Week 3 of our Mad Men farewell brings us to a cocktail that is every bit as bold, bracing and elegant as a martini. And like the martini, the basic recipe is so simple that people have been arguing about it since it was created back in the late 1800s. Rye or Bourbon? Dry or sweet vermouth? And what of the proportions of spirit to vermouth? Garnish with a Luxardo cherry or a twist?
I’m a classicist when it comes to the classics, so for me a Manhattan is made with rye which has the spiciness that makes the perfect counterpoint to the sweet vermouth. I love bourbon, but its sweetness overwhelms the cocktail. So go with rye and make it a good one, such as WhistlePig, Bulleit, Angel’s Envy, or Knob Creek.
You’ll note that I said sweet vermouth, as that is the traditional ingredient. Some folks prefer an equal measure of dry and sweet vermouth, and that makes a Perfect Manhattan.
As for proportions, when in doubt about how much of what to use, just remember the area code 212.
2 oz rye
1 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine ingredients, over cracked ice, in a mixing glass and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a Luxardo cherry (or a twist).
Easy, Peasy, right?