters (we used angostura) Lemon peel, cocktail cherry or maraschino cherry for garnish. We used cherries.

    For the rye, I bought a basic Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Rye Whisky. Ariel brought the bourbon and I don't remember what kind. I'll try to get her to weigh in. One of the not quite fair parts of the comparison was that she had a mid-range bourbon and I had a bottom of the line rye.

    For Vermouth we used the Gallo Sweet Vermouth I've had kicking around in the cupboard for forever. Mr. Klemm mentions somewhere in his book that freshness makes a difference with vermouth, but I'm never going to make the volume of cocktails he does, so my vermouth will probably never be fresh, except when I open a new bottle.

    The cherries were also contributed by Ariel and they were great. I can't remember what they are called, but you can get them at the liquor store on Hawthorne near the Burgerville in Portland.

    We should probably repeat this experience with a professional bartender to see if the results are different.

  4. I'm not sure that I've ever had a Manhattan. Sounds tasty enough for a try. You're making me want to pick up a cocktail book and have some fun. I wonder if my hubby would have any interest in that.

  5. Manhattans were my entry cocktail to serious experimentation and other bar skills so it's pretty interesting to me. All of the variables will make an important difference in the end drink. If you were using an old Gallo, it's probably not contributing much of anything to the drink. There are great small splits of better vermouths, like Dolin or even Martini, that you can use up in a shorter period of time. Too, keeping them in the refrigerator helps extend their shelf life a bit once opened.

    I've become fond of Bulleit Rye for both Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. The Carpano Antica vermouth I have been using is interesting, spicy with cinnamon and other notes.

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