• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

skbohler

Best Manhattan variations?

147 posts in this topic

My husband and I typically drink straight Scotch or Gin cocktails, and I've never liked bourbon. Sorry, but it tastes frighteningly like the banana flavored antibiotic Augmentin. Somewhere I got the idea that a Manhattan was always made with bourbon.

Wait you're telling me there's an antibiotic out there that tastes like Bourbon?! I better call the doctor, think I feel a cold coming on...


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where my wife comes from, the default Manhattan is made with brandy. I rather like them but I don't think they hold a candle to the rye version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Favorite basic Manhattan iteration: 2:1 Rittenhouse 100pf to Carpano, 2 dashes Fee 2007 Whiskey Barrel bitters, lemon twist. (if I'm feeling spendy I'd go with the Van Winkle Rye, even over Saz 18 or Handy)

Favorite riffs on manhattan/brooklyns (that type of thing):

Red Hook (mentioned above)

Green Point - 2 rye, 1/2 green chartreuse, 1/2 punt e mes, dash orange bitters (recipes across the net vary on the bitters)

Weatherly - 2 rye, 1/2 cynar, 1/2 apperol, scant barspoon fernet, orange twist

Dewey D - 2 rye, 3/4 Lustau East India Sherry, 1/2 aperol, 1 dash Angostura, orange twist

Custer - 2 rye, 1/2 galliano, 3 barspoons cynar, 2 dashes each rhubarb and celery bitters, orange twist

Little Italy - (mentioned above)

Left Hand - 1.5 bourbon, 3/4 campari, 3/4 sweet vermouth, 2 dashes mole bitters, cherry

and my two tweaks of the Left Hand

Lemony - 2 rye, 3/4 campari, 3/4 sweet vermouth, lemon twist

Orangey - 2 rye, 3/4 campari, 3/4 sweet vermouth, 2 dashes Reagan's OB, orange twist

Too bad it's only 2pm, because now I feel like a cocktail.


Edited by campus five (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Left Hand is almost a Boulevardier, apart from the addition of bitters. The Boulevardier, and its associated variation the Old Pal, are both excellent. Use the extra dry style for the Old Pal though, like Cinzano, not something like Noilly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would it be impermissibly curmudgeonly of me to suggest that the best variation is to just make the damn thing properly, with no monkey business or dashes of whatever's trendy?

Two parts rye, one part sweet vermouth, a couple of dashes of Angostura, stirred and served up with a squeeze of lemon oil over the top. No variation ever mixed or mooted can beat that.

I've actually gained somewhat of a reputation among some of my friends and a few new acquaintances that I make really good Manhattans. Funny thing is, I don't really do anything out of the ordinary other than "to just make the damn thing properly" using the exact formula above. I suspect that a lot of people who have had Manhattans out have had been served cheap well bourbon (or--shudder--blended whiskey) and maybe a small dash of sweet vermouth, and no bitters. Therefore, they've never tasted a real Manhattan.

My idea of a variation is to try different bitters or different vermouths.


Edited by brinza (log)

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made Manhattans at the first of my cocktail classes recently, and they were a revelation for most of the people there. To your brief list of problems in my students' past I'd add industrial "maraschino" cherries, ancient vermouth and bitters, and wet ice.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking about all this earlier and recalled a variation I was quite fond of some time back in which a short dash of Absinthe is added to the standard formula. I was drinking a lot of these in the second half or so of last year, but I never did quite figure out if it had a preexisting name (wasn't trying very hard, either). Anyone know anything about that? I was pleased to see that that was included in the official recipe endorsed by our own Dr. Wondrich at the infamous Woodford Reserve promotion I wrote about over here. Good times.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't believe the Rob Roy hasn't come up yet! It's probably my favorite cocktail, subbing scotch for the bourbon in a Manhattan. Bartenders seldom know what it is though, usually they think I'm asking for a Roy Rogers so I have to quickly explain that it's "A Manhattan with Scotch."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't believe the Rob Roy hasn't come up yet! It's probably my favorite cocktail, subbing scotch for the bourbon in a Manhattan. Bartenders seldom know what it is though, usually they think I'm asking for a Roy Rogers so I have to quickly explain that it's "A Manhattan with Scotch."

If only that order were a guarantee of a decent drink! My trials with trying to order Rob Roys are only marginally less grim than with Manhattan attempts. I gave up on ordering either in >95% of all drinking establishments long ago.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we're talking about it (sort of), I really like a Brooklyn variation, subbing the Amer Picon with Averna:

3 oz. Overholt 80*

.75 oz. NP Original

.5 oz. Averna

1/2 barspoon Luxardo M

dash Ango Orange

dash Ango


_________________________

Dave Kaye

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a good Manhattan variation that we tried tonight and really liked, another Sam Ross creation.

