The King of Cocktails

It being Mad Men season and all, Sunday nights now demand a cocktail.   And even if it wasn't so appropriate to the show, a Manhattan would be my cocktail of choice.   While Mahhattans made with bourbon or Canadian whiskey are find, made with real rye they're even better.    As a recent survey of cheap alcohol at The Awl also found, Rittenhouse Rye might be the best value at your local intelligently stocked liquor store, a whiskey that is not merely decent in a mixed drink but actively enjoyable on the rocks that you can sometimes find for less than 20 bucks.   In any case, it makes a perfect Manhattan, and the addition of vermouth makes it an even better deal.    So:

  • Put a martini or old-fashioned glass in the freezer.
  • Combine about 2 - 2 1/2 parts rye (if you can't find Rittenhouse, Sazerac is equally good although a little pricier; Wild Turkey Rye is OK but I'd probably just use bourbon in that case) with about 1 part sweet vermouth over ice in a cocktail shaker.   If you're using bourbon, especially a smoother one like Maker's Mark, use less vermouth.
  • Add a couple dashes of bitters.
  • Shake or stir.   I frankly won't pretend to care about this issue; the phrase "mouth feel" makes my bullshit detector go to 11.  
  • Pour into the frozen glass.   Add a good maraschino cherry if desired. 
Libations don't get better.


  1. I think I may require some additional thoughts about what constitutes, "a good maraschino cherry" if you please.

    By now you know my feelings on shaking v. stirring.

  2. On cherries, if the only available ones are the fire engine red ones they sell in the supermarket, pass. Good cherries, OK. The ones Crunchy Chelle made for the food swap we're using now are an excellent example of good ones.

  3. Shaken/stirred isn't about mouthfeel (or shouldn't be) but about clarity. A shaken cocktail will be a bit cloudy, which some martini and manhattan drinkers think is bad. A stirred cocktail will be absolutely clear. Stirred martinis are a must for me, but I don't care as much about the manhattan. The bitters ought to be Angostura, by the way.


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