A lot of classic cocktails are pretty straightforward. Take the daiquiri, for example – a simple combination of white rum, lime, and sugar. And who could forget the easy-to-make negroni? Gin, Campari, Sweet vermouth. But when it comes to the Manhattan cocktail, things aren’t quite as simple as they seem.
Bourbon, vermouth, bitters – done! Well, not quite. The more I’ve delved into the world of Manhattans, the more I’ve realized just how wrong I was. In this post, I’ll share my insights on the differences that make a great Manhattan cocktail and provide you with what I believe is the best Manhattan cocktail recipe.
What is a Manhattan Cocktail?
There are various accounts regarding the true origin of the Manhattan cocktail. Some claim it was invented in the 1860s by a bartender named Black at a bar in NYC. Another popular theory suggests that it was created in the 1870s at the Manhattan Club in NYC during a high-profile event. Regardless of its origin, the Manhattan is a martini-style drink that emerged in 19th-century New York.
Manhattan Cocktail Ingredients
At its core, a Manhattan is one of the simplest classic cocktails out there. It combines 2 parts whiskey, 1 part vermouth, and a few dashes of bitters. Sounds simple, right? In theory, it is. However, in practice, finding the perfect Manhattan is like opening Pandora’s box. Once you start experimenting, there’s no going back.
As a whiskey drinker, I never really enjoyed sweet vermouth. So, I wasn’t particularly fond of Manhattans either. That is until I discovered that not all vermouths are created equal. Brands like Carpano Antica Formula and Cocci di Torino have completely changed the way I perceive this cocktail. These vermouths have unique flavors that can completely transform the drink.
Best Manhattan Cocktail Recipe: How I Prefer My Drink
It’s important to note that there is no single best variation of the Manhattan or any other drink for that matter. What I like might be entirely different from what you prefer. However, after testing around two dozen variations, I have settled on a combination of Knob Creek Rye and Cocci di Torino Vermouth that creates the best Manhattan cocktail for my taste.
I find that rye whiskey, like Knob Creek, adds a spicier and less sweet element to the drink compared to bourbon. When it comes to vermouth, Cocci Vermouth di Torino strikes a perfect balance and doesn’t overpower the other flavors.
To make my perfect Manhattan cocktail, simply add 2oz Knob Creek rye, 1oz Cocci Vermouth di Torino, and 3 dashes of Angostura bitters to a mixing glass. Stir until well chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.
But what I truly love about the Manhattan is its simplicity and the way the ingredients shine through. Change the vermouth or switch to a different bourbon, and you’ll have a completely different cocktail in your hands. Experimenting with bitters is also a great way to add creativity to your Manhattan. Try Scrappy’s chocolate bitters or Dead Rabbit Orinoco Bitters for an interesting twist.
While a negroni might taste the same with different ingredients, a Manhattan is truly game-changing. It’s worth experimenting to discover your perfect Manhattan cocktail.
Remember, when it comes to crafting the perfect Manhattan, there’s no definitive answer. It’s all about finding what you enjoy most. So, gather your ingredients, mix up a Manhattan, and savor the experience.
Cheers to the perfect Manhattan!
You can learn more about BDK Restaurant here.