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Tips for a Dry Manhattan?


JimJohn
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So far I've seen:

- 2oz Canadian/Rye/Bourbon Whiskey

- 1oz Dry Vermouth

- Dash of Bitters (Aromatic/Orange)

Whiskey: I don't quite understand the differences in Whiskeys. It seems to be either based on location produced or type of grain, but if Canadian Whiskey contains Rye, which would you call it?

Bitters: Dash =/= Drop? More of a shake the same way you would with Tobasco sauce?

Any Suggestions? I'd love to try different varieties, just don't know where to start, or if there are any definite things that must be involved, versus others which definitely should not be used.

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Start with either bourbon or rye or both. If you can find Rittenhouse, Bulleit, or Wild Turkey rye, start there.

Get a fresh bottle of dry vermouth. Noilly Prat, Martini & Rossi, Dolin: any of those would get you started. If you can find Dolin, start there.

Get a bottle of bitters. If you can find Regan's #6, Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Own Decanter, or Angostura, start there.

Put 2 oz spirit, 1 oz vermouth, and two dashes of the bitters in a mixing glass. (Expel a dash by holding the bottle above the glass, pointing down, and quickly gesturing downward into the glass, moving your forearm about 8-12" in a firm, stabbing motion. Do that twice.)

Stir the liquids with enough cold, large pieces of cracked ice (or small ice cubes if that's what you've got) for 30 seconds or so.


Strain the drink into a chilled glass.

Twist a small piece of lemon peel over the top of the drink and drop it in.

Enjoy.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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(Expel a dash by holding the bottle above the glass, pointing down, and quickly gesturing downward into the glass, moving your forearm about 8-12" in a firm, stabbing motion. Do that twice.)

This is going to take some practice :raz:

Thank you kindly, good sir. I'll get to it.

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To be called rye or bourbon, whiskey needs to meet certain legal requirements set by the U.S. government. Among them: the spirit must be distilled from a grain mixture (mash) at least 51% of which is made up by the base grain (rye for rye, corn for bourbon). Other requirements affect the kinds of wood can be aged in (new charred oak) and the proofs they can be distilled to and bottled at. For more information including leading styles and brands, see here for rye and here for bourbon.

Canadian whisky (no "e" when it's Canadian) has much looser legal standards than American whiskey, so while it can be made in a manner similar to bourbon or rye it's also often diluted with grain neutral spirits (similar to vodka) and can be flavored by non-grain additives including brandy and wine. Generally, Canadian whisky tastes softer, milder, and more diluted than American whiskeys.

The Manhattan was originally a rye drink, and rye's dryness and strong backbone make it a perfect fit for the drink. Nowadays it's often made with bourbon though and that can sometimes be a great choice as well. I don't generally recommend Canadian whisky for Manhattans, because its softness often makes it disappear in cocktails. Besides, there are so many great values in bourbon and rye that you can mix yourself a stellar cocktail for very cheap. I second the recommendation for Rittenhouse 100 proof rye if you can find it; on the bourbon side, Old Grand Dad Bonded and 114, Wild Turkey 101, Buffalo Trace, Jim Beam Black, and Old Weller Antique 107 are all great whiskeys for around $20 or even lower.

Edited by Rafa (log)

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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To offset the dryness of the vermouth in a dry Manhattan, you might want to go with a bourbon, as they tend to be sweeter with more corn flavor and more caramel and vanilla flavor from oak.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Start with either bourbon or rye or both. If you can find Rittenhouse, Bulleit, or Wild Turkey rye, start there.

Get a fresh bottle of dry vermouth. Noilly Prat, Martini & Rossi, Dolin: any of those would get you started. If you can find Dolin, start there.

Get a bottle of bitters. If you can find Regan's #6, Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas Own Decanter, or Angostura, start there.

Put 2 oz spirit, 1 oz vermouth, and two dashes of the bitters in a mixing glass. (Expel a dash by holding the bottle above the glass, pointing down, and quickly gesturing downward into the glass, moving your forearm about 8-12" in a firm, stabbing motion. Do that twice.)

Stir the liquids with enough cold, large pieces of cracked ice (or small ice cubes if that's what you've got) for 30 seconds or so.

