I love me a good Manhattan. A few years ago, before the big cocktail boom in the city, it was nearly impossible to find a good one – and believe me, I tried. I used to blame the vermouth – every bartender seemed to just pour it in there, making a sweet mess of things. But truth be told, as much as I wanted to love Manhattans, I couldn’t even make one myself that tasted just right.
Until, that is, I read Jonathan Miles’ article on the perfect Manhattan in the NY Times. I immediately went home and mixed up a batch, and what a revelation. It turns out that from the whiskey to the bitters, I was doing it all wrong. Bourbon? What was I thinking? It’s all in the Rye, bourbon’s dry witted cousin. This may be old news to you, but believe me, back in 2007 no one was using rye. Then there’s a little secret that you may not know of just yet – don’t be stingy, use both sweet and dry vermouth. The dry vermouth provides the perfect bitter counterpoint to the sweet stuff. To top it all off, toss the Angostura and trade it in for a dash of orange bitters. Somewhere, an angelic choir will be singing from your first sip to the last.
Perfect Manhattan Adapted from LeNell Smothers
2 oz. Rye whiskey
½ oz. Sweet vermouth
½ oz. dry vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish.
Stir the liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.
Yield: 1 serving