The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Perfect Manhattan

The holy grail of my cocktailing career is the perfect Manhattan.  I thought it only appropriate to start the rebirth of this blog with this exceptional concoction.  The Manhattan is a true classic: simple, elegant and potent.  Thurber’s spot on quote about Martini’s is just as applicable here.

With only three ingredients (two if you omit the bitters), the perfect recipe comes down to the brands and the ratio of whiskey to vermouth.  For many years I stuck with a three to one ratio, but lately I have felt that the vermouth needed a slightly stronger presence, so I have switched to a two to one ratio.  The number of Sweet Vermouths available is relatively limited, making this selection easier.  My current favorite is Martini & Rossi. 

As for whiskey there are countless options here, bourbon, rye, Tennessee whiskey and Canadian whisky.  I have tried many variants.  Rye did not agree with me and the Canadian was a little too sweet. I was a die hard Maker’s Mark proponent but recently tried Gentleman Jack and have given it a slight edge.  Rounded out with a strong dash of angostura bitters and three cherries you have the perfect flavor balance.

Serve this devilishly good mixture in a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy every sip!

3 oz bourbon
1 ½ oz sweet vermouth
dash of angostura bitters
Combine everything in a cocktail shaker or pitcher with ice and mix.  Serve in a chilled cocktail glass with three cherries.