Classic Manhattan

by Columbine Quillen on December 10, 2009

Right as you think that spring might be just around the corner, winter shows her frigid face and instead of sunshine and bicycle rides you endure prevailing winds and white out skiing. But fear not, there is warmth to found in the most chilling of winters from the inside out with a favorite winter classic, the manhattan.
Although there is a bit of debate, most agree that the manhattan was created in 1870 at the Manhattan Club in New York City. It was invented for a party that Winston Churchill’s mother was giving for Samuel J. Tilden, who was running for president that year.
One of the simplest of the classic cocktails to make, the manhattan is a combination of whiskey, sweet vermouth (a fortified wine with aromatic herbs and spices), and Angostura bitters (a extremely potent secret recipe of herbs, spices, and alcohol).
When mixing a manhattan, sweet vermouth should be used sparingly, as it has a very strong flavor that will overpower the flavor of the whiskey. This is particularly important if you are making a manhattan with a whiskey or bourbon that you consider a sipping whiskey.
As for whether to use whiskey or bourbon, that is really up to the drinker. Bourbon is American whiskey that is distilled from fermented corn and must be aged in charred oak barrels for at least two years, although most premium bourbons are aged for four years. Canadian Whiskey is a blend of different grains such as corn, wheat, rye, or barley and is typically aged in used oak barrels for four to six years. Canadian Whiskeys tend to be lighter in body than American whiskey.
As for Irish whiskey, it is my favorite to mix a manhattan. Irish whiskey is made from barley and rye, which have been steeped in water so that they germinate and become malt. It is distilled at a very low temperature so the whiskey retains a sweet toasty honey flavor.
A manhattan by any other name might just be made with Scotch whisky, as that is a rob roy.

Classic Manhattan
5 oz whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
4 drops angostura bitters
Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

- Columbine Quillen
I am a mixologist bartender and this is my blog.

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