Strain the drink into a chilled glass.

Twist a small piece of lemon peel over the top of the drink and drop it in.

Enjoy.

Chris, a few questions which are not specific to Manhattans, but which I might as well ask here:

1. How are Dolin's other vermouths, and how does the dry compared to the blanc?

2. How's the Wild Turkey rye? I've only ever used Rittenhouse or Bulleit

3. My bitters bottles (especially Angostura) will leak bitters as soon as they're angled downward, so that even with the quick downward gesture, there's more than "one dash" in the mixing glass.

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In Kevin Liu's new book he recounts how Dave Arnold (Booker & Dax, International Culinary Institute) found one dash of Angostura to equal a little under three drops from an eyedropper. ("There are about 8 drops of Angostura for every 3 dashes.") NB, Angostura bottles tends to have bigger dashes than other bitters bottles, so it might be better to assume two drops to a dash for other dashers.

Edited by Rafa (log)

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Chris, a few questions which are not specific to Manhattans, but which I might as well ask here:

1. How are Dolin's other vermouths, and how does the dry compared to the blanc?

2. How's the Wild Turkey rye? I've only ever used Rittenhouse or Bulleit

3. My bitters bottles (especially Angostura) will leak bitters as soon as they're angled downward, so that even with the quick downward gesture, there's more than "one dash" in the mixing glass.

Dolin Dry is comparable to the old American Noilly Pratt, but it's really the original in this style and is IMO altogether a better product. Dolin Blanc sits in between the Chambéry dry style of Dolin Dry and a Torino style sweet vermouth, being sweeter than the former and more herbal/less spicy than the latter. Dolin invented this style. Both of Dolin Dry and Blanc are, IMO, the outstanding examples of their type. Dolin Rouge is, for me, not particularly compelling. The French just aren't that good at this style of vermouth.

As for Wild Turkey, it was a great product at 101 proof. I don't know if they plan to re-release it at this proof. All my experience is from the old product so YMMV. Generally speaking I'd say that it's just about what you'd expect from a Wild Turkey whiskey. It's full flavored with considerable roughness around the edges, in contrast to Rittenhouse's overall smoother and sweeter character. Personally, I've never found any reason to buy Bulleit. All of the 95% rye mash American whiskeys are actually made from distillate obtained from MGP Ingredients in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (formerly known as Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana). This includes Bulleit, Willett, Templeton, Redemption, High West, and so on. If the mash bill is 95% rye, it almost certainly came from MGP. All these brands start out as tanker trucks full of "MGP Standard" 95% rye white dog. The only difference, then, has to do with aging (how long, in what kind of barrels, and under what conditions) and bottle proof. If you know what you're drinking, it's pretty easy to taste the similarities between all of the MGP-derived whiskeys. This isn't to say that they can't be interesting, but the best price for age-and-proof deal I've found on an MGP-derived rye is Willett. It costs around the same as Bulleit and is around the same age, but Willett bottles at around 110 proof whereas Bulleit is at only 90.

--

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In Kevin Liu's new book he recounts how Dave Arnold (Booker & Dax, International Culinary Institute) found one dash of Angostura to equal a little under three drops from an eyedropper. ("There are about 8 drops of Angostura for every 3 dashes.") NB, Angostura bottles tends to have bigger dashes than other bitters bottles, so it might be better to assume two drops to a dash for other dashers.

That sounds low to me. We hashed out dashes several years ago in this topic, and I figured out that a typical dash from the usual suspects was somewhere in the 1/14-1/10 of a teaspoon range. That lead to a "20 dashes = 1/4 oz" approximation, useful for batching, but also included much caution given the variety of approaches to dashes, fill levels, openings, and so on.

As for calculating exact number of drops (and what is a drop, exactly?), I gladly hand off the task of figuring that out to a younger obsessive.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Regarding rye, I too like Bulleit (It's very easy to find here - it's available at TJ's so I can grab a bottle whenever I do my grocery shopping. Also it's less than $20 a bottle) and Rittenhouse (about $25 but harder to find). Templeton is good but not so much when you consider that it sells for $35 or more. Old Overhold is ok but not as interesting (however it's the cheapest in the group at about $18). Willett is a great choice but it's even harder to find at least here and it retails for more than $40. Sazerac which I can find easily is also a good choice at about $27 a bottle. Wild Turkey 101 rye used to be highly recommended but nowadays only the less desirable lower proof (81) version is readily available.

