Category: The Manhattan


The Perfect Manhattan

Article courtesy of the NY Times

Not back in fashion, I mean. That story is at least a decade old, and even then it wasn’t much of a story. Unlike many other cocktails that have recently been roused from long hibernation, the Manhattan never really slumbered, having been kept drowsily awake through the lean years of cocktaildom by French-cuffed businessmen and other habitués of old-guard hotel bars and private clubs. But even those Manhattans — typically mixtures of bourbon or Canadian whiskey, bitters and vermouth finished off with the crimson syrup-grenade we call maraschino — aren’t what I’m talking about.

No, I’m talking about the original Manhattan. The daring, woodsier Manhattan of the 1800s —when New York City was only Manhattan and its eponymous cocktail was the boss of all drinks. Back then, bartenders left out the gloppy maraschino cherries — those didn’t arrive at our shores until 1900 or so — and made the drink exclusively with rye whiskey, bourbon’s sharper-tongued cousin. (For an analogy, think of the difference between rye bread and corn bread). In all likelihood, that rye whiskey came from upstate New York, because, as Ralph Erenzo points out, “There were 1,200 distilleries operating in New York before Prohibition.”

Mr. Erenzo should know. Along with his partner, Brian Lee, Mr. Erenzo is the proprietor of the only whiskey distillery operating in New York State. Their two-man operation, Tuthilltown Spirits, is based out of a converted granary and 18th-century gristmill in Gardiner, N.Y., near New Paltz, that has so far yielded small artisanal batches of bourbon, vodka and the sort of unaged corn whiskey sometimes referred to as moonshine.

On a recent Monday, the two microdistillers introduced their latest offering at a party at the Four Seasons: Hudson Manhattan Rye, a 92-proof whiskey made with 100-percent rye ground at the Tuthilltown mill. “Rye was the New York whiskey,” said Mr. Erenzo, just as the Manhattan was the New York drink. Tuthilltown’s Hudson Manhattan Rye, Mr. Erenzo said, was expressly designed to be mixed into a Manhattan — to reunite, after 70-some years, New York rye whiskey with the cocktail it wrote into history.

The recipe that Tuthilltown’s owners cleave to comes from LeNell Smothers, who owns LeNell’s, a wine and spirits boutique in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Ms. Smothers is fond of what’s called a “perfect Manhattan,” so called for its balanced proportions of sweet and dry vermouth rather than any claim to immaculateness. Ms. Smothers has been a staunch proponent of Tuthilltown’s products, which she admires for their Hudson Valley provenance and the pride and devotion Mr. Erenzo and Mr. Lee are pouring into them. “It’s really exciting to see someone local doing this,” she said. “They’re shaking things up a bit.”

In a sense, that is. The original Manhattan was always stirred.

Perfect Manhattan Adapted from LeNell Smothers

2ounces Tuthilltown Hudson Manhattan rye whiskey

½ounce sweet vermouth (preferably Vya or Carpano Antica)

½ounce dry vermouth

2dashes of orange bitters

Lemon twist, for garnish.

Stir the liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist.

This article is from artofmanliness.com

5 Classic Cocktails Every Man Should Know

There’s been a trend lately to get back to the old way of doing things, especially when it comes to things we ingest. People are eating organic produce, for example, and some are going as far as planting their own gardens. Many chefs are serving old-world comfort food right next to their innovative dishes. This trend has also entered the world of libations. Drink menus around the country are starting to have more of the old classics included on them. Many mixologists are using these cocktails as starting points for newer versions that take advantage of the plethora of products out there today. Recipe books from classic bars such as the Old Waldorf-Astoria, The Savoy, and the Stork Club are available in reprint editions for the new generation to use. And who can forget Old Mr. Boston? They’ve been printings those books since 1935 and still do to this day.

But you don’t need a recipe book to get started mixing up some of the classic cocktails men have been drinking for decades (and in some cases, more than a century). Here’s how to create the 5 classic cocktails every man should know.

Let’s make some drinks!

 1.  The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a bourbon based cocktail, but try it with any whisky. You may find you like the sweeter taste of a Canadian whisky, the more sour taste of the Tennessee stuff, or, for some complexity, use rye. This drink uses a short round glass, sometimes called an Old Fashioned glass, after the drink itself.

Put 1 sugar cube in glass

Add 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters

Add 1 Splash of Soda Water

Muddle (smash) until sugar is dissolved

Fill glass with ice cubes

Add whiskey to the top of the glass, stir

Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry

Notes on Muddling: To muddle just means to smash. You can use whatever is at your disposal. Some bartenders muddle with the back of their bar spoon for light muddling and use a muddler (basically a wooden dowel about the width of a broom handle) for more intense smashing.

