Friday Feeling #7

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Manhattan

For this American classic you will need:

2 shots rye whiskey
1 shot Italian vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters

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.

Recipe courtesy of Esquire Magazine.

James

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