The Manhattan is one of my favorite classic cocktails. Although I’m particular about the brand of rye whiskey my bartender selects, over the years I’ve come realize that the type of vermouth is even more important. I favor Carpano Antiqua sweet vermouth above all others. It truly makes this cocktail taste its best.
On the third day of Christmas my true love poured for me:
The Classic Manhattan
3 ounces Rye Whiskey
1 ounce Carpano Antiqua sweet vermouth
A dash of orange bitters
1-2 Marasca Cherries
Coat a chilled martini glass with a dash of orange bitters. Discard any extra. Pour Rye and Sweet Vermouth over ice and let sit for five minutes. Dip a spoon in the Marasca cherry juice and stir into the mixture. Strain into your chilled martini glass and garnish with Marasca Cherries. Serves one.
This is the way I like it, but all of the ingredients can be changed out with great success. Feel free to use Bourbon, any bitters you like, or other brandied cherries.
A note on the cherries
Fake fruit is an easy way to ruin any good cocktail. The dreaded maraschino cherry is no exception. Demand the best.
Manhattans are traditionally served with a Marasca cherry, which are made in Italy. This delicious, booze soaked fruit and other acceptable substitutes are difficult to find locally. Don’t let this deter you. Search online for a quality product or plan ahead and make your own. If you decide to go with a store-bought jarred fruit, at the very least ensure your choice is made free of dyes and preservatives.