Variations:

For a sweeter drink, add more sugar or muddle a peeled orange slice along with the sugar and bitters. For a weaker drink, use less whisky and top with soda water. Use just whiskey, sugar, and bitters to make the Sazerac (swirl the glass with absinthe and dump out before filling for a true one).

2.  The Manhattan

 

Image by larryvincent

Another whiskey based cocktail, more of a variation on a Martini. Where the Martini is gin and dry vermouth, the Manhattan is whiskey and sweet vermouth. And don’t forget the bitters! Angostura or Peychaud’s works fine.

  • 3 parts Canadian or Rye Whiskey
  • 1 part Sweet (Red) Vermouth
  • 1 dash bitters

Make in mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until very cold (stirring is very important to help the ice melt to water it down a bit and make it more palatable). Pour into cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Variations:

Trade the whiskey for scotch to make it a Rob Roy. Trade with brandy for a Metropolitan. If you desire the drink to be sweeter, add some juice from the maraschino cherries.

3.  The Tom Collins

The Tom Collins is a classic long drink. It’s a cool, summer drink, built over ice and served in a tall, slender glass, often called a Collins glass. It’s gin-based, sweet and bubbly.

  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup*
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • Soda Water

Shake Gin, Simple Syrup and Lemon Juice over ice. Fill Collins glass with ice and strain drink into glass. Top with soda water and gently stir. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

*Note about Simple Syrup. Simple syrup can be purchased, but it’s easy to make yourself. Heat a cup of water almost to boil and add a cup of sugar, stirring until completely dissolved. Let cool and add to a container for storage. Should be kept in refrigerator. To make bigger quantities, just make sure to use equal parts sugar and water.

Variations:

Trade vodka for gin to make a Vodka Collins, tequila for a Juan Collins, or rum for a Rum Collins. If you choose to use whiskey and take out the soda water, you’ve essentially made a whiskey sour.

4.  The Sidecar

 

A popular French cocktail, as it uses two liquors made in France. Can be served in a sour glass (a smaller version of an old fashioned glass) or up in a cocktail glass

  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac

Shake over ice and pour into sugar rimmed glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Variations:

This recipe is the “french school.” The English school” calls for a slightly less sweet drink, using more Cognac and less Cointreau, about 3 parts to 1 part, and 1 part lemon juice.

5.  The Martini

Last, but not least, we have the Martini. The most argued about cocktail in the history of drinking. Stir or shake? Vermouth or none? Glass or metal tin? The Martini is THE drink that signifies nightlife and cocktails in general. When someone needs to use one image to symbolize drinking, more often than not, it’s the Martini. That sexy glass, clear liquor, green olive with red pimento. Makes me thirsty just thinking about it.

I’m going to give you the International Bartender’s Association’s official recipe, then explain the countless variations.

  • 4 parts Gin
  • 1 part dry vermouth (sometimes called French or white vermouth)

Pour all ingredients into mixing glass over ice and stir well. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over the drink, discard. Garnish with one green olive.

Variations:

The variations on the Martini could fill a whole book. Keep in mind there is no “right” way, only the way you want your drink. I’ll list a few of the most popular.

Vodka Martini: use vodka in place of gin, garnish with lemon twist

Churchill: A Martini with no vermouth. Basically cold gin in a glass. Legend has it Churchill would “look in the direction of France” and that would be plenty of vermouth.

Roosevelt: Two olives instead of one. Even number of olives is considered bad luck by some.

Dirty Martini: Add olive brine to taste.

Burnt Martini: Uses scotch instead of vermouth.

Buckeye: Martini with a black olive.

Gibson: Martini with an onion instead of an olive.

Dickens: Martini with no garnish. No “olive or twist”.

Vesper Martini: 3 parts Gin, 1 part Vodka, 1/2 part Lillet, lemon twist, shaken, not stirred. James Bond’s martini. Also called a 007.

Bradford: A standard Martini shaken, not stirred.

Notes on vermouth: when someone orders their Martini “dry” or “extra dry” that means to use LESS dry vermouth. People will order a Martini with no vermouth, not knowing that they’re ordering a Churchill. Some prefer the “in-and-out” method, which means to pour vermouth over ice into the mixing glass you’ll be using for the Martini and dumping it straight out before adding the Gin. Some will order a “Perfect” Martini, which in the cocktail world means equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. Others will order a “Sweet” Martini, meaning the use of sweet vermouth is preferred over dry. These will be garnished with a cherry.