It looks like you will have to do some comparison shopping because prices seem to vary greatly based on location.

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So does Dolin blanc fit the bill for dry vermouth for most cocktails, or should I stick to the dry?

Also, seems everyone loves Old Overholt, but it's only 80 proof and I'm skeptical of aged spirits so cheap - am I missing something?

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So does Dolin blanc fit the bill for dry vermouth for most cocktails, or should I stick to the dry?

Dolin blanc and Dolin dry are completely different. The blanc is much sweeter (130g/L similar to the red) compared to the dry (less than 30g/L). If anything it would be closer to a sweet vermouth than a dry, despite its color. See discussion of vermouth blanc here.

You could use it to make a Manhattan (see here for Jason wilson's Manhattan Bianco) but it would definitely not be "dry". It has a rich/syrupy quality that the dry does not have.

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Dolin Blanc is not a good substitute for dry vermouth. Don't let the color fool you; it's a different style. It is, however, delicious, and there are several cocktails that call specifically for it. Some are here and here. It can also be subbed for Lillet Blonde or Cocchi Americano in a pinch.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Or, basically, what FrogPrincesse said.


Old Overholt is okay; it's got a good rye flavor but it lacks punch and complexity. That shouldn't confirm your skepticism about aged spirits in that price category, though. Some truly great aged rums can be had for under $20 (Barbancourt 15 springs to mind) as can Rittenhouse bonded rye in some markets. And a lot of good to great bourbons are still available in that price range, for now, including some I mentioned above.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Also, seems everyone loves Old Overholt, but it's only 80 proof and I'm skeptical of aged spirits so cheap - am I missing something?

To echo what Rafa just wrote - Not really. I noticed that a lot of local bars used it because it is a good product for a low price. If you like it you are in luck! For me it lacks depth so I would rather spend a little more.

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Or, basically, what FrogPrincesse said.

Old Overholt is okay; it's got a good rye flavor but it lacks punch and complexity. That shouldn't confirm your skepticism about aged spirits in that price category, though. Some truly great aged rums can be had for under $20 (Barbancourt 15 springs to mind) as can Rittenhouse bonded rye in some markets. And a lot of good to great bourbons are still available in that price range, for now, including some I mentioned above.

Where do you get Barbancourt 15 for under $20, and can you send me some? :laugh: Usually the 8 year (5 star) is in the low to mid 20s. Also, rum is cheaper than whisky, to my knowledge, because of the shorter aging times required in the hot Caribbean climate, no?

For what it's worth Rittenhouse is low 20s in DC, and Bulleit is about that much from the Montgomery County monopoly, but much higher in most other shops - which is why I've bought those two

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Or, basically, what FrogPrincesse said.

Old Overholt is okay; it's got a good rye flavor but it lacks punch and complexity. That shouldn't confirm your skepticism about aged spirits in that price category, though. Some truly great aged rums can be had for under $20 (Barbancourt 15 springs to mind) as can Rittenhouse bonded rye in some markets. And a lot of good to great bourbons are still available in that price range, for now, including some I mentioned above.

Where do you get Barbancourt 15 for under $20, and can you send me some? :laugh: Usually the 8 year (5 star) is in the low to mid 20s. Also, rum is cheaper than whisky, to my knowledge, because of the shorter aging times required in the hot Caribbean climate, no?

For what it's worth Rittenhouse is low 20s in DC, and Bulleit is about that much from the Montgomery County monopoly, but much higher in most other shops - which is why I've bought those two

Five star is what I meant, woops! Hope I didn't raise your hopes too much :wink: . But I'd rate it about equally with its older expression, because at 8 years old it achieves a nice balance between the grassy cane and the oak. Still a great value.

