Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Cocktail Wednesdays: The Manhattan
Tonight, we chose to have Manhattans, since we had bought a bottle of rye whiskey, and were trying it for the first time. On Friday, before our annual Halloween party (well, it's only my second year being involved, but it's Scott's seventh), we went to the store and stocked up on alcohol for the party and were lucky enough to be able to get a couple of bottles just for Wednesday night as well. Since I hadn't really been thinking a lot about it and I didn't know if we'd even be getting rye, I didn't look up recommendations before we headed out. We just took the recommendation of the folks at Merchant's, which we trust since they are quite knowledgeable and have the best selection in the area. The Russell's Reserve Rye that we came home with turned out to be a good choice.
Russell's Reserve Rye is named after Jimmy Russell, master distiller at Wild Turkey, and is produced by the same company, the Austin, Nichols division of Pernod Ricard. It is a six-year-old small batch production. Trying the rye itself, it is definitely not sweet like a bourbon, which we have used in the past in Manhattans. It's spicy and smooth, with a bit of a bite and a hint of leather.
2.5 oz Rye
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Maraschino cherry
Add rye, vermouth and bitters to a mixing glass. Stir over ice and strain into a rocks glass. Add a few more cubes of ice to the glass and garnish with the cherry.
The verdict: The Manhattan is not a new drink to us, but we both think this is one of the best Manhattans we have ever had. We used the Maraschino cherries we made, and I can taste the hint of Maraschino in the cocktail. In our experience, including the bitters in a Manhattan makes a huge difference from what is often served at many bars. If you have never had a Manhattan, it's a wonderful drink for fall. The sweet vermouth adds a warmth and spiciness to the flavor, and I think that the sweet aspect is balanced nicely by the rye.