Notes on garnishes: Traditionally, a single green olive or a lemon rind twist is used. Using a cocktail onion makes it a Gibson. One of the origin stories is, an American diplomat who did not drink would ask that his glass be filled with water and garnished with an onion instead of an olive so he could pick his glass out of a sea of Martinis. There are a few others. No one really knows the truth, which is part of the fun. Some people garnish with pickled okra, jalapeno peppers, pickles, lemon twists, lime twists. The possibilities are endless.

Notes on stirring or shaking: Traditionally, the drink is stirred. Some people believe shaking causes tiny bubbles which don’t allow for the drink to fully hit the tongue, making it unable to cleanse the palate fully between courses of food. Or that it “bruises the gin” making it taste sharper and less palatable. Others claim that shaking is the way to go, that “bruising the gin” is preferred because it releases the botanical oils in the gin and makes for a more floral drink. There is a taste difference, and it is a matter of preference.

These are five classic cocktails, and with the variations, many more. There are many I left out, and some of you will have your favorites that I didn’t include. I tried to choose ones that are classic, popular, easy to make, and have stood the test of time, so you can do it at home. Enjoy, have fun, and hopefully you’ll find an new favorite in an old classic.

The Manhattan

One of the finest and oldest cocktails. The Manhattan was the first cocktail that used vermouth as a modifier. As with a Martini, there are slight variations of the drink that are a matter of preference (see the list below).

I had been under the impression for the longest time that a Manhattan used Canadian whiskey (as I’m told many others are) but after a few traditionalist Manhattanite’s comments and a couple of drinks I’m convinced that rye whiskey makes the best Manhattan. After all, it was the original whiskey used for the drink.

Ingredients:

Instructions

from Esquire.com

Shake the rye,* vermouth, and bitters well with cracked ice. (Some insist that a proper Manhattan must be stirred, so as to prevent “clouding” or undue fraternization between the whiskey and the vermouth; Esquire says, let ’em mingle.) Strain into in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with twist or, of course, maraschino cherry (which is subject to the same challenge re: purity as adding an olive to a martini).

Of course, human beings, being human beings, can never leave well enough alone. Here, then, are the obligatory variants.

First, a few you can make by monkeying around with the bitters: Lose the Angostura and pitch in a splash of Amer Picon and it’s a Monahan; a splash of anisette and it’s a Narragansett; 2 dashes of cherry brandy and a dash of absinthe and you’ve got a McKinley’s Delight. Leave a dash of the Angostura in, add a dash of orange bitters and 3 dashes of absinthe: a Sherman.

Or you can tinker with the vermouth. Replace half the Italian vermouth with French for a so-called Perfect Manhattan. Equal parts of rye, French vermouth, and Italian vermouth: a Jumbo. Make that with bourbon: a Honolulu (no bitters at all in those last two). Cut the Italian vermouth entirely and make it half bourbon and half French vermouth: a Rosemary. To turn that into a Brown University, just add a couple dashes of orange bitters. Coming almost full circle, if you make your classic 2-to-1 Manhattan with French vermouth instead of Italian and a dash of Amer Picon and one of Maraschino, you’re in Brooklyn. And there are more — the Rob Roy, for one, but we gotta stop somewhere.

* In case of emergency — you need a Manhattan and you’re passing a bar of the “Rye? Nah.” variety — Canadian Club will do; it’s got lots of rye in it.

More information on the Manhattan

When properly built, the Manhattan is the only cocktail that can slug it out toe-to-toe with the martini. It’s bold and fortifying, yet as relaxing as a deep massage. J.P. Morgan used to have one at the close of each trading day. It’s that kind of drink.

“When properly built” — there’s the problem. For a real Manhattan, you need rye whiskey. No amount of fiddling with the vermouth and bitters can save this drink if you’ve got bourbon in the foundations; it’s just too sticky-sweet. But with rye, this venerable creation — its roots stretch back to the old Manhattan Club, in 1874 — is as close to divine perfection as a cocktail can be. The harmony between the bitters, the sweet vermouth, and the sharp, musky whiskey rivals even that existing between gin and tonic water.

All things change, and immortality is not in the grasp of man or his creations. For many a year, it seemed that the virtual disappearance of rye meant that the real Manhattan had gone the way of the Aztecs. Luckily, that’s not the end of the story. The wave of high living that washed us out of the last century has brought with it a renewed interest in fine, funky old things like cigars, big-band jazz, and rye whiskey. Sure, sometimes this gets carried to extremes, but if that means that nobody will ever again pour a bourbon Manhattan, we’ll gladly put up with all the dipshits in “Make Mine with Rye” T-shirts.