The Grandfather

1 oz bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace)

1 oz apple brandy (I used Daron Calvados)

1 oz sweet vermouth (I used Vya)

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 dash Peychaud bitters

3 brandied cherries

7066465185_a4eebccb8e_z.jpg

I just tried this, subbing a tiny splash of Heering for the brandied cherries. It's not bad. Certainly I enjoyed it more than the standard.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Acknowledging the orthodoxy of Spliflicator and others that, when it comes to Manhattans, there is no substitute for a properly made one --

is it possible, psychologically speaking, to hold this truth as an item of spiritual mixological belief, but at the same time to acknowledge that "the best Manhattan variation" is second only to "the true, correct Martini recipe" in terms of potentially endless permutations based on individual preference, the mood of the moment, historic variances in ingredients and recipes, and pure whim?

And that being said (not that I'm expecting an answer) two recently tasty variations I've tried were:

1. Dushan Zaric's Employees Only formula that adds a barspoon of Grand Marnier -- particularly good to introduce newcomers to the Manhattan family

2. A variant on the Red Hook that I made for a school fundraiser of 2 oz. Rittenhouse, 1/2 oz. each Punt e Mes and Cio Ciocare, and a dash of Angostura, served with an orange twist. Without serious stirring, it was potent, but it mellowed wonderfully.

Hey, we got five boroughs here and neighborhoods multiplying and morphing as fast as the real estate flunkies can type, I say the more variations the merrier!


Edited by Yojimbo (log)

"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made a Manhattan variation tonight called the Waldorf Cocktail (via Bartender's Choice). The only difference with the Manhattan is the absinthe rinse (I used Pernod pastis) which was a very nice addition. The Pernod was a good match with the very fruit-forward Vya sweet vermouth.

7332324392_86d2c2b38f_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm fond of a Manhattan variation I came up with last year.

Eastchester

2 oz. Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof

3/4 oz. Ramazzotti Amaro

2 squirts Dutch's Colonial Bitters

stirred over ice

garnished with flamed Orange zest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the Toronto cocktail

2 oz rye

.25 oz Fernet branca

.25 oz 1:1 simple syrup

stir over ice, strain

garnish with orange peel

I'll often also make a 2:1 Manhattan with either rye or bourbon, Carpano, and .25 oz Fernet with or without 2 dashes Angostura...so many possibilities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm fond of a Manhattan variation I came up with last year.

Eastchester

2 oz. Rittenhouse Rye 100 proof

3/4 oz. Ramazzotti Amaro

2 squirts Dutch's Colonial Bitters

stirred over ice

garnished with flamed Orange zest

I love experimenting with subbing amari for vermouth in Manhattan variations, and Ramazzotti always works well. I've also used Amaro Montenegro and Luxardo Abano. My usual dilemma is whether to go ahead and still add the bitters. On one hand it seems redundant but OTOH, it seems like heresy to not use them.


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooh, Luxardo Abano in a Manhattan-formula drink. Great idea. The black pepper seems really complementary to the rye spice. I guess I could *force* myself to drink one on a hot day.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooh, Luxardo Abano in a Manhattan-formula drink. Great idea. The black pepper seems really complementary to the rye spice. I guess I could *force* myself to drink one on a hot day.

I checked, your forecasted high for the day is 77F. I think you're probably in the clear...we practically still wear jackets with those temps down here :wink:


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The other evening I found myself at a friend’s home for an early evening cocktail. The boy just recently moved into his new condo and had a very successful “Stock the Bar” housewarming. However, being the consummate bachelor, he had ZERO mixers and not a single piece of fruit in the house. Not even an unnaturally vibrant maraschino. I was fine with the latter, but really wanted a brandied cherry.

So, what was I to do? Improvise.

Noticing the opened bottle of Carpano Antica that surely needed to be used before it was past its time, AND a bottle of Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Methode, which I had not had up until this evening, I obviously had to do something with them.

Grabbing a bottle of Bulleit Rye, I thought, "something Manhattanish".

2oz Bulleit Rye

1oz Carpano Antica

.5oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Methode

Stirred with ice poured into a rocks glass a la Sazerac style – he has limited glassware.

They were delicious.


Edited by syoung68 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wait. He had a stock-my-bar housewarming party and he got Bulleit Rye, CAF, and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao?

When I had one, I got a gift set of a bottle of Bailey's and two logo glasses. Your friend has some friends.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a dry Manhattan variation (bourbon, dry vermouth and orange bitters), the Brown Cocktail, named after the University. I've been doing so many sweet Manahattan variations lately, sometimes it's good to change things a bit! For the orange bitters I like to do one dash each of Regan's and Angostura.

8177237866_c291670508_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just did a cocktail called the FitzRoy for Eater Philly's Cocktail Week. FitzRoy is the surname that's been given to illegitimate children of the king since the 12th century and Henry I. He apparently had quite a few. Since it's a bastard child of a Manhattan, the name seemed fitting.

FitzRoy

1.5 oz. El Dorado 5 Rum

.75 oz. Elijah Craig 12 yr. bourbon

.75 oz. Punt e Mes

2-3 dashes orange bitters

Garnish: Orange twist (flamed or not as you prefer)

Stirred, strained into a chilled coupe. Garnished.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.