And while American whiskey does take longer to age, good examples of it can still be had at rum prices; Old Ezra 7 yr is tasty and 101 proof for only $18 around here. Jim Beam Black (8 years old) costs about the same.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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@JimJohn - May I suggest that if you are unclear about whiskies and how to make a Manhattan, that you start with a regular (i.e. sweet vermouth) Manhattan, or at most a Perfect Manhattan (split the vermouth equally between sweet and dry). Both are more accessible and more common than a Dry Manhattan. And both are easy to like with a variety of whiskies, although some ryes take some getting used to. A regular Manhattan made with an accessible bourbon is a good starting point -- appreciated by cocktail snobs and little old ladies alike ;)

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

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Canadian whisky [is] also often diluted with grain neutral spirits

This is actually a falsehood: the full contents of a bottle of Canadian whisky are aged in small wood for at least 3 years. No grain neutral spirits permitted, though very high-proof whisky is used as the blending whisky.

Generally, Canadian whisky tastes softer, milder, and more diluted than American whiskeys.

This, of course, is quite true, in much the same way that Cuban rum tastes softer, milder, and more diluted than Jamaican rums.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I think CA left out one of our favorite ryes, Old Overholt. I also like Pikesville, but that's because I can get it.

Do try rye however, as that's the way the lord intended it.

I also truly like Pikesville. It has a specific taste that most other rye's do not. The Wild Turkey 101 was my standard rye for many years. I though it offered good value and was easily obtained. I have not used, and most likely won't the 81 proof.

I can always get OO and it is a good standby product. Here in pennsylvania it Rittenhouse is hard to find, but I do have a bottle now.

I love me a good bourbon, but I am in agreement with Mr. Weinoo that a manhattan should be made with rye

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Canadian whisky [is] also often diluted with grain neutral spirits

This is actually a falsehood: the full contents of a bottle of Canadian whisky are aged in small wood for at least 3 years. No grain neutral spirits permitted, though very high-proof whisky is used as the blending whisky.

>Generally, Canadian whisky tastes softer, milder, and more diluted than American whiskeys.

This, of course, is quite true, in much the same way that Cuban rum tastes softer, milder, and more diluted than Jamaican rums.

My mistake. I knew that the full contents of a bottle of Canadian whisky had to be aged together but the way I wrote it makes it sound like it's diluted after aging. I was under the impression, though, that Canadian whisky legally can be distilled to a much higher proof than US spirits, i.e., that at least some of the distillate going into the barrel is effectively neutral spirit? And that the law permits additives other than grain spirits to go into the barrel (e.g., wine and brandy). At any rate I don't object to the softer profile of Canadian whisky, which as you say is somewhat analogous to the softness of Cuban-style rum, which I'm a fan of (an especially apt analogy since Cuban rum producers in the early 20th century were known to add fruit, wine, and other flavorings to their spirits).

In Kevin Liu's new book he recounts how Dave Arnold (Booker & Dax, International Culinary Institute) found one dash of Angostura to equal a little under three drops from an eyedropper. ("There are about 8 drops of Angostura for every 3 dashes.") NB, Angostura bottles tends to have bigger dashes than other bitters bottles, so it might be better to assume two drops to a dash for other dashers.

That sounds low to me. We hashed out dashes several years ago in this topic, and I figured out that a typical dash from the usual suspects was somewhere in the 1/14-1/10 of a teaspoon range. That lead to a "20 dashes = 1/4 oz" approximation, useful for batching, but also included much caution given the variety of approaches to dashes, fill levels, openings, and so on.

As for calculating exact number of drops (and what is a drop, exactly?), I gladly hand off the task of figuring that out to a younger obsessive.

After a little impromptu testing I have to agree with you that Dave Arnold's numbers seem low, especially for Angostura.

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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@EvergreenDan - Thanks! My experience with Whiskey so far has been limited to Jameson and Bushmills, it's definitely time to visit some Bourbons and Rye. Many thanks to everyone for your input thus far. I have a lot to learn.

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@JimJohn - May I suggest that if you are unclear about whiskies and how to make a Manhattan, that you start with a regular (i.e. sweet vermouth) Manhattan, or at most a Perfect Manhattan (split the vermouth equally between sweet and dry). Both are more accessible and more common than a Dry Manhattan.

Don't have a lot to add to what's been said, but just want to strongly second this suggestion.

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